Have you ever experienced déjà vu and wondered: was that true déjà vu or have I actually done the exact same thing at the same time last year? My rose pruning, is a ritualistic Rite of Spring. The ‘Rite of Spring’ is an actual ballet and orchestral concert work by Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, that when first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience. I understand, if the symphony is anything like the cacophony of nature during spring and the urge to prune our bushes. Rosarians, and most all gardeners live for spring. It’s that simple. We lift leaves to peek for new growth and basal breaks.
What Is A Basal Break?
A basal break is a new cane that sprouts from the bud union on grafted roses and from the ground on roses grown on their own root. The most exciting discovery for rose lovers are new basal breaks on their rose bushes. Fresh, renewed growth – the sign of a healthy plant– and a promise of new flowers to come makes our work exciting and worthwhile.Use the proper tools Corona_Principles_of_Pruning
How Can We Protect Basal Breaks?
Today let’s talk about pruning roses and some of the most finite processes that require delicate tools that let you feel like an artist or a surgeon.
Gardeners love to work with their hands. That’s why we love tools. Tools that allow us to do more finite work make us feel in touch with the force of nature.
Its All In The Tools
You can see by the demonstration in the pictures how the needlenose pruners, loppers and the small fork allow us to get close to delicate growth while protecting it. These are the tools that let you get close and protect delicate new growth. A picture of how these tools work is worth a thousand words.
Have they tools ready. God will find thee work. ~ Charles Kingsley
I would like to coin a new gardening phrase. Pruning post-traumatic stress disorder (PPTSD) I have it, it’s real, I suffer every President’s Day. It occurred from having pruned right after President’s Day in Texas, the supposed last day of the danger of a deadly killing frost. I relive the horror and the loss of 19 new rose bushes and having to re-prune 200 roses every President’s Day. The temperatures dipped to 8 degrees on March 10th well after the safe time to plant and prune. I lost all my new bushes and all the newly pruned bushes stimulated by my early pruning had to be pruned all over again. Well enough with my cheerful stories. This erroneous information was passed on to an unwitting northerner who grew up in the frozen tundra region on the frigid shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Illinois. Since today is President’s Day I thought I would cheer you all up and tell you again don’t prune too early.
Here is a primer on pruning your roses. It’s the best tips I’ve come up with over the years, as we get ready for the season of pruning.
Depending on the season and upon where you live pruning time can come between the middle of January and the end of April. The idea is to do it soon enough that you will not be cutting off too much new growth, and late enough that you will not promote premature growth. Usually this is just when the buds begin to swell, and then if you do not get a late frost the bushes will be off to a good start.
Pruned late, even after new growth starts, the canes are cut to a swollen dormant bud and the bush will do just fine, so it is probably better to prune late than too early. As I preach due to my disorder PPTSD, late-pruned bushes will bleed, but this has not been shown to be harmful to roses. Bleeding interferes with sealing cut ends but I stopped sealing smaller canes, with no increase in cane borer problems.
In addition to removing dead or diseased canes, there are several reasons for pruning. You want to remove non-productive branches and make room for ones that will make flowers. Remove crossing branches that clutter the bush or damage others. Open up the interior of the bush for ease in spraying and to promote good flowering stems. Remove non-productive canes at the base to promote growth of new vigorous canes. Finally, shape the bush to please you.
Before cutting out canes, you need to look at the branches they produced. If they have long, healthy, new branches, they should be left. If they have nothing but short twiggy non-blooming shoots, remove them. Sometimes there is not much left, but then perhaps the bush should be, as my mother used to say, “shovel pruned” and removed from the garden. We are told to reduce the number of canes to 3-5, but this is not necessarily a good guide.
Here are my tips:
Wear tough protective clothing such as denim with long sleeves. It won’t snag as easily as some other fabrics.
Wear thorn resistant gloves such as plastic coated garden gloves, or ones made of flexible leather.
Watch where you put your hands and forearms. Thorns can penetrate almost any fabric I’ve used in the garden. I’ve had thorns penetrate the soles of my shoes, be careful.
Invest in a small pruning or keyhole saw, they are essential for cutting larger canes and getting into tight spaces.
A fairly large cane can be cut with hand shears if the cane is bent gently away from the shears, but I prefer to use a good pair of loppers rather than wrestle with the cane.
Hold the shears so that the blunt blade is on the part to be cut off.
