A Cape Cod Rose Grower's Secrets

Take a stroll through this master gardener's rose garden on Cape Cod and get insider tips on growing beautiful roses.

Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti

'Queen Nefertiti' roses greet visitors as they arrive at the gardens located at this historic home.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

'Queen Nefertiti' roses greet visitors as they arrive at the gardens located at this historic home.

Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich are passionate about roses. In fact, to pay a visit to their home and gardens is nothing short of inspiring. Nestled on a bend on Cape Cod's historic Route 6A is a beautiful homestead that the couple has lovingly returned to its glory since it was first built in the 1600s. Just as lovely as the inside of the house are their outside gardens comprised almost entirely of roses. These gardens contain over 600 different varieties. As you wander the grass paths, your senses are filled with color, fragrance and fascination with so many different varieties of roses. However it wasn't always this way.

The Ehrenreich's journey started eighteen years ago when the couple had an unexpected catastrophic event that forced them down a different occupational path. Little did they know that their new path was paved with roses. It first started with miniature roses and over time has bloomed into a full-time consultation business. Over the past eighteen years, the Ehrenreichs have immersed themselves in learning all that they can about roses. Irwin even worked at a local garden center for years on the Cape. His expertise was roses. During this time, he was given the nickname, The Rose Man. That nickname is still with him today. When the Ehrenreichs are not tending to others' rose gardens or their own, they attend rose shows, seek out new varieties, and also lecture at numerous venues around New England.

A Cape Cod Rose Garden

This beautiful apricot floribunda is featured in Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich's Massachusets garden. This variety was created by crossing hybrid tea roses and polyanthas roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

A Cape Cod Rose Garden

Roses can be trained to climb trellises such as this lovely variety called New Dawn.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Koko Loco

This beautiful floribunda rose named 'Koko Loco' starts out with a mocha color and fades to a lovely lavender color.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Heirloom Roses

'Bonica' and 'New Dawn' are found along the rock walls of this Cape Cod garden. In 1997, 'New Dawn' was voted the most popular rose in the world at the 11th World Convention of Rose Societies.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Champagne Cocktail Anyone?

This is a lovely florabunda bi-color bloomer named 'Champagne Cocktail'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Colors that Complement

Here 'Burgundy Iceberg' and 'Earth Song' complement one another in the garden bed.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Like Butter

This floribunda rose is named 'Julia Child'. She approved and said the color reminded her of butter!

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

David Austen Rose

This David Austin rose variety is called 'Crocus Rose'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Pristine

'Pristine' is a hybrid tea rose whose white color is accented with a tinge of pink.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Royal Sunset

This was one of the very first roses that Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich planted. This Royal Sunset is a deep orange colored climber that fades to apricot.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Silicone Valley Diamond

'Silicone Valley Diamond' is a sweet miniature rose that makes a lovely bush.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Graham Thomas

'Graham Thomas' is one of the most popular varieties of David Austin's English roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Monet Inspired Tunnel

Rose grower Irwin Ehrenreich was inspired by Monet's gardens and created this lovely tunnel by combining three arched trellises and rebar for the climbing roses, 'Scarlet Sensation', to grow upon.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Kordes Aloha

This lovely German multi-colored climber, 'Kordes Aloha', climbs the white picket fence along the roadway.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Eden Climber

Here the 'Eden Climber', part of the Romantica Series, takes hold of an arbor.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Colette

Rays of sunlight touch the old fashioned blooms on this apricot colored climber called 'Colette'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Prairie Star

'Prairie Star' is another hardy shrub rose that was hybridized by Griffith Buck.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Floribunda Beauty

This bed is filled with many floribundas as well as the miniature climbing rose on the obelisk called 'Jeanne La Joie'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Honey Dijon

This gorgeous mustard-colored grandiflora is aptly named 'Honey Dijon'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Polar Ice

'Polar Ice' is a hybrid rugosa that requires little care, is incredibly fragrant and a prolific bloomer all season long.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

White Out

'White Out' is a very healthy and hardy shrub rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rhode Island Red

This climber was hybridized by New England native Dr. Walter Brownell. Here is grows near the mailbox on a trellis.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Down the Garden Path

An assortment of roses flank the sides of the garden pathway.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rock Walls and Roses

'Bonica' compliments the hardscaped rock wall along the front of the property.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Sweet Revenge

'Sweet Revenge' is a gorgeous miniature rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Ole

'Ole' is a pretty shrub rose available from Bailey Nurseries.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Cover the House

Incorporating climbing roses into your architectural design is a lovely way to accent the exterior walls of your home.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Midnight Blue

These shrub roses start out as dark purple and fade to various shades of purple as the blooms age.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Sharifa Asma

'Sharifa Asma' has a heavy perfumed fragrance. This rose greets visitors near the front door.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Pretty in Pink

'Sharifa Asma' is a David Austen rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rose Garden Sunset

The sun sets on this gorgeous assortment of David Austen Roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Morning Magic

'Morning Magic' is one of the best climbing roses for beginners. It is very hardy, extremely disease resistant, and is a prolific bloomer. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Earth Song and Felicia

'Earth Song' and the hybrid musk 'Felicia' make for a wonderful color combination.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Morning Dew

Dew drops sit on the petals of 'Koko Loco'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Mother of Pearl

This variety of rose is one of Irwin and Cindy's favorites. 'Mother of Pearl' is always full of blooms. It is a healthy and hardy grandiflora.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Queen Nefertiti

'Queen Nefertiti' and 'Teasing Georgia', both very fragrant English roses, welcome visitors to the garden at the gate along the roadside.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Distant Drums

 This lovely hybridized rose by Griffith Buck has incredibly unique coloration.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

A Hedge of Roses

These 'Morning Magic' roses create a hedge of roses that mark another entry into the front garden.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Roses Galore

A mass of 'Ole', 'Earth Song', and 'Teasing Georgia' delight the senses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Climbing Colette

'Colette' climbs another garden trellis inspired by dragon flies.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

  • Though roses can be a bit intimidating for many gardeners, I was lucky enough to learn some rose keeping basics as well as some of The Rose Man's secrets.
  • When designing a rose garden, roses appreciate being planted in a spot with good morning sun, at least six hours.
  • Once a garden location has been settled upon, then it is important to determine the amount of planting space available. When selecting roses be sure to base their spacing on their mature size.
  • For standard sized roses begin by digging a hole at least two feet wide and at least sixteen inches deep. Remove the soil from the hole and place it into a wheelbarrow. To that soil add two cups of composted manure, two shovels of peat moss, one cup of granular lime, one cup of super phosphate, and two cups of organic rose fertilizer. When you are ready to plant the rose, if your rose is grafted, be sure to bury the bud union at least two inches below the soil. Return your soil mixture back to gradually fill in the hole. Push the soil into place with your fingers, water and then add more soil as needed. With the remaining soil, create a watering well around the base of the rose plant. Then cover with your choice of mulch.
  • For the next week water your newly planted roses each day then move onto weekly waterings.
  • Watering in the morning is always best.
  • During their growing season, the roses should be fed monthly and deadheaded on a weekly basis for repeat blooms. It is also important to inspect your roses weekly for signs of disease and pest infestations. There are both organic and traditional products to treat issues that arise.
  • In the northeast the growing season is April through September. Once October arrives, it is no longer necessary to deadhead the roses. Instead allow the rose hips to form, as this will transition the plant to winter dormancy.
  • To winterize your roses mound mulch around the base of the rose plant approximately twelve inches high. 
  • Pruning should be reserved for the spring, when the forsythias bloom.
  • Now take a peek at the photo gallery and captions below for inspiration from The Rose Man's gardens.