Here’s my contribution to the American Labor force on this Labor Day. May it brighten your Day. How do you spend Labor Day? I usually spend Labor Day working in the garden. Did you know that Labor Day, also known as International Workers Day has been around since 1882? Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September meant to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. I thought I would share the fruit of my labor with you on this glorious Labor Day now that rain has finally returned to Illinois after a historic 100 year drought.
The Heart of the Matter is that we are talking about forgiveness and the ability of a plant to endure extremely stressful conditions. And roses have a big heart. For those of you that have followed my historic trek from my Texas gardens of over 200 roses to establishing new gardens in Central Illinois you know its been quite a journey. The roses in this Illinois garden are first year roses, many planted from bare root plants. After the drought, learning how battle moles, voles, & beetles, the rains have come again to the corn fields and in this case rose gardens of Illinois. I also thought many of you would like to know what is this important work I did in the garden on Labor Day. I did the all important work called dead-heading. The question I am ask most often is how do I know where to cut the spent blooms. Easy answer. Prune down to the “five leaf-set”, cutting at an angle just above a leaf-set facing outward. This promotes fewer but larger blooms.
By cutting the stem lower it allows for the strength of the cane you are removing the spent flower from. You want the new cane that develops to be able to support the bloom produced, so cutting lower on the plant allows for a new strong cane to grow. Next comment I have from people observing my dead-heading is that most of the spent blooms I cut look like they should go in a vase. I placed these last roses of summer on the table and made a Labor Day Bouquet for you. Happy Labor Day. May your Labor Continue and be profitable.
September Rose Garden assignment:
Pest Check: Check for thrips regularly if you intend to exhibit at any local fall rose shows. My research shows organic growers have had success with non-toxic insecticidal soaps against these pests.
Watering: Continue watering, observing any restrictions in your area due to drought conditions.
Make your last fertilization this month for the year.
Dead-heading: cut spent blooms if you desire. Any blooms that you don’t cut this month will form rose hips and start the bush into the slow dormancy process. If you plan to enter shows, follow the same procedure you did in the spring.