Cut to an outside bud on upright-growing bushes or to an inside bud on spreading type bush. Cut to a bud pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow, the top bud usually will produce the dominant shoot.
Cut to about ¼” of the bud, on a slight slant away from the bud. Cut shorter, the new shoot can break off in the wind, any longer causes unsightly dieback.
If you feel you should seal cuts, use Elmer’s glue, I usually just seal large canes.
Leave as many canes as are hardy and allow space to grow without crowding and are very well shaped.
Learn to grasp the cane gently and very carefully with a slight circular motion.
If you cut or accidentally knock off a branch you meant to leave don’t let it spoil your day. It will brow back.
Do not prune once-blooming roses until they have bloomed.
Prune miniature roses like hybrid teas and floribundas, if you have the time and patience.
Old Garden Roses (OGR) are too diverse in nature to lay down rules. If you know the variety its best to research online for the best pruning for your OGR. In general, the best rule for pruning OGRs for the first two or three years is, “Don’t.”
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare
Fun is one of the most mysterious words in the English language. Catch it, contain it, bottle it and sell it if you can. Define it if you dare. Each person has a different idea of fun. Fun comes when you least expect it so be on the look out or you may miss it. Seldom have I found ‘fun’ when it was planned and most expected, and often I’ve found it when it was least expected.
Such is the case when I discovered that a hibiscus is known by the name ‘rose mallow’. I planted this gentle tropical giant at the entry of the Rose Walk Way in the Rock Rose Garden. The shear audacity of a giant tropical ‘Rose Mallow’ planted in the middle of a country setting across from corn fields was fun and it tickles me pink. This is the essence of a juxtaposition.
The Hibiscus ‘Rose Mallow’
Native to China, the hibiscus is confused often times with many plants; from the ‘Rose of Sharon’ to Hollyhocks it has been cultivated in the United States and Japan for thousands of years.
It’s the genus of over 200 plants! It comes in large rose, yellow, purple, pink and white flowers. Most varieties have large flowers from 6-12 inches blooming in late summer.
‘Rose of Sharon’ | ‘And The Desert Shall Bloom Like A Rose’~ Isaiah 35:1
The phrase ‘Rose of Sharon’ that folks confuse the hibiscus rose mallow with appears in English in 1611 as “the flower of the field” in the King James Bible. The speaker (beloved) says, in the song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley”. The previous translations had referred to it simply as ‘Flower of the Field”.
Bible scholars think it’s a catch phrase that could be a mistranslation referring to:
Crocus A kind of crocus growing as a lily on the coastal plain of Sharon
Tulip – Bright red tulip prolific on the Hills of Sharon
Madonna Lily, commonly know as the ‘Lily of the Valley’ mentioned in Song of Solomon 2:1
Only one of the species is a member of Rosaceae, (the rose family). ‘Rose of Sharon’ lack of precise meaning therefore is used often in song and verse. Though the identity of the flower still remains unclear its that very lack of precision that makes it a useful catch phrase. The species it refers to in modern usage is a member of Rosaceae. And the Hebrew word translation reads “And the desert shall bloom like a rose.”
Most interesting is a translation committee from ‘Song of Solomon’ 2:1 thinks “Rose of Sharon” is a mistranslation of Hebrew word for crocus. And etymologists’ tentatively have linked the word for beṣel, meaning bulb and understood as meaning either pungent or splendid.
National Flower of S. Korea ‘The Rose of Sharon’ Mugungwa
‘Rose of Sharon’ is the National Flower of S. Korea. Its pronounced (moogooonwa). It was first used by the actual term mugunghwa and was first employed during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).
“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” ~Isaiah 35:1 KJV
The definition of irony: a raccoon ripping up your plants next to a cute raccoon statue, after you caught the last one and released him.
Here’s the story. We caught the last little varmint. His brother or sister are back. Instead of borrowing the neighbor’s animal trap we went to Rural King and bought our own safe “catch & release’ trap.
Big Daddy said buy sardines for the trap. How was I to know the fine print said gourmet sardines in hot mustard? Anyway at 6:00 AM this morning I went out and something was in the cage having a fit.
‘Big Daddy had slipped the cage inside of a lawn & leaf bag and all I could see were angry eyes. So I ran in to get Mr. Fox and said “Get-Up, Get-Up! You got him and he’s spitting mad.
