Climate: Zone 5a bordered by zone 4b on most sides (was 4b prior to 2012 USDA zone redrawal) Property is wind protected by large effective Pine windblock on north side of house and most tender hybrid teas and grandifloras planted near house on south/southeast exposure with some grown in pots. Average winter low is approx -15 degrees Fahrenheit with wind although during a bad winter it could get to -25 degrees farenheight with high winds. Northeast Iowa gets slightly more consistent snowfall then central and southern Iowa but snow coverage greatly varies by year. Summers can be quite humid but the temps rarely exceed 86 degrees Fahrenheit. High winds are a very common occurrence here. For more information on my climate see here: http://www.plantmaps.com/50676
Property Soil (Unamended) and Water/Moisture info: Black heavy loam rich in organic material, neutral-slightly acidic, very water retentive soil. My area of Iowa is considered by many to be some of the best soil in the country. Moderate drainage on most parts of property (where the roses are planted) but soil holds water very well especially below surface and since the property is close to a creek there is also a high water table. I am barely ever out watering roses. Maybe during a very dry fall or dry late winter/very early spring at the most.
Protection: Roses are covered with 6-12 inches of native soil mixed with wood chips and or straw unless very hardy. Some climbers brought to ground if possible and then buried. Budded multifloras are planted a few inches under the ground. I only buy own root roses or grafted multiflora roses. Dr. Huey doesn't like the wet and cold here and doesn't last long.
Mulch: Pine bark and wood chips mixed with fall collected and shredded leaves.
Fertilization: Organic Rose Tone early spring with top dressing or surface mix in of cow manure also early spring then the rest of the season Alfalfa meal or tea made with meal every 2 weeks or monthly depending on the variety. Species and some old garden not fed as much. Fertilization has to be stopped to slow roses down for winter approx mid-late July.
Other: Property is in Crane Creek valley with virgin prairie on property. Japanese beetles are a big problem here but we don't seem to have a ton of black spot or mildew unless a very wet year. We get some rust on hollyhocks here but not on roses. I make sure there's good air circulation around the roses and don't overcrowd as well as water at base and not overhead. Trying to ensure better drainage helps with fungal issues too. The beetles are drowned in soapy water in the morning and I use garlic plants in pots around the peremiter of the beds and/or garlic blended with cayenne pepper sprayed on the leaves. Haven't tried traps yet. No spray of any kind garden. Many natives are grown on the property with a large focus on supporting wildlife so no spray. If a rose completely defoliates too bad with black spot or other fungal problems it is replaced.
Note: I grow Belinda's Dream, Mr.Lincoln and a few other hybrid teas in a pot that I then overwinter in an unheated garage. They died when I tried to overwinter in the ground. Overall I don't grow many hybrid teas and grandifloras. I grow almost everything else though if it's supposed to be 5a hardy. I grow a lot of David Austin's, Kordes, Old Garden Roses, shrub roses, rugosas and vigorous climbers that are mainly grown as bushes in my climate. I prefer large fully double, old fashioned blooms and fragranced roses.
Other types of plants that do well here if you are a newer gardener to this area that are all grown at Crane Creek Gardens: hostas, asters, echinacea purpurea coneflower and it's hybrids only not the other coneflowers, peony, Sweet black eyed Susan/brown/Goldstrum black eyed Susan, rock cress, wet tolerant blazing stars, irises, Tulips/daffodils/Hyacinths/Crocus, bleeding heart, obedient plant, turtle head, ferns, hardy geraniums, geums, spiderwort, golden Alexander, brunerra, astilbe, native grasses, Arborivatae pine, Silver Maple, Green ash, cottonwood, box elder maple, Dogwood, lilac, serviceberry, Jane or Ann Magnolia, Crab Apple, yuccas (in a raised or rock garden), columbines (in a raised or rock garden), lead plant (in a raised or rock garden), bearded tongue (in a raised or rock garden), rattlesnake master (raised), other non purpurea coneflowers (in a raised bed), yarrows (rock mulch), butterfly weed (raised bed or rock garden), swamp milkweed, common milkweed, Weigela bushes, Smoke tree, hydrangeas (the zone 3 ones do especially well not endless summer ones though), bee balm, catmint, mountain mint, primrose, gooseneck loostrife, joe Pye weed, Lily of all kinds, coral bells (in a raised bed or rock garden), blanketflower (in a raised bed or rock garden), windflower/anemone, phlox almost all varieties (make sure likes wetter), yew bushes, boxwood shrubs, sunflowers all kinds, Queen of the Prairie, Clematis, Alliums, Salvias (nemerosa), Hardy hibiscus, Culver's root, bellflowers, gentians, Globe thistle, False Indigo, goldenrod, Lobelias, Shasta daisy, coreopsis,spirea bushes, potentella bushes, elderberries, balloon flower, hellborus, Russian sage, Blue Fortune agastache, Wisteria, seedums all kinds, and multitudes more of native and prairie plants....and of course roses.
Gardens are NWF certified butterfly, bird and pollinator habitats. Be sure to mainly grow native plants in addition to your roses and greenhouse bought perennials. Don't buy "natives" from a regular greenhouse or nursery get them from a reputable native plant website like Prairie Moon. Native Iowa trees can be acquired from the Iowa State tree nursery.