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The Rookie Rose Grower

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.

[one_half]First bloom of the seasonFirst bloom of the season[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Love how pure the white looksLove how pure the white looks[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of new budsLots of new buds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful Iceberg roseBeautiful Iceberg rose[/one_half_last]

[one_third]All the new growthAll the new growth[/one_third]

[one_third]From 5 twigs to thisFrom 5 twigs to this[/one_third]

[one_third_last]I think its looking goodLooking good[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Another beauty about to unfurlAnother beauty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I like them best at this stageI like them best at this stage[/one_half_last]

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?

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

23 replies on “The Rookie Rose Grower”

When my parents died two years ago I wanted to create a rose garden to have them close by. I decided to use my sundeck and plant roses in pots. I now have 23 – They are all doing well but I find that they get a lot of aphids – think this is because they are so close to each other. My problem is the roses that are suppose to be in abundant flowering i.e. knockout rose – are the ones struggling. Anyone got advice?

They look like they are doing so well! I, too, am a total rose rookie. I got four roses this year, and I am very pleased with how they are doing. I even got a nice fall flush of blooms from one of them.
I haven’t even investigated pruning yet, though!

Hi Indie, I’ve learnt that pruning is actually not so difficult. And the roses have responded so well, which made it all worth while. I was so intimidated by it all beforehand. Going to check out your blog to see if you have posted your ‘fall flush’.

I love it when roses respond so well to a good trim. For me, the most important part of rose selection, was disease resistance first, then beauty. The one time I ignored disease resistance, I got burned, and ultimately, I ended up pulling out that plant. In my rose garden at our last house (I don’t grow any here…I know…the horror), I only had one rose that no matter what I did, it just never appreciated my efforts. It suffered horribly with rust, and spent most of the year without its leaves. The vast majority, with careful pruning, mulching, and feeding though, knocked my socks off. You think this Iceberg looks good now. Give it a full season, and I bet by next year you’ll really be in awe…and so will we! 🙂

Hi Clare – So I can look forward to an even better result next year? That would be amazing … (learning so much from all of you, it’s so great to get so much encouragement and confirmation that we are doing things right). For me it’s been so rewarding to see how the roses (and other plants actually) respond to composting, mulching and pruning. And the right weathercof course 🙂

By the way, your Howl-oween post had me in stitches! Such great photos and a a fun story!

Oh how beautiful and blemish free your roses are!! Stunning!! I have to say, I was not impressed with my first blooms. I have major bug damage, but they are producing. I’ll post them soon! 🙂 Just got to get through all the damage first!

Hi my friend. I’m amazed at how blemish … And pest free my roses are, but let me not speak too soon. Aphids must be lurking … But, ever since Diana said she leaves her aphids for the witoogies to feed on, I stopped spraying mine, and since then, I haven’t seen any. Could it be they are being eaten by the birdies? Would be great …

Hi Christine. Over 2 years ago we moved into an older home with an established garden. And yes, included were 10 poorly grown standard white Iceberg roses. Never the less, I could not bring myself to remove them. After a few good doses of TLC, they have flourished, and while they are by no means my favorite rose, when in full bloom, they are certainly spectacular.
I too have some splendid, but very large trees that create many problems. Now that I have come across your Blog, I will certainly look forward to reading of you experiences. It seems we share quite alot in common as I live in the south east corner of Australia, and I believe our growing conditions and climate could be similar. Wishing you well with your garden endeavours. Susie.

Hi Suzie, thanks for the visit. Do you have a blog I can follow? I believe we have very similar climate to yours and we grow a lot of similar plants to our fellow Aussie gardeners – it would be great to see your garden! Gardening in shade can indeed be a real challenge as I’ve learnt (the hard way sometimes). Souls be great to compare notes 🙂

Hello again Christine, Thankyou for taking the time to answer me. I will let you into a little secret. I am very new at Blogging, and to be honest, I have no idea how to go about setting one up. So no, at the moment I do not have one of my own. It was through my love of the garden, seeking to learn and share, that led me to enjoy reading of your and other peoples experiences in their blog writing and all the magic photos. So encouraging. I think you are all soo clever. One day I will branch out and try. Until then I will continue enjoying your and others talents. Susie.

I know–it’s scary, isn’t it? But you’ll be happy with the results when the Roses hit their prime. I’ll be visiting your blog then, because my garden will be white–and not because of the blooms. 🙂

Hi Beth, I’m looking forward to a first flush of roses! I love snow, we don’t ever get snow here where I am, so I hope you’ll indulge us with “snow posts” 🙂

You’ve done a great job on your standards! They have really leafed out. Your blooms are so pristine! Lovely. I hope you enjoy your standards for many years. And some pink roses with them would be gorgeous!

Thanks Holley! you are my rose mentor, so if you say they look good, then I’m thrilled! They look even better now, few days later. I can’t wait to show them all full of blooms.

Pure white roses, Love it! I feel like redoing my wedding and cover the entire room with just white roses, ha .. ha .. ha.. do you thing it will look good?

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