Spring Pruning the Established Roses (Part 1)

Gloves and Pruners

As I mentioned in a previous post, the weather this past Sunday (March 4) was just about perfect for working in the garden.  After pruning back the Cherokee rose on the south side of the house, I moved on to the rose beds under the powerlines.  Looking at the beds, I realize I only have 17 rose bushes actually growing in the rose beds or near by:

My first stop was the R. alba semi-plena bush that I have growing in a large half barrel planter.   Generally, I don't do any pruning on this rose, except to take out deadwood… and I was sad to see that one of the major canes had died.  This leaves this bush with only one significant cane.  I will have to take a closer look to see if there are any new canes starting from the base.  I purchased this bush from Roses Unlimited about 15 years ago.   At present, the bush is situated on the edge of the woody area in my front yard, under a big oak tree.   Hmmmm…it is in a planter, so technically it is move-able… maybe I should move it out and put it in one of the beds so it can get good sunshine.  

Also in the wooded area is a rose that I don't actually know the variety of.  I purchase it as "Nur Mahal" but it must have been mislabeled.  Nur Mahal has red flowers and this rose has small white clusters of flowers.  It is also in a planter and, on a positive note, it appears to be doing reasonably well.  I only had to clip out a little bit of deadwood.  At one point I did have a real Nur Mahal, which was said to do well in partial shade, which I planted at the base of the same oak tree as the R. alba semi-plena.  It never grew significantly and eventually ended  lost in the weeds and volunteer trash trees that are in the woody area.  I guess it is possible that it is still there and just sitting there trying to complete with the oak tree, but I think it finally could not take the competition and died.  Still, I should to look… I will put it on my task list.

Moving on to what I have been referring to as the "OGR bed", there are 6 bushes remaining in this bed.  Of the six, four did not require any pruning:  Cardinal de Richelieu, Celsiana, Tuscany, and Francesca.  This was mostly because they are not very big plants…. the years  of inattention have take their toll.  Francesca does have some small fresh buds coming but the truth is it has been failing for a while.  I am hoping to nurse it back to abundance but I fear my ministrations may not be enough.

The remaining two roses in the OGR bed are Noisette roses.  Crépuscule is another case of a bush that has seen better the days.   Here it is in the spring of 2014 and a closer shot of now:

Now all the big canes have all died back.  I pruned off the last one sticking through metal support on Sunday and actually removed the metal pyramid completely.  There was an old dead cane in the middle about as thick as my wrist that I had to use a pruning saw to remove.  It makes me sad that it has been reduced to this.  However, it does have small canes sprouting from the base so maybe it will recover.

That's enough for now.  Stay tuned for the next installment…..

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