Daylight Saving Time, The Polar Vortex and Spring Chores

Okay if you are the geeky, grammar type like me and thought there was a typo in my title because I left out the S at the end of Saving, I have to tell you it really is officially Daylight Saving Time. I know. I know. It just sounds wrong. But, in my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with DST. I just love it. It allows me a whole extra hour of daylight to work in the garden after work, so I’m all in for DST.

THE POLAR VORTEX

The Polar Vortex has left us winter weary around here. We have had a record-setting 50-something inches of snow. And, even though it is still lingering, it is soon to be history! Warmer temps are coming and I am in full spring-fever mode.

First up this spring will be to assess the damage left by our winter companion, Mr. Polar Vortex. My quick tour of the garden last week encouraged me as I saw a great deal of green at the base of the roses I could see. (Some were still snow covered.) So, I think they are going to have a slow but sure start. Roses are not the “Prima Donnas” some think them to be.

Next on my list will be to use a weak mixture of lime-sulfur on the roses that were showing fungal disease last fall. This is something you do only when the roses are dormant. (You can read more about using lime sulfur from Paul Zimmerman on the Fine Gardening blog here.)

SPRING CHORES

I am often asked what I do in the spring to “all those roses.” So here are some tips that I follow for getting my roses off to a good start.

1. PLANT
ING

For early April planting, I buy bare root roses from online vendors. (Click here for a list of rose companies.) When they arrive they are “bare roots” wrapped in wet newspaper and plastic. Very humble beginnings for a plant that will be so lovely later!

Bare roots soaking in Moo Poo Tea...
Bare roots soaking in Moo Poo Tea…

I immediately unpack them and soak them in a bucket of Moo Poo tea for 24 hours before planting. Click here for a great video on planting bare root roses by Guinivere of Roses of Yesterday and Today.

IMG_7516

Planting decisions are dependent on the type of rose…

Grafted Roses: Most hybrid teas, floribunda and grandifloras are grafted roses.

This means that a rose is created by being grafted onto strong, hardy root stock, creating a “bud union.” Plant the bud union (knobby part just above the roots) 3” below the soil line to protect it from harsh winters.

Own Root Roses: Roses that have not been grafted but were started from cuttings, so there is no bud union to protect. In the past I have always planted them as I would any other shrub (to the same depth as they are in the pot they were growing in), however, after such a harsh winter, I now plan to plant even the own root roses about 2″ below the soil line for some extra protection.

Soil: We ask roses to bloom for us all summer, year after year, so it is best to give them a good start by planting them in good, rich soil. Our neck of the woods has horrible gray clay soil so we dig BIG holes–holes much deeper and wider than the root system to allow for soil amendments and deep enough to protect the bud union. To the soil removed, we add compost and a quality grade of top soil. Your roses will appreciate your gifts of more nutrients and better drainage and will reward you handsomely! You will never regret giving your roses a good start.

2. PRUNING

It is  difficult to know when winter is really over and it is time to prune, so I let the forsythia tell me. When the forsythia is blooming, I start pruning. All you need are protective gloves and a sharp pair of pruners. I must have been very good because Santa brought me a pair of Bionic Gloves and Barnel Pruners from Wendy Tilley, owner of The Rose Gardener Garden Shop and Harlane Garden Labels. Maybe Santa listened to our Rose Chat Podcast with Wendy. You can listen to Wendy too. Just click here.

385716_438933742784499_100000036313949_1671169_328283319_n
Gene Boerner Floribunda

Pruning tips for different types of roses…

Hybrid Teas: For hybrid teas, I shape, cut out any dead wood and remove the canes that cross the middle to create more air circulation in the center of the plant which can help control fungal disease. These roses I will cut back to about 10 – 12″ high to give them a strong start. If you are going to exhibit roses in a rose show, there are some other tips you will need and the American Rose Society website is filled to the brim with excellent information.

Old Garden Roses: To me bigger is better as far as old garden roses are concerned so I do very little pruning. For one-time blooming roses, do not prune until after they bloom! And, when you prune, just thin out old wood, remove any dead wood and spindly canes.

David Austin English Roses: Very little pruning is required as they don’t appreciate a lot of cutting, just remove dead wood and give them a light shaping. Except in the case of some of the ones that tend to get very tall, like Graham Thomas, I prune those down farther to keep them within bounds.

