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Rosie's Corner

Rosie's Corner

Welcome to Rosie's Corner where we discuss everything about roses!  

VicK's Caprice by Debbie DiNoto

Vick's Caprice Rose

Welcome to Rosie's Corner for October!

Well, we have finally made it through the worst of the summer and what a summer it was!  One for the record books and I hope we don’t repeat it anytime soon.  October is the transition month, from the heat of summer, to cooler temps, especially in the morning.  (Hallelujah!). 

What to do in the Rose Garden this Month

If you grow roses in pots and you notice the soil has dropped in the pots, add more potting mix to your planter/pots.  The soil level should be about two inches below the top of the pot. 

It is still important to water your roses on the days and times we can water.  This is the last month we can water three days a week.  Starting November 1st, we are back to watering only one day a week.  I hope we get some needed rain soon.  On the days we can water, wash off the rose leaves (both top and bottom) to keep the dreaded spider mites away.  I have found that really helps to keep them out of your yard.  Last year, I lost a rose due to a spider mite infection that appeared practically overnight.  So, check your roses! 

Now is the time to lightly trim your roses.  Emphasis on light trim.  This is not the heavy pruning you do in January/February.  If you have dead canes that didn’t make it through the summer heat, cut those out.  Ideally, you want to trim your roses about 1/3 off the top of each plant.  Only do this if you have enough living leaves remaining on the canes. If you have little to no foliage on the plant, do not trim the plant at all.  I have two such plants that I will be looking at and monitoring to see if I need to pull them out in a month or so.  This summer was brutal!  Just leave those plants alone to see if they will make it through the next couple of months. 

Now is the time to start fertilizing again.  This should give you beautiful blooms for Thanksgiving and the holidays.  You can choose from the following: an 8-10-8 fertilizer, an organic rose food, fish emulsion and alfalfa meal.  I do not recommend the alfalfa pellets as they may contain salt which is a no-no for your plants.  At the beginning of this month, you can add the alfalfa meal around your plants.  Use about a cup for large, well-established roses and ½ a cup for large established minis.  You can also add the fertilizer or organic rose food at the beginning of this month.  From the middle of the month to the middle of November, you can fertilize every two weeks with the diluted fish emulsion, if you wish.  There can be too much of a good thing and I am watching the amount of fertilizers I use (even my organic ones) as too much is not good for the plant nor for the environment.   

I also add a nice layer of compost and top everything off with mulch to make sure I maintain that three inches around the drip line of each plant.  That mulch will keep the water down towards the plant where the roots need it and will help to regulate the soil temperature as well as keep weeds away.  Before you add mulch and compost, rake away any leaf drop and old petals that have built up around your roses.  I would not compost those old rose leaves as they may contain fungal diseases that may not get killed in the compost bin.  So put that debris in the green bin to be hauled away. 

Now is the time to check your irrigation system to make sure it is working properly.  You can start to cut back on the amount of time that you water as the sun is much lower in the hemisphere and days are getting shorter and cooler. 

Again, watch your roses for any signs of pests, spider mites, aphids, thrips, white fly, etc.  You can go to our UC ANR Integrated Pest Management (IPM) page for tips on how to deal with all of them.  UC IPM Roses

How to Make Rose Water

You can make Rose Water with your rose petals.  Take a half cup of fresh rose petals (make sure you have not sprayed any insecticide on them).  Add them to one cup of water.  Place them in a saucepan with a lid.  Cover the saucepan with the lid and bring the rose water to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the color of the petals has faded (about 10 minutes or so).  Leave the lid on and let the brew cool completely.  Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth.  Pour the cooled mixture into a spray bottle and this mixture (so refreshing on your skin) should last for about a month in the fridge. 

Until Next Time...

…”As delicate as flower, as tender as rose petals, choosing to be tender and kind in a harsh environment is not weakness, it’s courage.”  Luffina Lourduraj

Rosie’s Corner September 2022

What ‘s Going On in the Rose Garden This Month

Well, have you melted yet?  It has been hot (understatement).  I decided to do a bit of research on the topic of our weather.  I looked at the daily high temperatures from May through October for the years 2012-2022.  I only went through August 2022 for this year.  The temperatures were from the Fresno Airport Terminal Weather Station from the National Weather Service website.  I counted how many days were over 100 F.  We have normally averaged between 40—50 days over 100 F during those six months.  However, in 2021, we had 69 days over 100 F.  This year looks to be about the same.  That is a large increase.  Is it any wonder that my roses (and other plants) look fried? 

I have started covering my plants with large patio umbrellas, to keep the worst of the heat/sun off of them.  I am making sure they are well watered on the days that I can water.  I do check with a moisture meter/water probe to make sure the water is going to the roots of the rose. 

On those water days, I am washing them off with a blast of water (I use a water wand) from my hose.  I have been able to keep the spider mites and other bugs off of them.   I will continue to do this until we start to finally cool down into the high 80’s.  When the temps get down to that degree, I will feed them again with either fish emulsion, organic fertilizer and/or compost for a nice fall/early winter bloom.    

Make sure you have a good layer of mulch around your rose bushes.  It should be at least 3—4 inches deep and around the drip line of the bush.  That will help to keep moisture in and weeds down.    

I am keeping the dried dead leaves on the plants in an effort to protect the canes from further sunburn.  I have lost one rose due to the heat/sun.  Not sure if I will replace it at this time.  So, try to protect your roses as best you can from the ravages of the heat and sun.  Spray them on days you can water to keep off spider mites and other pests. 

Next summer I will try (as an experiment) covering my roses and other plants with 65% shade cloth and see how they do.  This is what rose growers in Tucson Arizona use, so I will give it a try.  The Tucson Rose Society members have had great success with this. 

Main Castle at Coloma Castle
The Rose Garden at Coloma Castle, Belgium

Meanwhile, I attended a HeyGo Tour of the beautiful Belgium rose garden at Kasteel Coloma.  The 15-acre garden has over 3000 rose varieties from 25 countries. 

Did you know that at one time roses were thought to advert the plague?   Did you know the first rosary was literally made from dried rose hips?    

