June 002

Rosa Sally Holmes, doing her thing, which includes climbing through the snowball bush (viburum opulus). If you’re adding old roses to your garden, take the time to find a nursery that grows them on their own roots. For several reasons:

1) In harsh winters, the rose will come back true
2) Better disease resistance
3) Performs true to form

If you’re looking for inexpensive additions, growing your own roses from cuttings is fun and really satisfying. The cuttings should be taken in fall, from mid-growth without buds or flowers. A little Rootone is a good idea. And then fetch a pot with perfectly prepared, rose-friendly soil, strip any foilage below ground zero and tuck in your cuttings–an odd number works better. No, I don’t know why, but it’s true in exactly the same way it’s true plants prefer round pots to square. Then put your cutting pot(s) in a nice sheltered nursery spot. Mulching around them or burying the pots themselves, as required by your climate.

No wonderful old roses to take cuttings from in your yard? Get out there and get acquainted with the old lady gardeners in your neighborhood, preferably the ones with beautiful roses spilling over their fences. Speaking as one of those old lady gardeners, we don’t bite. And the odds are excellent I’d be generous about sharing rose cuttings. Seeing things from my yard flourishing down the block is one of gardening’s sweetest pleasures.