Rose Pruning

It’s rose pruning time in the Southern Hemisphere!

Pruning can be an art form or very brutal and basic, depending on its location; your needs and your time:

If a shrub is getting too big for its location, it will need pruning to restrict growth and keep enough air flow around the plant.

If you want a large single flower: remove more wood; or a mass of small flowers: leave more growth.

I have even seen time-poor gardeners take to the shrub with a chainsaw and the plant still survives and sends out lots of flowers in the new season, but I would probably avoid this technique, as I think you have more control and can make more considered decisions using secateurs, as well as still have continual flowering if you are doing minor pruning while there is still plant growth.

However, this post is about the major prune at the end of the growing season and before the next one!

Pruning Time

In areas with mild Winters: Winter to early Spring.

There are two schools of thought! Later pruning avoids damage to new growth by late frosts, but earlier pruning of repeat-flowering roses allows them to get a head start and have a longer flowering period.

Old once-flowering roses can be pruned immediately after flowering, unless you want the decorative hips.

In areas with cold Winters: Delay pruning till the Spring growth is starting.

We tend to prune in late July to early August, because of our frosts. Here is a photo of our wild and woolly Soho rose garden, last week in the depths of Winter, followed by a photo of the garden post-pruning!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 12.44.03BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 15.02.08 Pruning Technique

Make sure your secateurs are sharp and clean. Have a pruning saw or large pruning shears handy for tougher wood.

Disinfect secateurs if plants are a bit diseased, so you don’t spread  any disease. I soaked two pairs of secateurs (so one pair could be soaking, while I used the other,  swapping them for each new rose) in solution of diluted methylated spirits: 3 parts metho to 1 part water and soak 15 minutes.

And wear strong gloves to protect your skin from vicious thorns!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.12.07Prune to an outer bud, so the new growth shoots away from the plant, rather than towards the centre; and

Cut the stem on a diagonal, just above the node, so that any pooled water runs off and downwards away from the shoot, rather than into the corner, where the new shoot branches off the main stem. Refer to the websites at the end of the post for clear explanatory diagrams!

BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.17.44Remove any spindly, ill, dying or dead shoots. Cut right back beyond the disease source, so that the surface of the cut is clean and there is no sign of disease in the stem.BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 14.05.31Remove the following :

Any stems growing inwards and overcrowding the centre of the bush, to allow for more air flow.

Any branch crossing another and rubbing against it, resulting in damage and the creation of a possible site for infection; and

Any suckers, which come from the root stock below the bud union and will rob your rose of its nourishment.

Note: Suckers are best pulled out, rather than cut, which still allows for their regrowth. Here is a sucker on my Fair Bianca:BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.40.18And above all, don’t overstress!!! Roses are tough and even Hybrid Teas will recover well after a good prune!

Pruning Amount

The amount you prune a rose is dependent on the type of rose:

Species Roses and their hybrids, Ground Cover Roses and Miniature Roses require little or no pruning, except the removal of old spent or dead  wood.

Ramblers can also be left to their own devices, unless you are growing them over an arch or pergola, in which case, remove any shoots growing in the wrong direction and cut back side shoots to 8 or 10 cm.

Modern Shrub Roses can be treated like Species Roses, unless they repeat-flower well, when they should be pruned like English Roses, cutting the main shoot back by a third and the side shoots to 8 or 10 cm. Here is Fair Bianca, a David Austin rose, before and after its haircut!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.40.23BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.44.08Old Roses also require minimal pruning, removing only dead and dying wood, and should not be touched for the first two years. After that, they can be pruned if needs be, their main shoots cut back by a third and side shoots to 8 cm. Very tall roses can be pruned to half their height if they are getting away! Cut back any dead branches hard.

Hybrid Teas and Floribundas should be pruned to 12 cm from the ground in their first year, and after that, prune the stronger shoots to half their length and the thinner side shoots to 5 or 8 cm. Here are before and after photos of Mr. Lincoln, a Hybrid Tea:BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.14.45BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 15.02.18Standards should be left with a broad head, while growth should be encouraged in Weeping Standards to ground level.

Repeat-Flowering Climbers require special pruning, depending on which wood they flower on: Noisettes (especially the larger flowering varieties), Climbing Teas, Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals flower on wood produced in the same year, while ramblers and scramblers (R. arvensis; R. wichuraiana; R. sempervirens; R. multiflora and R. setigera) flower on wood produced in the previous year.