So after he backed up the truck to drive him to the edge of our woods and we got our cup of coffee and a fishing pole we took the cage out of the bag opened the cage only to discover we had bagged the neighbor’s Tom cat!
And Big Daddy said he didn’t even get a meal out of the deal because he refused to eat Gourmet Sardines in Hot Mustard! So The Cat’s Out Of The Bag! We bagged the neighbor’s Tom Cat!
Yes they do. They have 3-5-7 leaf outward and inward growing leaflets. The question I am asked more than any other question about roses is:
“What’s an outward facing leaflet look like?”
Why is it important to make a cut farther down on your rose cane when pruning or cutting spent blooms?
Because rose blooms are heavy, so it’s important that they grow on canes that can support their weight.
Look closely above the outward growing five leaf leaflet, your next new rose when it begins to grow will grow outward from the center of the bush starting at the bud eye, the area on the stem where branching occurs, just below where you made your cut. If you make your cut from an inward growing 5-7 leaf leaflet then your next rose will grow inward, crisscrossing your rose bush.
Think of your rose bush as you look at it as a vase and shape it that way. Your rose should be shaped like a beautiful vase. Generally, five-leaflet leaves occur at a point on the cane that is sturdy enough to support a new bloom. Ideally, each time you cut a rose from the bush, you leave behind a perfect location for the next rose to bloom.
Who would have thought that roses have innies and outies. Stick to pruning to the outies and you’ll have a beautifully shaped plant.
“Consumers are constantly connected, and that’s not a bad thing,” says Susan McCoy, Garden Media president. “It’s time for the industry to fully embrace technology and all it can do for the garden. The more consumers learn about nature, the more they will grow to care about it.” ~ Susan McCoy
GARDEN 101: Garden Royalty
The Secret to Landscaping With Roses
Day: Wednesday, 2/17/2016
Time: 2:15 PM
Seminar Room: Rainier
Roses, Bearded Iris and Peony have graced gardens for more than a century. Today they are deservedly popular, with more varieties than ever before, many suitable for NW gardens. These Beauty Queens need not be intimidating! Join three nationally acclaimed experts, as they share the secrets to getting the most from of these plants. Rosarian Susan Fox, horticulturist Kelly D. Norris and Peony expert Kathleen Gagan will inspire your love affair with these magnificent plants.
See It, Learn It, Do It: Practical Insights to Grow Your Gardening Skills
“We have a wide array of seminars to help you amp up your skills in the garden. Learn to prune like a pro, divide your perennials, grow healthy blooming orchids, plant a shrub or tree (so it doesn’t die), start seeds, and make light work of those inevitable weeds!
Roses are the perfect flower choice when you want to create an ever-changing splash of color. From bud to a fully open rose, minis and multifloras lure you back to your garden each morning. These are winter hardy, easy-to-grow perennials that can make a color spot so rich and intriguing you will be lured back to your garden just to see the bloom cycles And some miniatures can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
January is inventory month. Take a good look at your roses. Decide on next years keepers. Then begin to shop online or from your rose catalogs for new roses for your spring garden. Most rose catalogs are now online so you can preview the roses and read about them to determine which selections would be best for your garden. Go to plantmaps.com and find your plant hardiness zone and determine the last possible date in the spring to expect a hard freeze. Most rose providers will also assist you in determining your zone and ship at the appropriate time.
January is a good month for planning spring gardens and transplanting dormant roses of all types in warmer climates. Be sure to remove soil from the roots and then handle the plant as you would any new bare root rose.
Construction and renovation of existing beds can be planned or completed. Now is a good time to send off soil samples for analysis if you use soil samples in your rose program.
January is a good time to visit www.ars.org. and check out all the member benefits. I want to encourage you to find your local society and go to a meeting. Rosarians are committed to assist you in rose education and sharing their knowledge about roses.
This is when I carefully analyze the roses that worked best last season and identify those that were the top performers so you can also be able to know good roses as you choose roses for your garden. Here are the real winners of 2015* and the actual pictures from last summer. This list is Interactive. You can vote your favorite rose up or down.
Also I will be speaking at The Northwest Flower and Garden Show next month. If you are able to come please plan on visiting. Here’s the link to the schedule. Northwest Flower and Garden Show
GARDEN 101: Garden Royalty February 17, 2015
2:15 pm – 2:45 pm
The Secret to Landscaping With Roses
Susan Fox – Consulting Rosarian and author, Four Seasons of Roses Monthly Guide to Rose Care
*Disclaimer These opinions are subject to change as more prolific, hardier, more disease resistant roses are produced.