This first picture is of the castle itself. 

Here is a picture of the caretaker’s cottage.  I immediately volunteered to move into the cottage and take care of the gardens.  Unfortunately, they didn’t take me up on my generous offer.   

Rose Garden at Coloma Castle 1



There were several rose gardens on the grounds.  Some of them are broken out by countries and features roses bred in that country. 

Japanese Garden at Coloma Castle

Here is a picture of the Japanese rose garden.  You will see empty spaces for roses to be planted in the future.  The sculpture of the crane in the center is amazing! 

USA Garden at Coloma Castle

The USA garden was also very nice.  I was thrilled to see one of Ralph Moore’s roses (he bred roses at his nursery in Visalia).  They had his Sweet Chariot rose in the garden blooming away!

Ralph Moore's Sweet Chariot Rose

Sweet Chariot, a Ralph Moore rose.

Formal Rose Garden at Coloma Castle

It is a beautiful rose garden that I hope you will have a chance to visit someday. 

Until Next Time...

“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.” ? Paulo Coelho

Rosie’s Corner August 2022

What To Do in the Rose Garden for the Month of August

Well, our roses continue to suffer in this heat, just like the rest of us.  Advice for this month is pretty much the same as last month.  Remove the petals of spent roses and allow them to form hips.  Don’t feed your roses yet, it is still too hot.  They are working on staying alive right now. 

Check to make sure your plants are getting enough water, check for sunburn leaves, etc.  Leave those sunburned leaves on the plant so they can help shade the canes to keep them from getting sunburn.  You can also cover your roses with shade cloth to help them get through the worst of the summer. 

Watch out for spider mites spider mites and wash them off with a good spray of your hose.  Make sure you get the underside of the leaves where they like to hide.  You can look out for any thrip damage that may be happening as well.  thrips

Rose Garden Travel

Since my rose garden is suffering at the moment, I thought I would show you some pictures of a virtual rose garden tour I took this month.  The virtual tour was of the De Haar Castle in Utrech, Holland.

Castle De Haar is the largest castle in Holland.  You might think it was built in medieval times.  It has a moat, drawbridge, turrets, etc.   It is, however, a “new” castle.   The famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers built it between 1892—1912. I just love their front door. 

The castle was built where an old derelict castle was located.  The old castle was raised to build the new one.  You can tell it is a new castle as it has lots of large windows, lots of turrets, etc.  Older castles would have small windows, etc., so they could easily be defended.

The gardens on the castle grounds are spectacular. The architect, Cuypers worked closely with garden architect, Hendrik Copijn to create several beautiful gardens.  There are small lakes, a canal, a large kitchen garden, a beautiful chapel, Italian style gardens, French gardens, etc., on the grounds.  They are just beautiful!

In 1912, the eldest son of the family who built the castle, was killed in a traffic accident.  He was only 24 years old.  The rose garden is dedicated to him.  It has over 1200 roses with 79 different species roses.   The pillar in the middle of the garden is “broken” to show that his life was cut short. You have a great view of the chapel (in the distance on the right) from this area.

It is a beautiful remembrance.  Those arches are covered in rambling roses.  Unfortunately, they just went out of bloom at the time of my visit.  Here are some pictures of the beautiful rose garden.


       Next month, we can start to prep our rose gardens for a great fall bloom.  Yes!

Until Next Time...

There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.” ? Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rosie's Corner July 2022

What to do in the Rose Garden for July

Mother Nature decided to turn on the heat.  We had such a lovely beginning of June.  However, it is Fresno and it is officially summer, so the heat is on.  The high summer temps are less than ideal for having beautiful roses for the next couple of months.  Check your garden in the morning when it is the cooler part of the day.  Look at the leaves of your plants for leaf wilt, drying or discoloring of the leaves.  If they appear dull, check your plants for disease, drought or pests. 

Now is not the time to fertilize.  Your plants are struggling to remain hydrated.  You can remove your withered petals and let hips develop for the time being.  Make sure your plants have at least four inches of mulch around the dripline of the plant to help keep away weeds and help to maintain moisture. 

When temps get over 90 F, roses will lose moisture through their leaves.  This sometimes shows up as browning along the edge of the leaf.  Insufficient moisture in the root zone of your roses will cause this.  It is a sign of heat stress.  Make sure you give your plants adequate water on the days when we can water.  If you see this, don’t be tempted to remove the leaves.  They will help the canes of the plant to stay shaded from the sun and not get sunburned.  Sunburned canes can kill your plant. 

Again, check your plants for any signs of pests.  Thrips and spider mites seem to love this time of year and these temps.  A strong spray of water below the leaves, followed by an overhead shower can help to keep those little critters away.  Do this early in the day, on the days you can water, for at least 10—14 days.  Inspect your plants daily for any signs of infestation.  An added bonus is just walking in the garden is a great way to reduce stress.  (Did you know that in England, physicians can prescribe gardening as a treatment for reducing anxiety and stress?  Scientists have found spending two hours a week in nature can lead to better health and wellbeing.)

Rose Garden in Nakanoshima, Japan

I was fortunate to be able to attend a virtual tour of a rose garden in the middle of Nakanoshima, Japan.  What a treat!  The city has two rivers that run through it and there are rose gardens along the banks of those rivers.  It is in the middle of the downtown area so everyone in the office buildings can enjoy the view of the garden and spend their lunch hours, breaks, etc., walking through them.  I took some pictures for you to enjoy.

rose garden nakanoshima japan 1

I don’t think I have ever seen such beautifully pruned climbers as in this garden. 

The grounds were immaculate.  There were a lot of David Austin roses from England growing there.  I was able to relay some of the history of certain roses during the tour.  It was a great way to spend an hour or so on the tour. 

The rose below is called Dainty Bess.  It is a Hybrid Tea rose.  Those reddish yellow stamens get me every time.

It has a mild, spice fragrance.  It was introduced in 1925.  It was named after the breeder’s wife.  It is a very good rose.  As another rose breeder told me, you don’t name a bad rose after your wife if you want to stay married.  This rose comes in a bush and a climbing version.  I just love this rose!

