Monday, January 27, 2014

Pruning Choices

Pruning roses or anything really is all about making good choices. You take out cross over canes to minimize future wounds that may become pest damage. And you remove canes that are too close together. Here's a trick I learned from my rose society friends a LONG time ago. What if there are two really good new beefy canes and you don't want to choose? Maybe there's not a lot going on with the rest of the plant. You can make a wedge from your clippings. Usually I dig for something resembling a "Y" shape. You then wedge this between the two canes to push them farther apart from each other. I try to prop the wedgy piece onto a thorn to help it to stay in place.

Today I came across one at a job that I did last year. It's the brown piece shown that is the wedge. After I photographed it I removed it and the canes stayed in place away from each other.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another January Rose

What an exhausting week I've had! I shouldn't have planned so many big rose pruning jobs next to each other. This week alone I pruned 568 bushes. I actually had a small block of time to start on my own roses and did 40. 
My running total so far this season is 1344!

We've had 80 degree temps here in SoCal for the last 3 weeks. Today we had clouds and a wonderful 73! Still blooming in my garden is this gorgeous yellow David Austin English rose called Happy Child.   Do you grow Austin roses? 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Bloom

I know back east they're still digging themselves out of the polar vortex. We're going through drought and a heatwave. It's been a very hot January here in SoCal with 80s and 90s, totally wrong for winter and difficult for me to work as I shed my layers and get all scratched up.  I've got my priorities.

I've still got blooms on my roses because of the weather and because I haven't pruned them yet. I'm so busy pruning everyone else's rose bushes that I'm too tired and sore to do mine when I get home nor on the weekend. I hope to get to them soon.
 My total for the season so far is 776 bushes pruned.

Blooming today in my garden is the Floribunda rose Mary Lou Heard. It's a huge old fashioned flower. You might know it as Janice Kellogg. When I bought it she was named for beloved nursery owner of Heard's Country Garden in Westminster, CA. Mary Lou died in 2002. I'm guessing they changed the name because MLH was only known in SoCal and the Kellogg name might sell better. Whatever. It'll always be Mary Lou Heard to me.

Monday, January 13, 2014


At one of my jobs today where she has amazing soil and grows monster roses, I saw the WORST case of rust I've ever seen!  Rust is a fungus that affects roses like powdery mildew or blackspot.  I had to look this up but rust is actually called Phragmidium   No one I know calls it that.  Rust can weaken the plant.   Rosarians spray fungicides in Spring to prevent fungus.  But many slack off in the summer and don't spray.   Then in Fall the rust really starts to show.  But by Jan we cut the plants back and remove all the leaves anyway.   I admit that I'm a terrible sprayer.   I've fought with so many devices that I only spray when I have to!   But isn't it great that we get to start over every year! 

I know that in the US South and Midwest they battle blackspot. And we in the West are known for powdery mildew.  But is rust prevalent all over?  Do tell. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rose Detective

When pruning roses one sometimes needs to be a sort of detective, a rose detective if you will. Pruning is all about making the plant a manageable size, open for air circulation and getting rid of diseases. This little line-nub-thing, called a bud eye is where a leaf was. Sometimes it's difficult to see and you need to search for it. This is what you cut above because this is from where the new growth comes. You cut above a bud eye facing away from the center of the plant so that you have a clear center of the bush. A clear center equals good air circulation and deters diseases. You could just whack wherever and the plant would recover but would be happier if you cut above a bud eye :-)

I pruned 297 roses this week for a total of 536 so far.

Enjoy your rose detective work! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rose Tree Pruning

Here in SoCal I am immersed in rose pruning.  Having started a little before the new year, last week I pruned 239 bushes.  Today I did 48 bushes.  So my total so far this season is 287.  Follow along if you want to see my crazy numbers ascend! 

 I am not a fan of standard tree roses. That is where they graft one(or more) rose variety onto another rose's trunk to make a tree. I think it's weird especially when they graft a tall growing hybrid tea rose up there. Then it grows huge and stupid.  This is Iceberg at a job, the white floribunda landscape rose that is everywhere.  It works mostly well on a tree(if we HAVE to) because floribunda varieties grow bushy.   This is before my whacking.  

I took out any middle growth because air circulation is crucial to a healthy plant.  And I took out little twiggy growth because it doesn't  flower well.   I made it much smaller because we get to start over every year.  You can direct the new growth by cutting just above a bud eye or where a leaf was.  Try to make sure the cut is above a bud eye that is pointing away from the center of the plant.    

Also I'll be doing a rose pruning demo for the LA Rose Society this Sat Jan 11 at 9:00AM at  San Gabriel Nursery  .            Come out to watch and learn how to prune your roses.  


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year everybody!

This wonderful bloom is a rose called Frankie. It it very difficult to find. I admired it for years at rose shows. Two years ago this coming Feb, I finally got cuttings from my friend Darryl. I was lucky enough to root a few and shared them with friends. I planted mine in my backyard and it's blooming today. It has Altissimo in its bloodline so it wants to grow pillar climber-y but can be kept a manageable size.

I used to hate single petalled roses because they look like they're going to fall apart any minute. And sometimes they do. But for me now it's all about those starry stamens. Frankie has those and beautiful glowing color too.

Enjoy this photo as the rose is going to get pruned in the next few weeks.