This rose is a winner in every way its dark red, with a light pink reverse. It also has a mild, tea fragrance with 15 to 25 petals. Average diameter 4". Cluster-flowered, cupped, globular bloom form. Pointed buds.
Medium, bushy, upright. Dark green foliage. Bred by Christian Bédard (United States, before 2014). Introduced in United States by Weeks Wholesale Rose Grower, Inc. in before 2014 as 'Take It Easy'. You will love this rose!
'Bonica' One of the Best Shrub Roses and remains among one of the highest rated by the American Rose Society Handbook for Selecting Roses it can be grown in USDA zone 4b through 9b. Ideal for beds and borders, container rose, cut flower, garden, hedge or landscape. Winter hardy and this lively shrub produces decorative hips. Its also very disease resistant.
'Princess Alexandra of Kent' is named for the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II who is a keen gardener and a great lover of roses. Its a winner of the fragrance award at the 2010 Desert Rose Society Show in Palm Springs, CA and the 2009 Glasgow Trials, UK.
This week I pruned my Oso Happy® with Oso Easy® Roses with the hedge clippers. My husband was tickled about it. The roses were in his way when he mowed. Now we shall have an English style prim and proper hedge of Oso Happy® with Oso Easy® roses in the fall to show you they are indestructible. Here’s the rotogravure of what the Proven Winner Oso Happy® with Oso Easy® rose bloom has looked like all year.
Today time and investment are factors that affect our decisions in everything we do. Most folks tell me I would have a rose garden if I had the time or roses weren’t so difficult to take care of. Shannon Downey at Proven Winners had asked me to try something new; plant Proven Winners shrub roses in the fall. So I planted all the Oso Happy® and Oso Easy® roses in the fall of 2013 that same year I had also had the good fortune to meet Dr. David Zlesak at the Twin Cities Rose Club.
He has been doing remarkable work to develop winter hardy, disease resistant roses and roses that are resistant to just about every other hindrance that would keep folks from growing roses. Here’s his apricot climber, ‘Above And Beyond.’ Dr. Zlesak sent it to me to test grow it when I returned home. Many of the ‘Oso Happy’ roses were created by him as well. Winter hardy, disease resistant, they bloom like mad and you can prune them with the hedge clippers, they are real winners in every way.
This rose is spectacular. I planted it in the fall along with all of these Proven Winner Oso Easy Roses that Shannon Downey sent me. We agreed to conduct our own test. I have never planted roses in the fall. It subsequently was the coldest winter in Illinois recorded weather history the winter of 2013. This is the second season for the Proven winner shrubs. Last winter the temps were were down to zero. I’m happy to report not one Oso Happy® or Oso Easy® rose was lost to the winter cold. Thank-you to Proven Winners for making these wonderful roses available to the world hybridized by world famous rose hybridizers all listed below: the Meilland Roses International and Chris Warner, UK. What amazingly wonderful plants they are. You truly can’t go wrong with these roses.
Series One: Oso Happy® roses
All bred by David Zlesak: Oso Happy® Candy Oh!
Oso Happy® Petit Pink
Oso Happy® Smoothie
Series Two: Oso Easy® roses Varieties bred by Chris Warner, UK: Oso Easy® Fragrant Spreader
Oso Easy® Honey Bun
Oso Easy® Italian Ice
Oso Easy® Lemon Zest
Oso Easy® Mango Salsa
Oso Easy® Paprika
Oso Easy® Pink Cupcake
Varieties bred by the late Colin Horner, UK: Oso Easy® Peachy Cream (Not Pictured)
Here's a list of Proven Winner Oso Easy® Roses and Oso Happy® Shrub Roses that I've planted in Zone 6a in the fall and can verify that they are winter hardy, disease resistant, and have a rapid bloom cycle
Oso Happy® Petite Pink Rosa blooms all through the summer. The color is fresh and lovely with a hint of yellow near the stamens to give a glowing affect to this precious little flower. Though a little gem that looks delicate it is as rugged as they come!
Karen told us that Weeks Roses would provide all the roses we would need, but we needed to locate a greenhouse to force them into bloom by March. The process of forcing roses requires a white paper alone. That’s another story altogether.