Here is a view of some of the garden.

You can see the bridge that goes across the river and the office buildings which get a fantastic view.  

Those “blank” areas of lawn will be where future roses will grow.  I will share more lovely pictures in the future.

Until Next Time...

”It’s OK to feel delicate sometimes.  Real beauty is in the fragility of your petals.  A rose that never wilts isn’t a rose at all.”  Crystal Woods, Write Like No One is Reading

Rosie's Corner June 2022

Shall we talk about water?  What is the best way to water my roses?

The best way is to deliver water efficiently.  That means making sure there is no overspray if you are using sprinklers.  If you are hand watering, use a water wand that you can turn off at the nozzle so when you are done watering one rose, you can stop the water flow before moving onto the next. 

I use a drip system on my roses (and my other plants too).  Drip systems are the most efficient way to water as they don’t produce a spray that can be blown away by the slightest wind.  I have emitters (not the spray type of drip system).  I am always checking the system (at least once a month) to make sure there are no leaks.  Leaks are easy to repair, and the Master Gardener program usually has a class on how to install and repair leaks in your drip system.  I recommend taking the course if you are able. 

So, I am often asked, how much water does each rose need?  That depends upon the time of year and the type/size of the rose.  The typical hybrid tea (we are talking a mature plant), will take about 6-9 gallons a week if the temps are below 80 F.  In wintertime when the temps are much cooler, they will take much less water.  If the temps are over 90 F consistently, they will take about 12 gallons a week (not daily!).  Again, this will depend on the size of the rose.  Mini roses will take much less water than a full-size hybrid tea.  Roses are pretty drought tolerant and can take less water but may show signs of stress. 

The amount of water will also depend upon the type of soil you have (get your soil tested!).  If you have clay soil, it will hold water, so you will need less.  If you have sandy soil, the water will permeate more quickly through the soil.  If you have nice loamy soil, the recommendations up above will suffice. 

So, how do you estimate how long to run your drip system for your roses?  

Multiply the number of emitters by their delivery rate, (e.g., one gallon per hour).  If you have 40 one-gallon emitters and ten roses, each with four one-gallon emitters placed around them, that is four gallons of water to each rose per hour.   If you need to deliver 12 gallons of water per week, then you would divide that by three (the number of days per week we can water), and that gives you 4 gallons of water each day that you water (3 days).  So, you would run your system for one hour each day that we can water. 

I like to divide that up as well as I want the water to soak in before I water again, so I will divide the time I water on each of the days to 20 minutes.  I stagger those times and water around 5 am.  I water again around 7 am and then again in the evening after 7 pm.  Doing this allows the water to reach the roots of the plant and also encourages the roots to grow deeply rather than on the surface.  That is much better for the health of your plant. 

Another way to help reduce and maintain water in the soil is to mulch heavily.  I recommend using a four-inch layer of mulch around the dripline of each rose/plant.  What is a dripline?  It is the outer canopy of leaves from the plant.  Don’t mulch around the “trunk” or base of the rose bush but around the outer edge.  Leave an open area about 12 inches in diameter around the base of the plant.  I have also heard that if your rose bush is pruned to at least 8 inches above the mulch layer, it will help to reduce the spread of pests such as spider mites. 

Mulch will moderate the temperature of the soil and maintain moisture.  It will also keep weeds away from your plant!  I prefer to do less work in the garden during our hotter than Hades summers and this is a way to make that happen!  Don’t use rubber mulch.  Don’t use mulch that has been dyed.  Use a mulch that will break down over time and enrich your soil.  I like fine wood chips the best, but I have also used compost as mulch as well. 

Now there are two thoughts as to whether or not to let your roses go dormant in the hot summer.  What that means is that from June until at least the middle to end of September when the temps are cooler;

  • Don’t feed your roses
  • Make sure your watering system is operating efficiently
  • Apply 4 inches of mulch over the entire bed
  • Don’t prune your roses
  • You can deadhead them or just remove the spent petals and allow hips to form
  • If the leaves burn on your plant, leave them on the plant to help shade the canes from burning

There is another school of thought from folks who grow roses in Tucson.  Grow your roses under shade cloth, when the temps are consistently over 95 F.  June is often the hottest month in Tucson.  They use 65% shade cloth as a canopy over their roses.  In essence, they create a canopy structure with pipes and the shade cloth.  It is big enough to cover the roses and still walk under them.  Some put a misting system on the pipe as well to increase the humidity. 

They continue to feed their roses and don’t let them go dormant.  I have seen wonderful results.  Beautiful growth and flowers all summer long.  They remove the shade cloth in the fall, winter and early spring.  In Tucson, they are still able to water their roses daily (if necessary and if they don’t have monsoonal rains that day).  We don’t have that luxury, unfortunately.  If I am able to set up a shade cloth structure in my yard, I will let you know how it goes. 

There is a lot going on in the rose world, which I will talk about next month.  I have been attending wonderful classes through the Royal Horticultural Society on roses.  There are pretty new roses out for this year.  One of them is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Until Next Time...

Until next time….If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I’d be picking roses for a lifetime. – Swedish Proverb

Rosie's Corner May 2022

Well, this has been the year for weather, hasn’t it?  We have had drought, blistering heat, cold, wind, occasional rain, etc.  All of this has added to my roses having fungal diseases, opening later than usual or earlier than usual. 

The yearly invasion of Hoplia Beetles started at the beginning of April and continues.  Hopefully, they will be gone before the end of May.  They normally hang around for about six weeks and then go back underground as grubs until next year.  This year, I have been squishing them with gloved hands.  Good way to work out any aggression you may be feeling. 