IMG_6686
Sunny Knock Out Rose

Shrub/Landscape Roses: These are so easy… Just shape to fit your space. I have several Knockout and Drift roses and I usually trim them back about 1/2 their size in the spring, but it is not required. I often give them another hard pruning in mid summer to refresh them into another spring-like bloom cycle in early fall.

3. FERTILIZE

After I prune my roses I apply fertilizer. Most any fertilizer will do—but do read labels carefully–too much of a good thing can be harmful! I use a combination of Moo Poo Tea and Mills Magic Mix on my roses.

4. WATERING

Once the fertilizer has been applied you will want to give your roses a deep watering to get those nutrients down to where they can do some good. A good rule of thumb is to water at the base of the plant especially if you are watering in the evening, as wet rose leaves are more susceptible to fungal diseases (e.g. Black Spot & Powdery Mildew). Although, if I am watering in the morning I give them a good all-over shower. This is great way to remove any aphids that have shown up for the tasty and tender buds! I think roses appreciate a refreshing shower just as we do, just don’t put them to bed wet.

5. MULCHING

This is one of my favorite parts. Mulch is so good for your roses … retains moisture, helps to keep down weeds and gives the garden that fresh, finished look!

One thing to remember when applying mulch … when mulch breaks down, it uses nitrogen in the process, so add a layer of compost on top of the soil before you add the mulch layer then the nitrogen in the soil can be used by the rose. If you are working in an established bed and last year’s mulch is still there, leave it… it becomes a “compost layer.” Win. Win.

IMG_5686
My garden…

MY FAVORITE TIP…

My favorite tip is always to visit your roses daily or as often as you can to enjoy their beauty and to get to know them. Getting to know them can be key in early detection of any pest or disease.

And, when you have beautiful roses outside, who can stay in!

2014 Rose Introductions: Weeks Roses

This week on the Rose Chat Radio podcast, the delightful Karen Kemp-Docksteader, sales and marketing manager for Weeks Roses, joined us to chat about some wonderful new rose introductions for 2014! Podcast link.

Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King Grandiflora Rose
Named for the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, this rose is not only lovely but very disease resistant. Chris, (The Redneck Rosarian) had an early release of this rose and it has performed beautifully for him this entire summer!

Good as Gold
Good as Gold

Good as Gold Hybrid Tea
A very unusual gold color! Karen said it is stunning in the field and she can hardly pass by it without stopping. This rose is known as a blooming machine!

_YoureTheOne
You’re The One

You’re the One Miniature Rose
Karen pointed out to us that “miniature” does not refer to the growth habit of this rose but rather the blooms are miniature. Isn’t it just so cute! Perfect rose show form!

Jump for Joy
Jump for Joy

Jump for Joy Floribunda
Like its parent, Julia Child, this rose is known for disease resistance and beautiful foliage. This is another blooming machine that will fit well into any landscape.

Happy Go Lucky
Happy Go Lucky

Happy Go Lucky Grandiflora
This beauty has the multi-petaled old rose form with a lovely tea fragrance. I find yellow roses hard to resist so this may quickly go on my wish list!

SNEAK PEAK…

Karen shared with us that it is confirmed there is to be a new line of Downton Abbey Roses. Starting with the first in the series, Anna’s Promise.

Look at this beauty…

Anna's Promise
Anna’s Promise
Anna of Downton Abbey
The beautiful Anna of Downton Abbey

We look forward to having Karen back to talk more about this new line of roses! 🙂

WEEK’S ROSES HARVEST…

Harvest at Weeks Roses begins next week, so follow along with the progress of their work in the fields of roses on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/WeeksRosesCA

Now back to working on my wish list for 2014. How about you, what’s on your garden wish list?

Bloom Thyme Friday: This week in the garden…

Here in my world the temps are lower than normal and that makes for some wonderful garden thyme! The garden is looking more like spring than fall this week as the roses are coming back to bloom! Know that I am totally in denial about the leaves on the trees that are beginning to change color and the cicadas that are singing!

Here are some of my pretties…

Poseidon
Poseidon
Julia Child
Julia Child
Peach Drift
Peach Drift
Francis Meilland
Francis Meilland
Beverly in bud...
Beverly in bud…
Beverly in bloom...
Beverly in bloom…

Here are some of the other blooms I’m getting to enjoy…

13_08_24_BloomThyme_Collage

And we have butterflies everywhere!

IMG_4447

Thanks for stopping by! I am wishing you a wonderful day filled with what you love best!