Tag: shrubs

Rose Cuttings

I can’t imagine my garden without roses, their fragrance and beauty is hard to beat. You know I grow over 30 different varieties of roses in my garden and I’m often asked, "How do you take care of them all?" Well, I think it all starts with the varieties you choose. You see some rose varieties are just easier to care for than others.

Many of the roses I grow are old-fashioned shrub roses. You can find these old-fashioned roses from a variety of sources these days but in the past they were actually handed from one gardener to the next from stem cuttings.

The ideal time to make stem cuttings is later in the summer once the flowers have faded and the new growth has matured just a bit.

Begin by selecting just the right stems. Choose stems that are just under the diameter of a pencil. Make your cut at an angle just above a leaf node. Be sure the cutting is at least 4 to 5 inches long and has a couple sets of leaves.

Steps for propagating roses from cuttings.

With your cuttings in hand, you’ll want to treat them just as you would fresh cut flowers, and get them in water immediately before moving to the next step.

Pour planting medium into small containers. I often use 4" nursery pots recycled from earlier purchases. Moisten the planting medium and create planting holes where the cuttings will be placed by poking the soil with a pencil or a twig. To encourage roots to develop, stick the ends of the cuttings into a rooting powder or growing hormone (available in garden centers) before putting them into the holes in the planting medium. Gently firm the soil around the cuttings.

Set the planted cuttings in a location where they will receive bright, indirect light and keep them consistently moist. Root systems should develop in 3 to 6 weeks. Once they are rooted, they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden.

Pruning Roses

Depending on your disposition, pruning roses can be seen as either the final task of winter or the first activity of spring. Either way, roses should be pruned just before they come out of dormancy and put out new growth.

In most regions of the country mid to late February is the ideal time to shape up your plants, even if you live in a mild area where roses never go dormant. If you live in a cold climate, pruning should be done when you remove winter protection and the danger of a hard freeze has passed, which may be as late as April in very cold zones. Check with your local cooperative extension or fellow gardeners for the dates they recommend.

Roses come in many forms, but whether you are growing a hybrid tea or an old fashioned climber, pruning is basically the same for each type. The hardest part is making the first cut. Here is a set of guidelines to follow that will help ensure beautiful blooms this spring.

Why Prune?
Hybrid Tea Rose
Pruning promotes healthy, vigorous stem growth. If you stop to think about it, it just makes sense. Stronger stems result in larger blooms, while spindly growth will produce smaller roses.

Pruning removes dead, frost damaged and diseased wood, which lays the groundwork for a healthy growing season.

Pruning opens the center of the plant, promoting good air circulation, which is essential for healthy roses.

Pruning helps maintain an attractive and well-balanced shape to the plant.

In warm climate gardens, pruning creates a period of forced dormancy so your roses can rest before the growing season gets into full swing.


  • Sharp Hand Pruners – For a clean cut select the bypass/scissor type and not anvil pruners. Anvil pruners are better suited for cutting back dead branches and stems.
  • Long Handled Loppers
  • Pruning Saw
  • Heavy Gloves – Don’t skimp on the gloves. One nasty tangle with a thorny cane can bring a swift end to your love affair with roses.
  • White Glue – Glue that dries clear is an easy and affordable pruning seal.


The Right Cut
For the best results you should make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, about 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud. The lower side of the angle should be opposite the bud. The plant will now direct energy to this top most bud for producing a new stem. The position of the bud on the cane indicates the direction of the new growth. By carefully selecting which bud becomes the stem producer you can manipulate the shape of the rose. Ideally, you want the rose bush to grow out, but in some cases you may want it to develop in a certain direction. This is especially true of climbing roses you want to train to grow up a trellis or over an arbor.

How To Prune
Begin by removing dead and diseased wood. Small stems can be cut back with your hand pruners, use your loppers on larger canes.

The next thing to do is remove any large, old canes and cut them at the base of the plant. Old canes will be gray and rough textured. For the best result, use your pruning saw and cut the cane flush with the bud union.

Once the plant is cleaned up, take a close look at its form. Pick out 3 or 4 of the strongest canes and remove the others.

Now cut back about 1/3 of the top growth and any crisscrossing stems to promote good air circulation. The rule of thumb is to take out stems that are smaller than the diameter of a pencil.