In the first type, the main stem should be tied or secured with wire or cleats in as many directions as possible, including a horizontal direction to encourage vertical laterals in the coming season. The side shoots, which bore last season’s flowers, should be shortened to 8 or 10 cm or to one third their length. These spurs will then produce several flowering shoots, which will then be pruned in turn the following year to produce an increasing number of flowers.

With the ramblers and scramblers, leave them be for several years, till they densely cover their supports, and only prune when necessary after flowering in early Summer. Remove dead and old non-productive wood.

Having said that, I am not allowing my Wichuraiana Rambler, Albertine, to indulge in its typically thuggish behaviour, due to lack of room, and am keeping it under tight control, treating it as a climber rather than a rambler! In the photo below, I am training its prickly stems horizontally along the wire and trellis to encourage plenty of vertical growth along the stems, so eventually I will have a wall of pink roses against the shed.BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 17.37.39After Pruning

It can be beneficial to prick over the soil with a fork to a depth of 2 to 5 cm to aerate the soil and remove weeds. Dig in a long-term fertilizer and mulch with well-rotted compost or animal manure.

If you would like more information about pruning your roses, here are three excellent sites, as well as a rose calendar:

https://www.treloarroses.com.au/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=146

http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/rose-pruning

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2288062.htm

http://www.nsw.rose.org.au/rose-care-calendar

Propagation by Cuttings

A terrific way to enlarge your rose collection without breaking the bank, as well as conserve old roses found in old abandoned homestead gardens, cemeteries and roadsides. It is also a great way to share your roses and swap cuttings. And finally, roses grown on their own roots avoids the problem of root competition by root stocks and they are tough! In windy situations or light soils, they anchor themselves more effectively.

Roses can also be propagated by seed, division, layering, budding and grafting and finally, tissue culture (micro-propagation), but cuttings are by far the easiest for the home gardener starting to propagate roses!

The best time to take hardwood cuttings is when the leaves begin to fall and the wood has ripened over the entire Summer. Choose mature, one-year old wood, the thickness of a pencil and 15 cm long, and cut to a growth bud at the top and bottom. For heel cuttings, keep a small slice of two-year old wood still attached at the base.

Remove leaves, dip the end of the cutting in root hormone powder or honey, push into a labelled pot of equal amounts of sand and moist peat, and place in a protected sheltered spot away from frost. A cold frame or warm glasshouse will encourage root development. By early Spring, the cuttings should start to root and the following Autumn can be planted out into their permanent position.

I took cuttings from my old Armidale garden and that of a fellow rose-a-holic during our first Winter here, and while some did not strike, many did, including my three cuttings of Albertine, which are now gracing the shed wall; three cuttings of Multiflora Rambler, Russelliana; two cuttings of New Dawn, another Wichuraiana Rambler, and Climbing Hybrid Tea Rose, Mrs Herbert Stevens; and one cutting each of a Climbing Tea Rose, Sombreuil; a Centifolia, Fantin Latour; a Noisette, Reve d’Or; Bourbons: Mme Isaac Pereire and La Reine Victoria; and Shrub Roses, Leander and Fritz Nobis. Most of them are now planted out in my garden and growing madly, with a few given away as gifts.

Good Luck with all your rose pruning! May your house be filled with masses of blooms and scent this coming season!

Next week, we return to reviewing our natural history library with a post on books about the environmental challenges facing our unique and special planet and all its inhabitants.

Rose Websites

A shorter post this week with plenty of information for you to chase up and digest! These are my favourite rose websites!

  1. Heritage Roses in Australia Inc.    http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/

This is the Number 1 website for Australian Old Rose growers! Formed in 1979 for lovers and collectors of Old Roses, its aim is to preserve, cultivate, distribute and study Old Roses, including roses no longer in general cultivation, roses of historical importance, and species roses and their hybrids. There was also a particular interest in finding and conserving Australian bred roses, for example those of Alister Clark, Frank Riethmuller and Mrs Fitzhardinge.

There are regional groups in New South Wales (Blue Mountains, Illawarra-Southern Highlands, Orange-Central Tablelands, Sydney, Riverina), Queensland (Brisbane, Darling Downs), Tasmania (Northern Region, Southern Region), South Australia (Adelaide, Barossa & Beyond), ACT (Canberra), Victoria (Goldfields and Beyond, Greater Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, State Rose Garden, Western Districts) and Western Australia (Perth, Great Southern, South West).

