Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses in Protective Custody

We have just returned from 3 weeks away. We are all tanked up on hugs and kisses from the grands that will last us a little while!

While we were away the weather was erratic to say the least — both high and low. The temperatures were high enough for the garden to start springing back. Especially the roses. But what I saw when I returned was shocking! This year I am seeing the biggest changes to the garden as a result of the increasing deer pressure. I could not believe the level of damage that had occurred from deer munching. Many of the shrub roses (that most often need very little pruning) looked as though they had been burnt. Throughout the plants were black canes. My Honeymoon climbing roses were damaged to the ground. Ghislaine Feligonde was damaged low. I don’t see as much damage on the old garden roses and Rugosas. Deer typically don’t like Rugosas. Time will tell if they nibbled enough to steal the blooms.

To add to that problem, I am seeing winter damaged (both erratic temps and wind) on 2 of my huge Peggy Martins. There will be a heavy amount of pruning on those.

For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the worse ones. Here is Petite Pink who in year’s past has only needed a bit of pruning (same with her 8 sisters) and the picture on the right shows that when tips are nibbled, the cane dies back to the ground. (Sorry so blurry.)


This week I started officially pruning and many of the roses required cutting to the ground. But I have to say that the new growth looks very healthy! Mr. G has decided to take advantage of the “new room” on the large arbors to do some maintenance and that is a very good thing.

Mr. G and I are also thinking through what we can do to help deter the deer even more than ever before! We now know it will require some sort of temporary fencing. If you have tips that have worked for you please leave a comment! Having this level of deer pressure is a relatively new problem for us.


My beautiful Honeymoon climber is on a main deer thoroughfare so it sustained extreme nibble damage. It had to be cut to the ground. While it is not pretty, I put it in protective custody with a extra piece of fencing we had and some bamboo poles – just in case the deer come to call. Not pretty but “desperate times/desperate measures. Others on the “thoroughfare”are going to get the same type of protection. πŸ˜” How long will we leave this there??? Well, the critter cams will help us know when the deer have moved on – if they do. 😱 They usually do! πŸ™πŸ»


I spray my pruners with Lysol after each bush (to keep from spreading diseases that might be present whether I can see them or not) and this new found friend has made that so easy. Small enough to fit into a pocket; yet large enough to make it through several rose bushes. (Amazon Link)


This week I added several more “winter jugs” filled with warm season flowers / veggies.

  • Tomatoes
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos

Other than tomatoes, I have never planted this late in the season. I am so excited to see how they do!


Of all the containers, only a couple haven’t germinated!


My two trays of Lisianthus are coming along nicely. I will plant them out in another week.


Of the 8 tubers I tried to winter over, 3 of them survived! BEST RESULTS EVER! Here is one I potted up mid February just to get it started before traveling. I knew it was a bit early but I was so excited that the tubers had made it that far with a bit of plumpness, I decided not to wait!

So here she is a dahlia that I think is almost perfect in every way… Milena Fleur…

–Medium size (3 – 4′)
–Beautiful color (peachy, pink with a yellow center)
–Prolific bloomer

Any guesses on when she will bloom?? She is certainly ahead of the game! The dahlias I ordered from Longfields were delivered today. Those tubers will get potted up soon.


Since we are talking so much about pruning, if you haven’t listened to the podcast I did with Gaye Hammond, don’t miss it.

PRUNING: Making Order out of Chaos (LINK)

Most recent podcast…

Connie Hilker

I had so much fun talking with Connie about her favorite rose class — the historical and beautiful Noisettes.


The garden is coming back to life… more each glorious day! #grateful


I know winter was hard on gardens in many zones. My good friend, Ron Daniels in Nashville, TN who has a magnificent garden that has appeared on TV many times had an uncharacteristic freeze in December than damaged some of his roses. The biggest damage was his climbers. Many having to be cut to the ground. Speaking of Ron, did you know he has a book coming out – ROSE THERAPY. He will join me on Rose Chat in June to tell us all about it. I am so excited for him. Here’s the cover…


I bought a few more roses … we’ll talk about them next time.


Once I got past the shock of the condition of my roses, I began to think of how this could be a rejuvenation for them; making them stronger and more productive.

John 15 reminds us that God prunes us as well “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Good to know that our rejuvenation is in the capable hands of the true Master Gardener.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

19 thoughts on “Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses in Protective Custody

  1. So informative!!! Great articles The cold snap in December did a number on our plants in our area. Thanks for all your wisdom!

    1. I am sending good vibes for all your roses and a prayer those deer find just what they need out of the bounds of pretty gardens. ☺️

  2. All my roses look like that and I don’t have any deer. I am shocked at what mine look like this Spring.
    What is the purpose of the lysol? Should I be doing that, also?

  3. You had me at “all tanked up on hugs and kisses”. What a cute saying! Lots of rain in Southern CA was a blessing to our gardens. Spring is late in sarting so I can’t wait to see what wonders are yet to be revealed.

  4. I am so sorry to hear and see so much damage to your roses! Hopefully they bounce back beautifully. Even here in Louisiana that freak cold blast just recently burned all the new growth on so many plants, also anything blooming.

    1. The cold damage seems to be all over the north and south! I’m waiting to see how much my OGRs are affected! My largest PM rose was definitely damaged. Crazy weather for sure. Wonderful to hear from you! πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

  5. Most people have shared that it is necessary to have an eight foot fence to keep the deer out. Anything less than that and they can jump it.

    1. There is a company called – Oh Deer
      It’s a spray – I believe non toxic
      Have heard good things- not sure of cost, but maybe worth a try.

  6. I love the John 15 verse! So sorry about the deer damage to your roses, but they must have been very hungry. The weather has been so capricious in a lot of areas, especially with tornadoes in some southern states. I know you must feel blessed and rejuvenated after seeing your grandkids and family. What a special time to visit them!

      1. I have been looking at my roses and so many died back to the ground- going to take some time to achieve proper height- especially some of my climbers. This has never happened to them before.

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