Search For The Answer
Click here to access our database of
Plant Answers
Search For The Picture
Click here to access the Google database of plants and insects
Information Index
Alphabetical Listing of Topics, Recommendations and Plants



Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Primetime Newspapers
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Week of February 18, 2008

 “Tough Plants for Valentine Quality Roses” 

            Have your gardening hormones started flowing yet?  This is the time of year for it.  The easiest way to cope is to plant something.  Keep in mind, however, that as pleasant as the weather is now, in four – five months the South Texas summer will be up us.  Plant things capable of prospering in a San Antonio summer with minimal attention from you.


            One of my favorite family of plants are the “tough” roses.  I call the group the “tough roses” instead of old-fashioned roses because I want to include the modern “tough roses” in addition to some of my favorite old-fashioned roses.


If you are looking for a rose that produces good buds and florist type blooms for cutting, but also is a good xeriscape plant, consider Belinda’s Dream.  This “tough rose” reaches five – six feet tall and four feet wide.  It has pale pink blooms that are available for cutting or admiring approximately eight months out of the year.  Belinda’s Dream makes a good specimen shrub or can be planted in the shrub border if there is full sun.


As good as Belinda’s Dream is, I like Katy Road even better.  It is equally tough being able to go through black spot and blooming eight months of the year without a pesticide spray program.  I like it better because the pink blooms have more red in them.  Katy Road also produces rose hips that are good wildlife food and are decorative.  Although the buds are as attractive, the Katy Road/Carefree Beauty blooms are flatter with fewer petals than Belinda’s Dream so if you prefer a florist type bloom, Belinda’s Dream makes a better cut flower in that regard.  Both Belinda’s Dream and Katy Road have a pleasant light fragrance. 


Martha Gonzales rose is an old-fashioned rose with half-dollar sized blood red blooms that cover the three foot plant eight months of the year.  This tough rose is my favorite plant for directing traffic in high pressure areas like bus stops or corners on the routes where children walk to school   It also makes an attractive plant for those planting areas with sidewalks on both sides at churches, schools, clinics or office buildings.  Martha Gonzales has enough thorns to protect itself and direct traffic onto appropriate paths without savaging youngsters or lazy adults that want to cut through the garden area. 


            Martha Gonzales is a disciplined compact grower so it is well suited to the role of traffic controller without taking over the path itself.  In addition to red blooms on the plant eight months of the year, the foliage is reddish making an attractive addition to the garden nearly all year. 



            Lady Banks rose will be blooming soon.  They do not bloom for a long period, but they make a great show for three weeks when they bloom.  The flowers are quarter-size in yellow or white and completely cover the plant.  Some of the older plants had thorns, but those now at area nurseries are thorn-less.  Lady Banks is a rose that grows ten feet tall when they are in the open.  They will be 12 – 14 feet around with weeping branches and small leaves.  If a plant ends up in the shade it will send branches into the trees over it to seek the sun.  Use Lady Banks to fill a large space in full sun where a plant with weeping branches will look good.   


The tough roses are good xeriscape plants.  They can survive in our area without supplemental irrigation or pesticide sprays.  They do, however, perform better if they receive a deep watering every two weeks during droughty summer weather.  A leaky hose works very well for a bed of “tough roses.”  Prune the “tough roses” when it is convenient.  It is easier to access the blooms for cutting if dead and scraggly branches are removed, but unlike modern roses they do not need to be pruned every year.  The tough roses can be planted in raised beds or native soils.  They require full sun to perform well.