The website includes tabs for :

News and Events around the world and in Australia;

Membership : Benefits include garden visits and lectures by renowned speakers about Old Roses and their visits to Old Rose gardens around the world and attendance of national (every two years) and international conferences;

Quarterly Journal: Informative and interesting articles from renowned experts, details of coming events and regional reports;

Articles: Index and Gallery of roses; Rose breeding/ propagation/ pruning; History of Rose: General/ Australian breeders: Alister Clark; and Videos.

Links Page: http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/links : particularly useful for more rose websites.

  1. National Rose Society of Australia      http://www.rose.org.au/

Another important website for Australian rose growers, though it encompasses modern roses as well.

This national body was formed in 1972 with representatives from all the state societies. It is also a member of the World Federation of Rose Societies. Its aim is to encourage, improve and increase the cultivation of the rose in Australia by means of exhibitions, publications and the co-ordination of all State Rose Societies.

Each state society has its own website, each of which is quite comprehensive with details of shows and meetings; articles on rose care, choice, breeding and pruning; a rose care calendar, videos and publications and a query forum; a list of public rose gardens and rose growers and suppliers and most importantly, more links to reference sites; other rose and garden societies; gardens to visit and vendors’ web sites. Here are the links to the state societies:

Victoria:  http://www.rosesocietyvic.org.au/

NSW: http://www.nsw.rose.org.au/

SA:  http://sarose.org.au/

WA:  http://www.wa.rose.org.au/

QLD: http://www.qld.rose.org.au/

There is also information about the latest rose conventions around the world. For example, the 18th  World Rose Convention: A Fairytale of Roses : to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 28 June to 4 July in 2018 : http://www.wrc2018.dk/.

The above website also has as a list of Australian Bred Roses: http://www.rose.org.au/ausroses.html. In fact, if these are your particular interest, there is also a specific site for Australian Bred roses:

  1. Australian Rose Breeders’ Association Inc : http://www.arba.rose.org.au/. It includes articles on Australian roses and their breeders; hybridizing and propagating roses and more links : http://www.arba.rose.org.au/links.html.
  1. World Federation of Rose Societies http://www.worldrose.org/.

The umbrella organization for all the rose societies of the world, this site includes a Heritage Rose Newsletter and a Rose Conservation Data Base and all the news and events from around the world. They also have a world rose directory : http://www.worldrose.org/rosedirectory/directory.asp

  1. Heritage Rose New Zealand Inc http://www.heritageroses.org.nz/

Well worth looking at for Australian growers, as New Zealand is part of our region and grows beautiful roses. Features include: a Rose Register and lists of fragrant Old Roses; gardens to visit in New Zealand; and local rose suppliers and growers, not to mention some great recipes for rose water and rose vinegar (See: http://www.heritageroses.org.nz/pdfs/RoseWater.pdf) ; rose petal yoghurt and rose petal sugar and rose hip syrup, which I have yet to try! I remember making rosehip jelly as a teenager and removing all the irritating hairy seeds from the small dog rose hips was a very time-consuming job, as the tiny amount of remaining flesh necessitated the use of a huge number of hips! Heritage Rose New Zealand also produce a rather luscious-looking quarterly journal!

6. There is also another website called The Rose Garden on New Zealand Roses Online in NZ : http://www.netlist.co.nz/Gardens/rosegarden/, which is worth investigating. It has articles on the different rose groups; photos of roses and rose gardens and links to other websites, mail order suppliers and special garden events.

7.The American Rose Society : http://www.ars.org/ is the equivalent of the National Rose Society of Australia and is worth consulting for its resources : http://www.rose.org/resources/.

8. Heritage Rose Foundation :  http://www.heritagerosefoundation.org/ is an American organization, established in 1986, for the preservation of Old Roses, as well as ongoing research and education. They have a monthly newsletter, as well as a biannual journal Rosa Mundi, which has some wonderful articles on Old Roses and gardens. For example: La Bonne Maison : http://media.wix.com/ugd/e6654e_3e8ede54ba3df1d99c601b1e9032417b.pdf and The Roses of the Ardennes Region in France: http://media.wix.com/ugd/e6654e_61393f7cd851087d3baedc0e917a40ec.pdf.