Then Star Roses and Plants, Vice President License and New Business Development, Jacque Ferare and his team that include Tim Wood and Kyle McKean said that their company would also provide Star Roses and force all of the roses into bloom at their greenhouses in Michigan. The next thing you know Tony had brilliant Landscape Architect, Scott A Mehaffey with a design for the garden. Sprinkle in some magic dust from folks like Matthias Meilland from the most distinguished, oldest family of roses in the world and things begin to bloom.
Scott requested that creative rosarian genius Nathan Beckner of Gethsemane Gardens take a leading role with this project. This man talks to roses and they obey. I know this to be true. Nathan engaged Ted’s Greenhouse to force his roses that include some of the most beautiful David Austin Roses I have ever seen. Nathan’s David Austin ‘Shropshire Lad’ captured everyone’s heart as it swept over the arbor, a magical sight for Illinoisans winter weary eyes. To know Nathan Beckner is to love him.
Nathan was at the show before it opened, watering and dead-heading the plants, staying as a docent, pruning roses and then he went to his full-time job. If you live near Gethsemene Garden Center you have one of the nation’s leading rosarians, Nathan Beckner as a consultant. If you love roses and gardens at flower shows then we owe these companies a tremendous debt, paid in gratitude, respect and our business. A way to honor these folks and be sure we have future rose gardens at The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is to give them your business because many of them worked at the show on their own time as volunteers.
Landscape Architect and Founder of American Gardens, Jerry Milewski, built the garden and was there almost every day working as a volunteer answering questions from very gracious and grateful visitors. Even the Chicago Botanic Garden Master Horticulturist, Tom Soulsby (who I interviewed for the 2014 American Rose Society Annual for the article I wrote on the Krasburg Rose Garden) volunteered for a day and worked at the rose garden. John Beaty of Mills Magic was there opening night. We are so proud to have him as our organic fertilizer sponsor. And just think about the amount of organic soil that Mark Highland, of Organic Mechanics had to bring in for gardens like this. And yes I use his soil and I love it.
The American Rose Society (ARS) worked with me at record speeds, accomplishing coverage of volunteer Consulting Rosarians for the entire show to answer any questions the public might have about roses. Analytic Director for Mesa Boogie, Michael Fox provided me with the solution for tracking our volunteers. Thank-you Michael. And we have to thank Jolene Adams, Pat Shanley and Jeffrey Ware of the American Rose Society for providing material and sending Laura Seabaugh and her close friend Yvonne Matherne who worked at the show right beside me as crowds filled our rose garden throughout the show. ARS President, Jolene Adams was the first person I asked if she thought this project was feasible. She was my behind the scenes coach and a cheerleader every step of the way. ARS, Vice President Pat Shanley is the most generous, fast acting, get things done person I’ve ever seen working through and with Jeffry Ware and Laura Seabaugh to make things happen.
So you see roses bloomed in Chicago thanks to all these wonderful folks for the first time in over ten years.
Gardeners attending the show saw that roses are easy to grow, require minimal care, are long living, and resilient. The American Rose Society (ARS) Director of Membership, Laura Seabaugh assisted as we coordinated ARS volunteer docents Consulting Rosarians available throughout the show at the rose gardens to answer questions about rose growing any attendees may have.
Pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Here are the Star and Weeks Roses that we had at the show.
Star Roses and Plants
Cinco De Mayo
Jump for Joy
The Fairy Garden
Garden Wise Living designed the Fairy Garden. We had miniature roses within the design to delight gardeners and children alike. The Fairy Garden was so popular with young and old alike. twitter ID is @greenblessings.
A Thought to Leave You With
The CEO of Tom’s Shoes, Tom Mycoskie, Founder of One for One said he didn’t “wake up one day knowing he could change the world.” (paraphrased) But he is changing the world providing shoes for people all over the world one pair of shoes at a time. Read his story folks and if you don’t think Mom wants a rose bush for Mother’s Day buy her a pair of Tom’s shoes and know you just put a pair of shoes on the feet of people who may never have had a pair of shoes, or maybe buy her a rose bush and a pair of Tom’s Shoes*
disclaimer: I don’t own a pair of Tom’s shoes. Tom doesn’t know me, my Web site nor has he ever heard of me. My granddaughter has a pair. I read his story this week when @MargieClayman posted his blog and I think he is a great man with a wonderful mission.