A Cool and Classy Skirt 
For a Well-Dressed Rose
Keeping Potted Roses Cool in the Summertime

By Kitty Belendez

What happens when you run out of space in your garden and you have no place to put all those roses you bought? Well, in my yard, many of them end up in ugly black pots.

I got carried away when I decided to increase the number of floribundas I grow. By June I had  a dozen 15-gallon black pots lining the driveway. Some of the varieties were Lavaglut, Outrageous, Brass Band, Trumpeterand George Burns. Eventually I hope to get those floribundas in the ground, but since I have no space left, I will first have to dig up and give away 12 other roses.

In the meantime, those 12 black pots don't look very attractive lining the driveway. But that was only half the problem. 

During July, our temperatures reached 110. The roses in those black pots were literally cooking. Even with daily watering, the roses were becoming stressed out. The foliage was burning, and the blooms were frying.

We tried to think of ways to keep the pots cooled, such as wrapping newspaper or foil around them, painting the pots with a roof coating material, or putting the 15-gallon pots inside of another larger pot. None of those ideas sounded promising, because even if it kept the roses cooler, they would certainly look uglier than they already did.

One day, we went to Home Depot, trying to come up with an idea for a  solution. We came across a planter box that was just perfect. It was made of white lattice on the sides. The 15-gallon pots could just be put right inside of these planter boxes. One problem: They were $30 each, and I needed 12 of them. Let's see, $30 times 12 equals $360. Ouch! But, I was ready to buy them and readied my checkbook.

Well, my very frugal hubby, who is also very creative and talented, offered to make me 12 skirts for my potted roses. What a sweet guy!

We bought several 4 x 8 foot sheets of 3/4-inch plywood, a paintbrush, and a gallon of white paint. We already had a remnant half sheet of plywood. From these sheets we cut 48 pieces (panels) that were 16-inches tall by 18-inches wide. (Each 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood gets you 15 panels with a small remnant left over. The total cost of the project was about $72 or $6 per skirt. He used a power screw-gun to screw the panels together.

My finished rose container skirts are plain white, bottomless boxes, and that is what I wanted. You could dress up yours by adding stenciling or pin-striping if you wish. The roses really look nice with these cool, classy skirts around them.

More importantly, the roses stay much cooler with the container skirts placed around the black pots. We tested the soil temperature several days with a soil thermometer. Pots without the skirt had a soil temperature of 100+ degrees. Pots with the skirts remained at 80 degrees. A tremendous difference!

Within just a few weeks it was very apparent that these twelve roses were perking up as the blooms and foliage started to look much better. The plants were happy, and I was happy.

Now, you might ask, why did you make skirts, instead of making a planter box with a bottom. Here's why: A box with a bottom would have cost more and it would have been a lot more work. Also, a planter box filled with soil would deteriorate a lot faster than a skirt with no soil and water in it. Wooden planter boxes evaporate water quicker. And finally, the whole reason for keeping roses temporarily in pots is to have a chance to evaluate them before committing them to valuable space in the ground. So keeping the roses in the pots inside the skirts is the perfect solution. Cool and classy!

© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved.

This article is an ARS Award of Merit Winner, originally published in "Rose Ecstasy," bulletin of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, Kitty Belendez, Editor.

Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

For questions about Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, contact: Rose Society


Updated January 15, 2016

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