Remove any leaves left on the plant from last year. This will help prevent carrying over black spot and other fungi and pests from one year to the next.

Seal newly pruned stems with a white glue that dries clear, such as Elmers. This will help shed water and keep insects from getting into the center of the cane and damaging the plant.

To finish the job, pick up all the resulting debris, bag it and throw it away.

Special Notes
Old fashioned roses should be pruned with a lighter hand than hybrid teas. Simply remove any dead or damaged wood, the top 1/3 of growth, and crisscrossing branches.

Old fashioned roses that flower once each growing season, such as Damasks and Mosses, bloom on old wood. These types should be pruned in the summer after they have flowered.

Knockout Roses do not need to be pruned every year. In spring you can remove dead or damaged wood and shape if you wish taking out some of the ‘twiggy’ growth to improve air circulation and about every 3rd year remove about one third of the old branches to stimulate new, fresh growth. Since they are continuously flowering throughout the season, it really makes no difference when, where or how much you prune.

Planting Roses and Rose Soil Recipe

One of my favorite flowers is the rose. Now I don’t mean just any rose, but old-fashioned roses, those that were popular hundreds of years ago.

Most of these roses were bred for growing in the garden, but there are also some varieties that are ideal for growing in containers so there is something for everyone when it comes to old-fashioned roses.

Roses make a spectacular statement when planted in any garden. They are so versatile; they can be used in several ways. Since many of the climbers are vigorous growers one of the best ways to deal with them is to weave the canes onto a single tall post. I also like to create a rustic teepee from three tree limbs and let the roses twine around the poles. And if you’re looking for a colorful alternative to a hedge, many of these beauties are ideal planted in a row.

Rose Cothilde SupertWhile these are all great suggestions, for me one of the best ways to use old-fashioned roses is to plant them just like any other flowering shrub in the garden, integrating them among perennials and annuals to create a beautiful mixed border.

Now, many gardeners shy away from roses because they have a reputation for being fussy. I find that old-fashioned roses can actually be quite easy to grow given the proper conditions.

When planting roses I pay particular attention to where I place them in the garden. They need to be located in an area that gets four to six hours of direct sunlight a day and plenty of air circulation. This will cut down on fungal problems later in the season. And for soil, roses thrive in a rich loam that’s well drained.

To give my roses a boost, I like to amend my existing garden soil. I take two parts existing soil to one part homemade compost to one part well-rotted manure and then I mix it all together in the wheelbarrow. As far as the size of the hole, you want to make sure that it’s at least wide enough to spread all of the roots out and about 14 to 18 inches deep.

The placement of the bud union (that part of the plant between the roots and limbs) either above or below the soil line is important. The bud union is the most susceptible part of the plant and if you live in areas where you have extremely cold winters you’ll want to bury it about 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the ground for protection. But in milder parts of the country you can actually plant it with the bud union about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches above ground level.

Mail Ordering Roses

While I could never be accused of being a techno-geek, one characteristic of the modern age that I do appreciate is being able to purchase plants through mail-order catalogs and over the Internet that I might not be able to find locally.

Now, catalog ordering is nothing new, we’ve been doing it since the first mailbox was nailed to a post, but advances in shipping have made it possible to order a wider variety of plants with faster delivery times.

I’m not the only one who appreciates having plants delivered to my doorstep. According to the Mail-order Garden Association, Americans will spend $3.07 billion on mail-order plants, bulbs, seeds, garden tools and garden supplies in 2005. The popularity of mail-ordering is due in part to convenience and selection of unusual plants that have not yet made it to local markets.

Buying mail-order roses is certainly a good example of this. I am an old hand at ordering roses through the mail because I’ve placed hundreds of orders for retail sale when I was in the nursery business. In the process I learned a few tips from my favorite suppliers about what to look for when making selections.

Rose Colthilde SoupertKnow Your Growing Conditions
Roses can be grown in a variety of conditions, but for the best results know your hardiness zone before you place your order, the amount of sun your garden receives (most roses require 6 hours of sunlight per day), the amount of space available for the rose to grow and how much time you will have to care for the plant. For instance, ‘Alchymist’ is cold tolerant to zone 4, making it great for Northern gardens, but it matures into a 10′ – 12′ shrub so it wouldn’t be such a good choice for someone with limited space. Or ‘Old Blush’ is an excellent selection for those who would like a carefree rose because it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance time.