9. Roses Anciennes en Francehttp://www.rosesanciennesenfrance.org/ is the French equivalent, but does require a fluid grasp of written French! It is a very active group with lots of activities, articles and photo galleries and links to French rose gardens, associations and suppliers like : Pépinières Les Rosiers des Merles : http://www.roseraie-de-berty.com, Roses Anciennes André Eve : http://www.roses-anciennes-eve.com and the Loubert Rose Garden : http://www.rosesloubert.com/ . Note that Roses Loubert does sell these roses at : http://www.pepiniere-rosesloubert.com/.

Rose Anciennes en France also has an English version of The History of the Rose in Lyon : http://www.rosesanciennesenfrance.org/en/history_of_the_rose.htm.

10. Another French organization devoted to Old Roses is Rosa Gallica: http://www.rosagallica.org , and while mainly written in French, it includes an English newsletter for its foreign English-speaking members: http://www.rosagallica.org/page11/page11.html.html.

11. England has the Royal National Rose Society : http://www.rnrs.org.uk. Established in 1876, it is the world’s oldest specialist plant society. It is best known for its flagship Gardens of the Rose at Chiswell Green in Hertfordshire, on the outskirts of St Albans: http://www.rnrs.org.uk/visit-us/.

12. Rogers Roses : http://www.rogersroses.com/ is the website written by Roger Philips and Martyn Rix, British authors of two books in my rose library, which I discussed early in the month: ‘The Quest for the Rose’ and  ‘The Rose’, part of their Garden Series, which also includes a host of books on other garden plants. The website features almost 5,000 varieties of roses and around 6,000 photos, providing a perfect reference for rose identification. There are also details of the nurseries around the world stocking particular rose varieties.

13. Help Me Find : http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/index.php is also a very useful site, not just for roses, but clematis and peonies as well. Their catalogue includes over 44,000 roses and has more than 160,000 photos, along with thousands of rose nurseries, public and private gardens, rose societies, authors, breeders, hybridizers and publications from all over the world. They also have a huge number of links covering anatomy, care, pests and diseases, hardiness, rose trials, species roses and a category titled: ‘Other’, which encompasses so much, I will leave it to you to explore at your leisure!

14. For dreamy reflections on roses, I cannot go past Rose Gathering : http://www.rosegathering.com/ , which is a delightful site with articles on all the rose classes, as well as on the symbolism of the rose; recommendations about books on roses, general gardening, specific plants and rarer books like the Wilhelm Keller rare rose catalogues of 1828, 1829 and 1833. There is also a list of artworks featuring roses, including postage stamps, and a list of rose societies and references to specific rose gardens. The Links section is also enormous and well worth exploring! See: http://www.rosegathering.com/links.html.

15. Paul Barden has written a website called Old Garden Roses and Beyond : http://paulbardenroses.com/main.html. It is devoted to Old Roses of the 19th Century and before, but also discusses the best modern roses of the 20th and 21st Centuries, as well as David Austin’s English Roses. He also provides lots of information about the growing, pruning, propagating and breeding of the rose, as well as another large resource section. A breeder and rose hybridizer himself, Paul also writes a blog called A Hybridizer’s Journal : http://paulbarden.blogspot.com.au/.

16. The Antique Rose Emporium is a name, which often comes up in the links : https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/. It is an American mail order rose company, with a lovely mail order catalogue.

17. Botanical.com: A Modern Herbal , written by Mrs M Grieve (http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/roses-18.html) has plenty of information about rose history, rose types and the uses of roses throughout the world in medicine and cooking. She includes recipes for potpourri, crystallized roses and even rose petal sandwiches!

18. Brent C Dickerson has written a number of articles on Old Roses : http://web.csulb.edu/~odinthor/oldrose.html.

19. There are also many websites written by rose specialists:

Peter Boyd is an expert on Scots and other Pimpinellifolia roses : http://www.peterboyd.com/scotsroses.htm.

Jerry Haynes has an article on Tea Roses : http://www.rose.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/History-of-Roses-Tea-Roses.pdf.

20. And finally, there are the countless rose nursery websites. For example: Peter Beales: https://www.classicroses.co.uk/ and David Austin : https://www.davidaustinroses.com/.

Happy Reading !!!