Tree roses or standards

If you read Alice in Wonderland as a child, or more accurately, studied the illustrations, you know the tree roses, or standards! They look like compact, continuous-blooming shrubs atop a tall, bare stem, like a fancy living lollipop. Because they look formal, they're a grand sight flanking an entryway or walkway or growing by a swimming pool, alongside a deck, or in any formal garden area. Gardeners often display them in large pots, but you can certainly plant them in the ground. They're not winter-hardy, however, so protect them if you have cold or freezing winters (read "Maximizing winter hardiness," later in this chapter).

But what are tree roses, exactly? Basically, they're a rose grafted on to a bare stem — a two-part plant (or a three-part, if that bare stem has been grafted onto a special rootstock). Basically, the grafting simply lets you get many familiar roses — a 'Peace' or 'Mister Lincoln,' for instance — in tree form. Such details aren't ultimately that important for you, the consumer. Just choose a plant that looks well-done and appears healthy.

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