Bare Root versus Container
Roses are sold either bare root or in containers. Bare root plants are dug while dormant and shipped without soil, while containerized roses arrive potted up. Bare root roses are less expensive than containerized roses, but are only available in winter and early spring. Some would argue that container roses are easier to get established than bare root, but I have not found this to be the case unless the roses are container grown. This means that they have been grown in a container rather than dug from the field and planted in a container for shipping.

Grafted versus Own Root Stock
Rose Bud UnionSome roses are grafted while others are grown on their own root stock. A grafted rose is created by attaching a bud of the desired variety onto to a more vigorous root stock. The graft is easily identified by a swollen area on the plant called the bud union. I have tree roses growing in my garden that are grafted and I once had a ‘White Dawn’ that started blooming red because the root stock proved to be stronger than the ‘White Dawn’ bud. Roses grown on their own root stock are more freeze tolerant than grafted roses. Most hybrid teas are grafted, but look for old-fashioned roses that are grown on their own roots.

Ship Dates and Planting Times
If you have your heart set on a particular rose, get your order in early because most mail-order nurseries have a set inventory. However, early ordering may not coincide with the best time to plant roses in your area, so companies will hold your order and ship it when the time is right. For my zone 7 garden and further south, February is an excellent time to plant roses so I can expect my order to arrive that month. Gardeners in zone 6 are most likely to receive their roses in March and in zones 5 and 4 roses will be shipped in April or May.

Most mail-order plant sources offer exceptional guarantees on their products. Be sure to check these out before you place an order.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
A good mail-order company will be staffed with people who can help you make a selection that is best for you. So, even if you are using the Internet it is a wise idea to call if you are unsure what roses to select or if you have any questions. After all, any rosarian worth their salt knows that if a gardener is successful growing one rose they will be back for at least 20 more, so it is worth their time it to make your experience a good one.

Mail-order Source:
Antique Rose Emporium

A Rose For Every Garden

Their intoxicating fragrance, beautiful form and ease of care make roses hard to
resist. I grow over 30 varieties of roses in my garden and I love them all.
Whether it is an arbor, a mixed flower border or a container, I can always find
a suitable rose.

So when people tell me that they don’t have the right conditions to grow roses,
I always say, ‘Oh, but you do!’ It is just a matter of selecting the
right rose for the situation.

Whatever rose you choose it is important to get the soil right. They will not
tolerate poor drainage and heavy clay soil. I this describes your soil, be
sure to amend it with plenty of humus. I take two parts existing soil to one
part homemade compost to one part well-rotted manure and then I mix it all
together in the wheelbarrow to use when planting my new roses.

If you have ever shopped for a rose, you know that there are hundreds to
choose from. To help make the selection easier, I’ve listed my favorite
roses according to site-specific or characteristic-specific categories.
Many of these are true old-fashioned, but I’ve also slipped in a few modern

Carefree Roses

Belinda’s Dream
Large, free flowering roses are produced
on an upright shrub throughout the growing season. All the beauty of an
hybrid tea with none of the worry.
Shrub, 1992, 3 – 6 feet, zone 5 – 9,
fragrant, pink blooms

Rose Marie Pavie
Marie Pavie
Very versatile variety that blooms
continuously throughout the season. Sweet fragrance and nearly thornless
canes make it one of my favorites to enjoy indoors as a cut flower.
Another perk is that it is shade tolerant.
Polyantha, 1888, 3 – 4
feet, zones 5 – 9, fragrant, white blooms

New Dawn
This rose is the most carefree rose that I
grow. Pale pink appear in spring and then sporadically during the summer.

Climber, 1930, 12 -20 feet, zones 5 – 9, fragrant, pale pink
blooms maturing to cream.

