WOOSTER, Ohio - If you ask somebody to name their favorite flower, they will most likely tell you the rose.
Fossil records of naturally occurring rose species have dated back to 35 million years. Over 150 wild species still exist in nature and cultivated roses from old garden roses to modern hybrid teas have enjoyed a long history - about 5,000 years.
"Roses are irresistible. There's something about them that people love," said Gary Anderson, an Ohio State University horticulturist for the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio. "There's just a lot of lore, romance and history behind roses."
Anderson will help to maintain that appeal for roses at the 73rd Annual Ohio State University Nursery Short Course, Jan. 21-23 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
The program, in conjunction with the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS), is the third-largest event of its kind in the country that provides nursery, landscape and greenhouse professionals plant selection and maintenance information, pest and disease management tips, economic advice and research results.
Anderson will discuss selecting and maintaining shrub roses, a group of roses that maintain their multi-stemmed appearance, as they would look in nature. Anderson said shrub roses are gaining popularity because of their low maintenance, winter hardiness and increased tolerance to pests and diseases.
"People are always looking for plants that don't require a lot of work," said Anderson. "Shrub roses perform successfully because they don't require as much pruning or pesticide applications as other roses."
Shrub roses are also versatile in appearance and style, with a wide variety of flower colors to choose from, and fit well in a variety of landscape settings - as ground cover, in flowerbeds, or supported by a trellis or a fence.
"Shrub roses grow much more vigorously than other rose types," said Anderson. "They also have a more shrub-like appearance, which gives them a more natural look. I think people want to return to that look and that's what makes them so appealing."
For more information on the program call (614) 895-1356, or (800) 825-5062 or log on to http://webgarden.osu.edu/ or http://www.onla.org. CENTS is managed by the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. The Ohio State Nursery Short Course is sponsored by Ohio State Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Ohio State Extension Nursery, Landscape and Turf Team.