Plants that have never had spider mites in my yard, now have spider mites.  I have been hosing those down with a blast from the garden hose.  I also had aphids on my roses earlier in April.  I squished a few until I saw my first Lady Bird Beetle (aka, Lady Beetles or Lady Bug). Lady Beetles  I asked her to graciously invite all of her friends and relatives.  She did one thing better.  She had babies!  I now have lots and lots of Lady Bird Beetle larvae on my roses!  They look like little (less than a quarter of an inch) black and red striped alligators.   I feel bad that there are not more aphids for them to eat (they wiped them out!).  However, I have been directing them towards my spider mites as they consider them delicious also.  I am so glad I didn’t spray for bugs.  In fact, I planted California native plants deliberately in my yard to attract beneficial insects and it is working just fine.  I am thrilled! 

My roses have not looked their best this spring with a few exceptions.  It has been due to the weather.  I expect things to improve from now on until the first blast of summer heat comes upon us.  If your roses have suffered from various fungal diseases cut off those buds, flowers or pick off those leaves.  Yes, they will grow back again.  powdery mildew  It is just the weather causing this.  Once you see the white powdery mildew on the rose, it is too late to spray it with a fungicide.  Best to just pick off those leaves and buds and put them in the green bin.  Don’t leave them out on the ground.  You can spread the disease by doing that.  Make sure you wipe off your pruners with an alcohol wipe so you don’t spread the disease to another plant. 

What to do in May in the rose garden? 

Your rose blooms will mature quickly in warm weather.  As they start to fade, lightly prune them back to the first outward facing five-leaflet leaf.  This should be a very light pruning. You should have new blooms on your plant in about six weeks or so, around the middle of June. 

You may want to do one last feeding of fertilizer and compost before the end of the month.  That will be it until the fall.  Our roses go semi-dormant due to the heat from about mid-June through the middle of September.  Put those pruning’s in the green waste barrel.  Make sure you have a good layer of mulch around the dripline of your plant (not near the stem/trunk of the plant but the outside area of the plant).  Place or refresh mulch so it is a good three or four inches around the drip line.  It will reduce weeds, keep moisture in the ground for the plant to use on non-watering days, and improve your soil. 

OK, how about some pictures of roses?  My Munstead Wood is always beautiful.  Hoplia Beetles don’t touch it since they prefer the light colored roses. 

Munstead Wood

Today on the Madera Master Gardener Home Tour, I saw the most beautiful Eden climber rose.  I love this rose.  One of my favorites. 

Eden Rose (Climber)

Speaking of tours, I went on a virtual tour of a rose garden in Rome.  Here is the same rose Eden on a trellis in Rome, Italy.  Beautiful!

Climbing Eden Rose

Until Next Time...

Until next time…. The life cycle of a rose can be related back to our own lives. We go through phases of growth, pruning and rough winters that can leave us bare but in the end, we (like roses) will regrow and prosper again.  Unknown

Rosie's Corner for April 2022

What To Do In The Rose Garden For April

Well, those little buggers are definitely out and about.  I am referring to aphids.  Seems we are getting them early this year.  The weather we’ve been having is the type of weather they just love.  Aphids   I put on my gloves and go squishing them throughout the garden.  I have also sprayed with an insecticidal soap and have sprayed them with a good blast of water (not at the same time but on different days).  It is rare that I will use an insecticidal soap.  Squishing them and blasting them with the hose every couple of days is my preferred method of dealing with them. 

I also saw my first Ladybird Beetle (yes!) on one of my roses.  I hope she has a great feast and brings more of her friends!  Ladybird Beetles (aka Ladybugs) favorite food is aphids.  I try to encourage them in my garden by planting yarrow and other native plants that they love. 

Our current weather (rain and warmth) is also conducive to fungal diseases.  I have not spotted any (so far) on my roses.  However, if you do spot those diseases on your roses, you can spray with a dormant horticultural oil if the afternoon temps will be below 75F.  Anything higher than that and your run the risk of burning your plant.  Only spray if you happen to see fungal diseases.  Don’t spray as a preventative measure.  Horticultural oil will indiscriminately kill beneficial insects and you don’t want to do that.  Spray in the evening after the bees have gone back to their hives.  Don’t spray on a windy or rainy day.  Suit up and protect yourself when you spray, e.g., wearing goggles, gloves, a suit for protection, mask, etc.  Dispose of any empty bottles appropriately.  Clean all leaf debris from around your rose bush to eliminate fungal spores.   

I rarely spray for fungal diseases.  powdery mildew  rusts  downy mildew  black spot  We just are not prone to them like other parts of the country, and I am willing to have a little fungal damage on my roses in order to protect my beneficial insects, bees and other pollinators.  This year, I may try an experiment of using milk as a fungal spray.  While there is no scientific evidence that this works on roses, it has worked for other plants.  However, fungal diseases are not all the same.  For example, the strain of powdery mildew fungal disease that affects grapes is different than the strain of powdery mildew fungal disease that affects roses.  There are many different types of powdery mildew fungus. Here is a report from the University of Washington on using milk as a fungicide.  University of Washington, milk as a fungicide  If I try it, I will let you know my results. 

If you have botrytis, botrytis blight, remove the blooms and discard them.  See Rosie’s Corner April 2020.  Same if you see signs of thrips.  thrips

It is time to get ready for the Hoplia beetles Hoplia Beetles to invade your light-colored roses.  Get a bucket of soapy water and shake them off into the water.  Do this daily.  It is even better if you do this in the morning and again in the evening.  They are horrible pests that love to destroy your blooms.  Especially the light-colored flowers.  Sprays are not effective against them.  This is their mating season so the more you are able to eliminate them, it may help to reduce the population.  They are usually a pest for about six weeks or so.  Many people confuse Hoplia Beetles with Japanese Beetles.  While looking somewhat similar, we don’t tend to have Japanese Beetles in the west of the Rockies.    

Deadhead any spent blooms on your roses.  If you fed your roses in the middle of March, you can feed them again towards the end of April. 

Well, all I have written about are pests and diseases that can bother your roses.  It may seem like a chore or a pain but when I look at those beautiful blooms and smell that wonderful scent, it is glorious!   Enjoy your spring flush of gorgeous blooms.  They are so worth it! 

Here is a picture of the lovely rose Vineyard Song.  It was bred by Ralph Moore from Visalia.  He thought the buds on the plant looked like a "bunch of grapes."  Hence the name of the rose.