Old Blush
I grow Old Blush along my picket fence
next to a burgundy barberry and purple iris. It is a heavy bloomer that
requires little attention. In the fall it produces a nice display of
rose hips.
China, 1752, 3 – 6 feet, zones 6 – 9, fragrant,
medium pink blooms

Roses that Tolerate Light Shade

Buff Beauty
I love apricot roses and this is one of
the best. The medium sized blooms borne in clusters perfume the air on
warm days.
Hybrid Musk, 1939, 5 – 7 feet, zones 6 – 9, fragrant, apricot blooms

Gruss an Aachen
A favorite for lightly shaded areas. The large blooms
appear repeatedly over the summer.
Floribunda, 1909, 3 – 4 feet, zones 6 – 9,
fragrant, pink blooms with hints of yellow

Rose LaMarque
I have trained this rose over the door to my chicken
house. It receives morning sun, but is shaded in the afternoon yet it blooms
profusely sometimes well into December.
Noisette, 1830, 12 – 20 feet, zones 7 – 9, fragrant, pale cream blooms

Mme. Alfred Carriere
This rose is a vigorous climber with showy, super fragrant
blooms. In my garden it grows up through a holly hedge into the limbs of a ‘Byers White’ crape
Noisette, 1879, 15 – 20 feet, zones 6 – 9, fragrant, pale pink blooms maturing to white

Roses for Cold Climates

In spring, this rose covers itself with gorgeous apricot gold flowers.
It only blooms once, but the size and profusion of the blooms and its carefree nature makes it a rose
worth growing.
Shrub, 1956, 10-12 feet, zones 4 – 9, fragrant, once blooming, apricot blooms

Although the blooms suggest the classic cabbage rose, the origins of
Fantin-Latour are a mystery. Flat, multi-petaled pink blooms appear amid dark green foliage. The canes
are nearly thornless, making this a favorite cut flower.
Centifolia (Cabbage Rose), Unknown Date of Origin, 4 – 6 feet, zones 4 – 9, fragrant, once blooming, light pink

Rose Madame Plantier
Madame Plantier
This attractive rose is planted at the corner of my front porch
by the steps. Covered in clusters of white, fragrant blooms it offers a spring greeting for guests to
my home.
Alba, 1835, 4 – 6 feet, zone 4 – 9, fragrant, once blooming, white blooms

The Fairy
A great rose to plant among your favorite annuals and perennials for
a lovely mixed flower border. It produces clusters of petite pink blooms all summer long. An
excellent choice for small space gardens and containers.
Polyantha, 1932, 3 – 4 feet, zone 4 – 9, light pink blooms

Roses for Small Spaces

White Pet
As the name implies, this is a darling of a rose. Fully double, white
roses adorn this diminutive shrub. It is perfect for containers or other tight spaces where you want
to add blooms and fragrance.
Polyantha, 1879, 2 – 3 feet, zones 5 – 9, fragrant, white blooms.

Rose Caldwell Pink
Caldwell Pink
This rose will reward you with non-stop pink flowers on a compact
shrub. It requires little maintenance and will thrive in just about any soil.
Found, Unknown Date
of Origin, 3 – 4 feet, zones 6- 9, medium pink

Cecile Brunner
This is a rose that has never let me down. It produces a treasure box
of miniature hybrid tea-shaped blooms all summer long. I never have to spray it for black spot or insects
and it thrives in partial shade.
Polyantha, 1881, 3 – 4 feet, zones 5 – 9, fragrant, light pink blooms

Clotilde Soupert
Clotilde Soupert produces miniature cabbage-like blooms that are a pale
cream. I find it to be a nice addition to the flower border and for containers. The fragrance is good and the
plant itself it fairly carefree.
Polyantha, 1890, 3 – 4 feet, zones 6 -9, fragrant, white blooms

May Bloom – Roses

Come rain or shine the last week of April and first few weeks of May are when the roses in my garden start their spring show. Even though we are a few weeks behind because of cooler than usual weather, the roses are right on schedule. This is good because Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium is coming for a visit in just a few days.

Mike is an expert on heritage roses so I thought it would be appropriate to invite him to speak on the subject when the roses are at their peak. To make the event even rosier Mike’s talk is at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion where heritage roses abound in the gardens.

I know not everyone can make it to the lecture and not everyone has roses blooming yet so I’m giving away a copy of Mike’s book Empress of the Garden. It’s a big, coffee table-sized book that defines rose varieties by their personalities, which makes it easy to decide if a rose is right for you. Mike introduces us “Balloon-skirted Ladies” and “Petite Party-goers” as well as “Mysterious Ladies.” And let me tell you it’s always good to know you’ve fallen for a “Petulant Diva” before you bring her into the garden.

