My first roses which I planted were three Iceberg standard roses. I blogged about them when they first started blooming here and of course when they were first planted in March this year here. They’ve produced lovely blooms throughout the year but I’ve never been overly impressed with the actual plants since day one. They were not particularly good looking specimens, but once they were in the garden they were mine and I resolved to care for them and make it work.

Here is how the newly planted roses looked in March 2011 (not great, huh?)

March 2011

According to all the South African literature on roses, the last week in July is the final date for hard pruning roses. I educated myself as best I could, reading books, magazine articles, blogs and I even watched a few videos on how best to prune roses. Suitably intimidated, I nonetheless did the big chop, as I was told to at the end of July. They looked pretty pathetic after the pruning – three sticks with a few twigs – and I was very apprehensive about my “prune job”, to say the least.

So how did I do?

Here is how they look right now, October 2011:

October 2011

There are plenty of buds on the roses, lots of growth and, if I say so myself, they look about one hundred times better than the plants I was sold back in March (see first photo above), so I’m quite happy. I’ve subsequently done some finger pruning (which I read about) and removed some extra buds, so I’m hoping over the next few weeks my roses will continue to flourish.

First bloom of the seasonFirst bloom of the season

Love how pure the white looksLove how pure the white looks

Lots of new budsLots of new buds

Beautiful Iceberg roseBeautiful Iceberg rose

All the new growthAll the new growth

From 5 twigs to thisFrom 5 twigs to this

I think its looking goodLooking good

Another beauty about to unfurlAnother beauty

I like them best at this stageI like them best at this stage

Today I’ve mulched, fed, finger pruned and watered and I’m hoping for good growth and lots more blooms over the next few months. I’m even contemplating buying a few new rose bushes – pink this time, and not standards.

How are your roses doing?