Vineyard song 3
  Until Next Month....

A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring. William Carlos Williams


What To Do In The Rose Garden In March

Welcome to March!  This is the time when your roses are starting to break out from dormancy.  It is a good time for garden maintenance before the big flower display in April. 

Take some time and check your irrigation system to make sure it is working correctly.  Make repairs if it is not.  My garden is strictly on drip.  Yes, I did go through every emitter to make sure it was an adequate size and working.  It is worth the time.  Especially during a drought.  I don’t want to waste water.

I like using drip as I don’t have water spraying on my rose leaves which can cause fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and rust.  Drip irrigation directs the water to the roots of the plant, not the leaves or canes.  I don’t want water running down the sidewalk, streets, driveways, etc.  We have not gotten a lot of rain this winter and water is much too precious to waste. 

If your watering system isn’t drip, run your sprinklers in the morning before the day warms up.  This will avoid moisture evaporating or collecting on leaves which can (during the warmer months) result in sun burn or (during the cooler months) make it favorable for fungal diseases to develop on your roses.  If you have sprinklers, avoid watering in the evening or at night.  This will prevent excessive ground moisture at night.  Soil that is too wet can lead to unhappy roots and/or fungal diseases.  Avoid watering when it is windy, so the water doesn’t evaporate into the air instead of watering your roses. 

If you are thinking you might want to use a fungicide to prevent fungal diseases from happening, I would encourage to wait and see if they actually develop.  Don’t spray your roses, just to spray your roses.  Only do it if you see fungal diseases or pests that can’t be managed by any other means. 

If you believe you must spray, no matter what, do so soon.  Don’t spray on a windy day.  Don’t spray during the late morning, afternoon or evening hours.  Don’t spray when bees are out (even organic sprays).  Don’t spray when it is over 70 F as it can burn your plants.  Don’t spray on a rainy day or if it is going to rain the next day.  Don’t spray if your pets (or your neighbor’s pets) are in the yard.  Don’t spray if your children/grandchildren/neighbors are in the yard.  I cannot stress enough that spraying is serious.  You must take precautions. 

If you choose to spray, you can use a lime sulfur spray or a horticultural oil mixed with a dormant spray for fungal diseases.  You need to wear an appropriate face mask (N95), gloves, closed toe shoes (no sandals or slippers), and disposable coveralls or a safety suit.  Yes, anytime you spray your roses for insects or diseases, it is serious business.  You can hurt yourself or others if you don’t.  That includes organic sprays as well, such as neem oil, BT, etc.   Just because something is labeled organic, doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you, your neighbors, pets, birds, bees, etc.  Shower, including washing your hair, after spraying.  Make sure you also wash your clothing. 

Those chemicals (yes, even organic ones) need to be stored appropriately.  Don’t mix chemicals because you think that it will be better for the plants.  Follow directions on the label.  Left over sprays and their containers need to be disposed of, appropriately.  If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. 

I practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  I rarely if ever, spray for anything, be it diseases or insects.  I will tolerate a fair amount of “damage” to my roses from diseases and insects.  I hand pick off the insects (yes, I still have a bit of an eeeuuuwwww response, but I get over it—use gloves!).    I can also spray bugs such as aphids and spider mites, with water (good strong blast) and that will remove them, without the chemicals.  Make sure you spray the underside of the leaves.  Repeated application of chemicals on insects can cause resistance to the product.  A strong water spray every couple of days works fine and you don’t hurt the plant nor the environment.    

I remove leaves that have powdery mildew, rust, etc., if I get it.  New ones will grow in.  Mostly, I don’t get fungal diseases.  That is because I try to choose disease resistant varieties for my yard (and we generally have low humidity).  I also practice shovel pruning.  If the rose is a disease-ridden mess, out it goes.  I grow roses for my own enjoyment and their beauty.  I don’t have time to baby them.  Some roses do better than others in our climate.  I want the ones that do well in my yard. 

I clean up debris from my roses and place it in the green bin.  It does not go in my compost pile.  I also keep a good 3—4 inches of organic mulch around my roses to stop weeds in their tracks and keep my roses roots cool in summer and warm in winter.  It also helps to keep my soil moist so I can water less.  The mulch will eventually break down and help improve the soil in my yard.  Yes, the soil in my yard left something to be desired when I first moved here.  After several years, it has greatly improved due to using compost and mulch (not rubber mulch!) that eventually breaks down and improves my soil. 

I attract the “good bugs” such as lady bird beetles, lacewings, etc., by planting pollinator plants in my garden.  Flowering native plants such as Yarrow (Achillea), California buckwheats (Eriogonum), Seaside daisy (Erigeron), Sticky monkey-flowers (Mimulus), Tidy tips (Layia platyglossa), etc., attract the “good bugs” that will eat the “bad bugs.”  Native plants are great choices, are beautiful and they are drought tolerant.  These plants also attract birds to my yard.  They too will eat the “bad bugs” and they are quite amusing to watch. 

If you have the space for new roses, there is still time to purchase them and get them into the ground or a large pot.  I like ordering roses on-line from several different sources.  I find a greater variety on-line and end up with terrific plants.  Also, the people who work at these nurseries tend to know the plants they sell and can make useful recommendations about what will or won’t work in my garden. 

If the new growth on your roses is about 2—3 inches long, you can start fertilizing.  I recommend a good organic rose fertilizer.  It will contain micro elements that will help to improve your soil and your plant.  Synthetic fertilizers do not.  In reality, as I have written before, your plant doesn’t care what you buy, organic or inorganic.  However, organic fertilizers won’t burn your plants, add salts to your soil, (synthetic fertilizers are made of various salts—not the kind of salt you eat).  Organic fertilizer will help to build your soil over time.  As your soil improves, you will be able to use less fertilizer but have the same result. 

Again, test your soil before you fertilize.  Don’t fertilize just to fertilize.  You are wasting your hard-earned money.  More is not better!    I have had great results with just compost and a good layer of organic mulch (again as opposed to rubber mulch). 