If you’d like to win a copy of Empress of the Garden tell me what you love most about roses – fragrance, color, rose hips? Just post a comment below. I’ll select a winner at random on May 8th, 2013.

Congrats to Nancy Olig! She’s the winner of this month’s giveaway. Check your inbox Nancy for an email explaining how to get your copy of Mike’s book. Thank you to everyone who participated!

 'Star of the Republic' is a variety in the Pioneer Series developed by Mike and the Antique Rose Emporium.

I grow a hedge of 'Sarah van Fleet' roses at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home.

Mike classifies 'Mutabilis' as a &"Big-hearted Homebody." The blooms open yellow and mature to pink and then red.

'Sombreuil' is a climber that produces very fragrant blooms. In his book, Mike writes that she is obedient, pure, and enchanting.

'Ballerina' is one of the more carefree roses that I grow in my city Garden Home. She's planted in the front garden in high shade and seems quite happy.

Why Isn’t ‘New Dawn’ Rose Reblooming?

Does the New Dawn climbing rose actually re-bloom? Am I pruning inappropriately? I do not seem to get good re-blooming. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Roses are categorized in many ways including whether or not they bloom more than once in a growing season. Many of my favorite old-fashioned roses only flower in spring, but the lack of continuous bloom is made up for by their stellar, "one night only" performance.

‘New Dawn’ is classified as a repeat bloomer, but does not behave in the same way as say a hybrid tea. ‘New Dawn’ is a "sport" or genetic mutation of a rose called ‘Dr. van Fleet’. Most sports have a heavy spring bloom followed by scattered blooms the rest of the season. My ‘New Dawn’ puts on a spectacular show in late spring and then throws off the occasional bloom over the course of the summer.

Repeat flowering roses like ‘New Dawn’ bloom on second year canes for the spring flush and then repeat flower on new wood. I’ve never been very disciplined about deadheading my ‘New Dawn’, but many gardeners have good results getting ‘New Dawn’ to bloom again when they deadhead or remove the spent flowers to encourage new growth.

If you are deadheading your rose and still not seeing additional blossoms, there are some environmental conditions that might reduce production such as too much summer shade, intense heat or drought.

And then there is the question of whether the rose is really ‘New Dawn’ or its parent ‘Dr. van Fleet’. ‘Dr. van Fleet’ is a once blooming rose. Because ‘New Dawn’ is a genetic mutation of ‘Dr. van Fleet’ it is possible, but not common, that some plants reverted to ‘Dr. van Fleet’ when they were developed and then mistakenly sold as ‘New Dawn’.

When it comes to pruning your ‘New Dawn’ there are some distinct practices that apply to climbing roses that you should be aware of. If you are pruning your climber as you would a hybrid tea or cutting it back to the ground every year, you could be losing flowers.

Repeat-blooming climbing roses such as ‘New Dawn’ can bloom for many years on the same older canes. Eventually, if the roses decline in vigor, allow new canes to grow and replace the old ones. Prune in late winter or early spring. Remove all suckers coming from below the bud union, dead growth or twiggy growth from the bud union. Cut all flowering laterals back to 2 or 3 leaf buds. Leaf buds appear as red, nodes on the stem.

A once-blooming climbing rose such as ‘Dr. van Fleet’ flower on the previous year’s wood. Prune these roses right after flowering is finished. If there are too many canes cut the oldest and weakest canes back to the bud union. Remove any suckers from below the bud union, dead wood, and twiggy growth from the bud union. Thin unwanted growth to promote air circulation.

Transplanting Roses

I am moving and I want to take my rose bush with me. I planted it 5 years ago and it is big. I need to know how and when the best time to dig it up and replant it. Springfield, MA

I’ve gotten quite a few emails lately from people on the move that want to take their roses with them. Unfortunately, this late in the season is not an ideal time to dig up a rose and move it. The best time to move a rose is when it is dormant. However, we cannot always schedule our lives around our gardens.

If time allows, you can root prune your rose to help ease the move. You should begin this process three or four months before you transplant and repeat it once a month.

