Spring Rose Care

When spring comes it’s time for gardeners to roll up their sleeves and  get busy and I can’t wait!

Here are some tips that I follow for getting my roses off to a good start in my Zone 5b garden.

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Garden June 2016

 

1. PLANTING

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

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A good moo poo start...
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.

Planting decisions are dependent on the type of rose…

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

This means that a rose is created by being grafted onto strong, hardy rootstock, 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 we often have.

Own Root Roses: These roses were started from cuttings and are on their own root, so there is no bud union to protect. I plant them as I would any other shrub.

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. (At least 18″ by 18″.) 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 foundation.

Roses Already in Leaf and Bloom…

If you purchased something from a garden center that is already leafed out and perhaps has buds or blooms, wait until the frost date has passed to plant them in the garden. In my zone that date is May 10. I have two beautiful Dee-Lish roses waiting patiently in the Potting Shed as I type. I will confess to occassionally planting a little earlier than May 10, but you have to be prepared to cover them if frosty nights come!! #notpatient


2. PRUNING

First tip: DON’T BE AFRAID TO PRUNE. I’ve made countless “mistakes” through the years and the roses always forgive and come back!

Here in the midwest, it is  difficult to know when winter is really over and it is time to prune. For many years, I have let the forsythia tell me. When the forsythia is blooming, I start pruning. This year the temps have been up and down and there has been a lot of pressure on the forsythia. So use your best judgement! 😬

MOST of the time, the forsythia plan works.

Tools of the trade…

You will need protective gloves and a sharp pair of pruners. My choices are Bionic Gloves and Barnel Pruners from Wendy Tilley, owner of The Rose Gardener Garden Shop and Harlane Garden Labels.

Different types of roses have different pruning needs. Read more about pruning here.

The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild from last summer. Amazing David Austin!
The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild from last summer. Amazing David Austin

3. FERTILIZE

Once our roses are starting to grow, it’s time for 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, Mills Magic Mix and inorganic fertilizer on my roses. Fertilizer applications are about 6 weeks apart for most of my roses. Old Garden Roses and Rugosas are fertilized in the spring. Shrubs and Knockouts are only fertilized twice a season–spring and summer.

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 dirt and any insects 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.

Our Lady of Guadelupe and neighbors.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and neighbors.

MY FAVORITE TIP…

My favorite tip is 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!

From Instagram to Indiana … Roses are for Sharing

This summer I received a huge gift from my Instagram friend, Holly Hagy. I “mentioned” that I would love to have a start of a found rose–Barbara’s Pasture Rose–that I had heard about several times.

I’ll let Holly tell you her side of the story…

I got started on Instagram in December of 2014. I had been thinking of doing a blog, to find a way to connect with more folks, to talk roses, gardening, cooking decorating and just plain life! I found Instagram and boom, the blog became IG instead…which is still a blog, but in a snippet of a phrase and a photo.

It’s a great fun way to connect with people who have the same interests! I started following Teresa B. On IG and she started following me too…😀

One day, I posted a photo of an old, found rose I had bought at the SCC (Sacramento City Cemetery) sale, many years ago…Barbara’s Pasture Rose, this is a rose Barbara Oliva, one of the founding caretakers of the Sacramento Cemetery found. One day she and friends were driving in the country and there in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, no farmhouse anywhere around, was this big beautiful blooming pink rose. Barbara said “stop the car” and braved a barbed wire fence to take cuttings of that rose. And it’s a good thing she did because the rose is now long gone from that field!

Anyway, Teresa posted she wanted this rose. I knew she could not get it easily in Indiana, so I  offered to root one for her! I was so nervous if my cuttings would even take, but a few did … and Teresa’s baby rose was sent to her.

It made me so happy to share a rose with her! To me, this is what gardening and roses are all about…making new friends and sharing roses! I try to offer cuttings at both the rose societies I belong to…and whenever anyone likes one of my roses that is a found rose or a hard to find rose.

Holly Hagy

THE ARRIVAL…

Well the California baby rose came to Indiana the first week of June and it was in perfect shape. If you ever wondered how to ship a rose, take a look at what Holly did.

She shipped Priority Mail and the baby rose arrived just like this…

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Barbara this summer as she grew on my deck potting bench...

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Barbara Today…

She is inside out of the cold and will be ready for a big pot next spring! Believe it or not this little rose bloomed this summer. One pretty pink bloom but it was during a rain storm and it was beat down before I took a picture. But, there will be more to come.

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I cannot tell you what Holly’s gift means to me. Although we have never had the pleasure of meeting in person, I think of her every time I look of this rose. I am hoping to say “thank you” in person some day. I will never meet Barbara in person this side of heaven, but her legacy lives on and I will never forget her. To read more about Barbara and her legacy, read on here and here.

Yes, Holly said it best, “this is what gardening and roses are all about…making new friends and sharing roses!!” 

To anyone who thinks that Instagram friends aren’t real friends, you should “meet” Holly. She’s real and she is special.

You can follow Holly’s gardening adventures on Instagram @eatgrowlivelove and I recommend you do!

 

The Long Goodbye

Today was that day. The day that the real frost arrived. I was out early to take some pictures. I never want to miss the garden with that first glisten.

Last week I was making bokays of roses — the latest I ever remember! I was thinking I was going to be like my Cali and southern garden freinds who always talk (brag) about having roses for their Thanksgiving table. I ALMOST MADE IT. One week out!

But, the roses are yawning and saying, “good night.” Time for a long winter’s nap. They were amazing this year, so I will “allow” them this time.

Last rose “glamour shots” of 2016…

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Thanks for stopping by!

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