Next month…we should be seeing some beautiful spring blooms!  If you can, take some time to enjoy all of the new and beautiful spring growth in your yard. 

Until Next Time...

”Friends are the roses of life…pick them carefully and avoid the thorns!”  Unknown

What to Do in the Rose Garden for February 2022

What to Do in the Rose Garden for February

Seems like we had our “winter” in December and that is about it.  Unfortunately, there has been no rain for about a month.  Temps are getting warmer too.  Now is the time to prune your roses.  If you can, try to get them pruned by the middle of the month.  It looks like we won’t be having any freezing temps (at least in the valley) that would damage any new growth on the rose canes.  Just keep watching the weather, but long-range plans don’t look promising for rain (boooo!) or colder temperatures. 

I am starting to see new buds forming on the canes of my roses.  So, when I get a chance to go outside, I take it and prune another bush or two.  As you cut the canes and remove all the remaining leaves on the bush, dispose of them in the green bin.  Don’t compost them.  Your compost pile probably won’t be hot enough to kill any diseases. 

As I stated last month, prepare yourself to prune safely.  I wear glasses, gloves (not cloth or rubber ones), long sleeves and depending on the rose, welder sleeves or long rose gloves.  I make sure my bypass pruners are sharp, oiled, and ready to go.  Clean the pruner blades with alcohol wipes between roses so you don’t spread diseases.  For some roses with older canes, I use either a pruning knife or loppers to remove them if the canes are too thick for my pruners. 

When pruning, make sure the cane’s pith is white and not dark.  The pith is the center part of the cane.  It should look like the inside of an apple.  If it is dark, keep cutting the cane back until the pith is white.  You may have to cut the cane all the way back to the soil or graft.  That is OK.  Those dark centers indicate that the cane is in decline or diseased.  Removing it should spur new growth for your rose. 

You are going to prune your canes to an outward facing bud.  What is an outward facing bud?  Buds are formed in the “axil” where the leaf meets the cane.  If you look closely, you will see a little bump there, underneath the leaf.  Prune about ¼ inch above that bud.  Prune to an outside facing bud (not one facing the inside of the bush).  That bud will produce a flowering cane. 

For shrub roses, hybrid teas, etc., cut them back to conform to the space you want them to fill.  Clean out any dead material from the center of the plant.  Shorten canes by about 1/3 to ½ of their current size.  Remove all of the leaves from the canes.  You can leave anywhere from 5—7 (or so) canes on the bush.  You want the remaining canes to be about the size of a #2 pencil.  Cut out old and scarred canes.  Cut out spindly canes.  Cut out one or both canes that are crossing each other.  Those canes can rub against each other, and disease can then infect both canes.  The center of the plant should not be crowded with canes but open and airy.  Again, dispose of the leaves and debris in the green bin.     

You can also apply a dormant spray to the plant as well.  Make sure you suit up if using fungicides or pesticides.  Yes, even the organic ones!   They are still chemicals that can hurt you.  Follow the instructions on the label.  Do not mix chemicals.  Make sure they are stored properly. 

Climbers and rambling roses are pruned differently.  Start to prune those only after you have had them for a couple of years.  This allows them time to form nice arching canes.  These are called the main canes.  Keep about 4—6 of those nice arching main canes and prune any old, crossing, diseased canes from the bush.  Those arching canes will have lateral canes that come out from them.  Cut those lateral canes to about 3—5 axils (where the leaves come out).  Those lateral canes are the ones that will be producing the flowers in the spring. 

Climber and rambling rose canes should be tied to a structure such as an arbor as close to a 45-degree angle as you can get, without breaking the cane.  That angle will stimulate lateral growth and blooms.  Tie them loosely.  You don’t want the tie to girdle the cane.  Clean up around your rose.  Make sure you have removed all of the leaves and dispose of them properly. 

Rambling roses are climbing roses that bloom only once in the spring.  Prune them lightly after they have finished blooming in the spring/early summer.  If you prune them later, you will be pruning off next year’s flowers. 

When your roses start to put out new growth and that growth is about 2 inches long, it is time to fertilize.  I use a good organic rose fertilizer, or alfalfa meal and compost.  Sometimes our alkaline soil doesn’t allow the rose bush to utilize the iron in the soil.  This causes the rose leaves to look whitish instead of green.  That means that your rose needs extra iron.  There are lots of good iron plant supplements (not the kind you take!) in the marketplace.  You may need to feed that iron supplement to the rose, if the leaves are a light whitish green.  Check your soil with a good soil test to see if this is necessary.  Don’t add fertilizer and supplements just to add them.  More is NOT better for the rose, and it can be bad for the environment as well.  Just use what your rose needs. 

I also mulch around my roses.  Put a good 3-inch layer of mulch around the dripline of the rose and not next to the canes of the roses.  That will help to save water and keep your roses cooler in the summer.  You will also have to weed less!  A bonus point!  That mulch will eventually break down and enrich your soil.  Another bonus!  Assess the irrigation system to make sure it is in good working order.  In about 8—10 weeks you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms. 

Now is the time to plant new roses.  The only “new rose” I have ordered for this year, is an “old” or antique rose on its own root.  It was bred in 1921, making it 100 years old.  It is called Schon Ingeborg. I will share pictures with you as it matures.  Right now, it is just a baby twig. 

The American Rose Society just posted a video of new roses in production for this year.  If you want to take a look you can see it on YouTube.  ARS New Roses for 2022.

Until Next Time...

Forgiveness is the scent that the rose leaves on the heel that crushes it.” – Anonymous

What to Do in the Rose Garden for January 2022

Welcome to the New Year!

Rosie, can I finally start to prune my roses?  They are starting to look pretty bad. 

With the rain and the cold weather (Hasn’t it been wonderful?), we have been having, my roses are not looking their best either.  However, I am resisting the urge to prune them until later this month.  Why?  Because of the air and soil temperature.  If it warms up a bit, your roses will think it is spring and act accordingly by starting to put out some new growth.  Our last frost date is around Valentine’s Day for us here in the valley and even later if you live in the mountains.  If we get a cold snap (could happen!), it will freeze the young growth and you have to start pruning all over again. 