Take a sharpshooter (a very narrow, elongated shovel) and drive it into the ground in a circle around the crown of the rose. To determine the size of the circle take a look at the main canes of the rose. You want to make your circle nine inches in diameter for every inch of cane. Let’s say you have a rose with (2) one inch canes. Your circle should be eighteen inches in diameter. Root pruning will cause the rose to create more roots in the soil area that will be moved with the rose. This will help the rose to become established in its new location.

When moving any plant, always try to keep as much of the root system as you can. Use a sharp, narrow shovel to cut around the parameter of the shrub and remove as much of the root ball as possible. Often the soil may fall away from the roots, but that is okay. The plant will be fine.

It is handy to have a piece of this burlap around to use as a sling. Just put the plant in it and transport it to its new location. When placing a plant in the new hole make sure that the soil level is the same that it was in the previous location. Planting too deep can actually kill many plants.

Fill in with some good soil and compost and apply a root stimulator supplement around the roots and mulch it in.

Once the rose is in it’s new location, it needs to be pruned back about fifty percent. Any large canes will need to be sealed. You can buy sealer at your local garden center.

The key to survival is keeping the plant consistently moist. Be sure to give it plenty of water but don’t let it get soggy. I like to apply root stimulator monthly for the rest of the growing season.

Don’t be alarmed if the plant wilts on you. This should subside within about days. Keep your fingers crossed and with a little luck and blessings from Mother Nature your rose just might make it.

How to Train a Climbing Rose to a Wall

I purchased a climbing New Dawn rose like you featured in your show. I would like to train it to grow up around my front door. Unfortunately my home is made of brick. Is there any way to do this without attaching a trellis?

An important part of gardening is to make the most of all your efforts. What I mean by this is if you’re going to all the trouble of growing something, you should give it the support that it needs.

For instance, the ‘New Dawn’ rose I have growing in my garden. It covers itself with so many blooms you can hardly count them and it is a very vigorous grower. It’s not uncommon for the canes of this rose and other climbing roses to reach lengths of 20 feet or more. So supporting such a robust plant is important.

About four years ago I planted my ‘New Dawn’ and every season it gets out of control. My intention was to grow it against the wall, and up the side of the house. But of course supporting anything against brick or masonry is difficult. But I’ve come up with a little system to handle just his type of situation.

First, find the appropriate place on the wall and drill a hole into the mortar joint with a 1/4 inch drill bit. Then place a lead anchor into the hole and tap it in to make sure that it is secure. To hold the canes use a number 8 screw hook and twist it into the lead of the anchor. As you do this, the lead will expand to fill the hole. For the last step take a 6 to 8 inch piece of medium gauge wire and run it through a 3/4 inch diameter piece of clear vinyl tubing. Depending on the diameter of your rose’s canes, about 4 inches long will do. Then just wrap the tubing around the cane and attach it to the hook. This tubing will keep the wire from cutting into the canes and the hooks will allow you to remove it from time to time if needed.

How to Train a Climbing Rose to a Trellis

I recently bought a climbing rose bush and was curious about how to train it to climb or weave itself onto a trellis.

An important part of gardening is to make the most of all your efforts. If you’re going to all the trouble of growing something, you should give it the support that it needs. And climbing roses definitely need support! It’s not uncommon for the canes of these rampant growers to reach lengths of 20 feet or more.

A trellis is an excellent way to provide support for your rose. I attached a trellis on either side of the door to my tool shed and have trained a pair of roses to grow up and over the door frame. This arrangement provides a beautiful embellishment to the somewhat utilitarian facade of the building.

Training roses to grow on a trellis couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is tie the canes to the rungs. Choose the sturdiest of the canes and use a soft material that won’t cut into the stems such as panty hose or twine.

If you are planting a new climbing rose, forego pruning for a year or two except to remove dead or damaged stems and continue to attach the main canes as the rose grows.

Once the rose reaches a mature size you can maintain its form by selectively cutting back weak canes to the base and pruning lateral, flower producing stems back to within 2 or 3 leaf nodes from the main canes. This should be done in late winter or early spring before the rose comes out of dormancy.

For these larger roses, I use an old leather belts to attach the canes to the trellis. I encircle several canes, slip the belt end through the trellis and then just buckle the belt! You made need more than one belt to attach it securely.