For now, you can clean up any rose leaves on the ground.  Take off any buds that may have any type of fungal disease.  That should be it for rose garden chores until the end of January or beginning of February.  Later, if you live in the mountains.  Sit by the fire or heater and take a look at new roses coming out in the various catalogs or online.  Order by the end of January, so you can get them (if not sold out already) and plant them in early February.    


Prune your hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, old garden roses and mini roses during late January/early February for a spectacular spring bloom typically in early April.  If you live in the mountains, prune them close to the last frost date for your area. 

Proper Equipment

It is important to have proper tools for pruning.  There are several tools that are vital in the quest for proper pruning.  The first one is high-quality pruning shears.  These should be a bypass type of pruning shear.  I cannot tell you how many of these I have purchased over the years.  Get a good one.  Gee, once I got a good one, I didn’t have to keep buying cheap ones!  It will save you a lot of heartache in the long run and the pruner will last.  It is worth the investment. 

Get a good quality lopper for cutting big canes.  Make sure they have the bypass cutting blades, same as your pruning shears.  These are ideal for pruning out larger canes and those that you can’t quite reach down towards the base of the rose. 

Use a sharpener for your shear and lopper blades.  Dull, dirty shears and loppers can damage the canes of your roses and cause disease and dieback.  Use a three-in-one oil after sharpening, to make sure the blades work smoothly.

Get a good pair of gloves.  I recommend leather or goat skin.  Cotton ones won’t cut it.  Rather, the canes from the roses will cut you if you wear those.  You don’t want thorns puncturing your skin.  Rose canes carry some nasty diseases.  You don’t want to get any of those or to have to get a tetanus shot from not wearing proper pruning gloves. 

You can get a pair of long gloves (rose pruning gloves) for protecting your arms.  I have a pair of long “rose” gloves and also a pair of welding sleeves that I use when pruning.  Choice is yours.  Sometimes I prefer using the welding sleeves with my short leather gloves.  Other times I prefer the long rose gloves.  Either will work well to protect your arms. 

I mentioned tetanus shots earlier in this article.  Make sure yours is up to date.  I know of rose growers who required serious surgery due to punctures by thorns.  I would rather have you safe than sorry. 

Pruning (for the end of January or beginning of February)

This is going to be a general guidance to pruning your roses.  I tend to prune my mini roses differently than my hybrid tea roses.  Same holds true for my old roses (those bred before the 1900’s) and my floribunda or English roses.  Climbers are pruned different from other roses.  I know this sounds so confusing.  However, roses are very forgiving plants.  Earlier editions of Rosie’s Corner had how to prune all of the different types of roses.  I will go over those again during the month of February. 

Most people are afraid to prune as they think they will kill their rose bush.  It takes a lot to kill a rose bush.  Pruning probably won’t do it.  All of my roses are on their own roots.  However, you may have grafted roses.  If you have a grafted rose, prune above the graft (that is that knobby thing that should be above the soil line in this climate).  Own root roses are not grafted onto a rootstock rose, so you don’t need to worry about cutting the graft when pruning.

First, pull off all the leaves from the bush.  Dispose of those in your green bin.  Do not use them in your compost heap as they may be diseased. 

Second, cut your bush between 2—3 feet in height (again this depends upon the type of rose you are pruning).  Remove any dead canes or small twiggy growth.  Remove any canes that are crossing in the middle and may be rubbing against each other. 

Third, after doing the above, take a look at your plant.  If it is planted near or against the house/fence, remove any canes that may be hitting your siding or fence.  If you want a nice, rounded bush, prune the canes accordingly so the plant has a nice round shape to it. 

Prune to a bud eye.  Usually, the recommendation is to cut ¼ inch above an outward facing bud eye.  Your choice depending upon where you want that cane to grow.  New growth will grow from that bud eye. 

You may end up with only six canes or so, when all is said and done.  That is OK.  You want to have a nice and open center for your plant so air will move through it.  That will help to reduce fungal diseases. 

Fourth, clean your pruning shears and lopper blades with an alcohol wipe between each rose bush.  Don’t use a wipe that contains bleach as that can ruin the blades on your shears and loppers.  The alcohol wipe will help to control diseases between each of your rose bushes. 

Fifth, make sure the area around your newly pruned rose bush is clean.  Take away any fallen leaves, twigs, debris, canes, etc.  I dispose of them in my green bin as they may have diseases on them and I don’t want those in my compost pile. 

If you grow roses in pots (I do too!), check to see if the soil in the pot has shrunken down to three or more inches below the rim of the pot.  If so, it is probably time to repot your plant.  You don’t want compacted potting soil.  Pull out the plant and use new, fresh good quality potting soil for your rose. 


Resist!  Resistance is not futile!  You won’t need to fertilize until about the middle of February, when the new leaves start to come out.  


Continue to water your roses once a week (if necessary).  If it is raining, let Mother Nature water for you!  If you do water, make sure it is to a depth of 18—24 inches.  Roses in pots generally need to be watered more frequently than roses in the ground. 

Planting New Roses

Now is the time to plant any new roses you have purchased.  If you decided to add to your rose garden, get #1 rated quality roses.  It will increase your chance of success. 

Roses come “bare root,” potted or packaged.  Bare root roses are packed in wood chips to keep the roots from drying out (they are sometimes referred to, in the rose grower’s world, as “body bags”).  If you purchase one of these, take off the packaging, remove the wood chips and soak the roots in water for at least 24 hours before planting.  Bare root roses are the slowest to grow as their roots have been drastically pruned to fit in the plastic sleeves. 

Potted roses usually will make a nice transition to your garden.  These tend to be more expensive and there may not be as many varieties in the nursery, compared to a bare root roses. 

I find the greatest variety of roses comes from on-line retailers and breeders.  They have the greatest selection of own-root roses (which I prefer) and I get to know from the breeder what to expect for growth, disease resistance, etc. 

Until Next Time...

“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.” ? Matshona Dhliwayo

Welcome to Rosie's Corner for December 2021

How to Care for Your Roses in the Month of December 

Depending on where you live in Fresno County, the weather has been fairly warm.  The metro area of the county has not had its first frost yet, even though our first frost date for the metro area of Fresno is November 15th.  Your roses should be actively growing and blooming right now.  However, cooler nights and days will soon have your roses heading into dormancy. 

Dormancy is good for roses.  Roses go through a natural hormonal change (dormancy) to get them ready for the big spring flush.  Cooler temperatures (which includes cooler soil temperatures) slow the plant’s metabolism.  You can assist in promoting dormancy by not deadheading or pruning this month. 

The one exception to that is if your flowers have a fungal disease, botrytis.  Botrytis is a fungal disease (sometimes called gray mold).  It looks like a fuzzy white to gray growth on your plant and particularly on its buds/blooms.  Cut off those blooms so that it doesn’t spread in your garden or to your other roses. Also, check your roses to see if there are any other signs of fungal diseases such as rust.  Treat accordingly.   

If your rose has made “hips” let them ripen on your rose bush.  You (depending on if you sprayed your roses or not) can use those hips for tea when they mature.  Those hips will also help to signal to your rose plant that it is time to stop making flowers and rest before spring. 

This is not the time to fertilize.  Wait to fertilize until spring, after you have pruned.  Pruning will take place in January/February.  You can also wait to fertilize after your plants have put on a couple of inches of growth in the spring.  Again, I know I am repeating myself, but get your soil tested to see if you even need to add fertilizer.  Don’t fertilize for fertilizer’s sake.  Fertilize when and if your plants need it.  Only add the type of fertilizer your plant needs.  The way to find that out is to have your soil tested. 

I used to prune the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I don’t do that any longer.  I wait until four to six weeks after our first hard frost.  What is a hard frost?  That is when the temperatures are at or below 28 degrees F.  Some years we have a hard frost and other years we don’t.  If we don’t, then I prune at the end of January to the middle of February.  If you prune now, because the temperatures are still warm, new growth will emerge on your plants.  If we get a hard frost or freeze, it will kill that new growth.  It is better to wait at least four to six weeks to prune after our first hard frost or until after the first of February. 

Since you won’t be pruning your roses, there is time to take a look at new roses coming out in commerce for the spring.  The American Rose Center 2021 International Rose Trials just announced their winning roses.  The top winning rose receiving the gold medal, is a rose called “Sweet Spirit.”  The breeder of the rose is Alain Meilland of the House of Meilland, France.  It will be introduced by Star Roses.  (Did you know that Star roses grows their roses in the central valley?) This rose also won awards for fragrance, disease resistance and best garden impression rose. Here is a hyperlink to an article about these amazing roses that took the international awards.  It has pictures of the roses as well.   International Rose Trial Winners!

Until Next Time...

Until Next Time…. "Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things sometimes must fade, before they can bloom again". Unknown.

Welcome to Rosie's Corner November 2021

What to Do in the Rose Garden This Month

Hopefully, towards the middle to end of October, you completed a light pruning of your roses.  You pruned out any dead, crossing canes and perhaps thinned out a bit of the middle of the plant (if necessary).  This thinning will help to keep away any fungal diseases that may start to happen.  Be on the lookout for black spot.  Blackspot  The thinning/slight pruning and fertilizing you did last month, will help to encourage a new blooming cycle.  Enjoy your blooms indoors as well as outdoors. 

Check to see the acidity of your soil.  Roses love slightly acidic soil between 6.0 and 6.5 for best growth and bloom.  As always, get your soil tested so you know what you have in your garden and if it needs any fertilizer or amendments.  Treat as necessary. 

I would not recommend fertilizing after the middle of October to the beginning of November.  If you choose or need to fertilize, pick a fertilizer lower in nitrogen during this time of the year.  Ack, Rosie!  What are those initials and numbers on the fertilizer bag or box?  What is N, P, K?  Nitrogen is the “N” number.  You want a fertilizer that is higher in Phosphate (P) and Potassium (K).  (See prior monthly articles on fertilizing roses). 

The easiest way for me to remember what each of those fertilizer ingredients provide for plants is to tell myself, “Up, Down and All Around.”  Nitrogen (N) is the first number (“up”—leaves, canes, flowers, etc.).  Phosphate (P) is the “down” (roots) and Potassium (K) is the “all around.”  As your roses start to go into the dormancy of the winter cycle, you don’t want to encourage any foliage growth; (the Up or the “N”).  Phosphate builds up the root structure and resistance to stresses in the environment (the Down or ‘P”).  This is important to help reduce the stress of the cold during winter.  The Potassium, (“K” or All Around), helps the Phosphate and aids in bloom quality. 

Roses still need to be watered this time of year but will probably be requiring less water.  So, especially during this time of drought, don’t over water!  I have already cut back at least 50% of water to my roses in the ground, and they are doing fine.  Remember to turn off your irrigation system when it rains! 

You will not need to prune your roses until the middle to end of January, so enjoy your blooms over the holidays.  Taking time to stop and smell the roses is important during the stress of the holiday season. 

Also, it is the time of year to check out roses that will be new on the market.  Over the weekend, I attended the American Rose Society’s regional chapter’s annual convention.  It was great and was done virtually!  There are some new and exciting roses in store for us!  Several breeders/hybridizers presented.  The new roses coming out have nice big blooms, great disease resistance, beautiful colors, and fragrance!  Some of the new roses won’t be available until 2023-24, but several will be on the market in 2022-23.  Check out catalogs for rose companies on-line to see the latest.  New catalogs should be out end of this month, if not before. 

Until Next Month...

“Roses shouldn't waste their thorns on each other.”
Heather Herrman

Welcome to Rosie’s Corner October 2021

What To Do In The Rose Garden This Month

How are all of you holding up with the heat and the smoke from the fires?  It has been a very rough summer and your roses are probably showing it.  Once the weather is consistently below 90 F, you can start to fertilize your roses again.  Make sure your roses are thoroughly watered the day before applying any fertilizer.  Especially if you use a non-organic fertilizer as it will burn the plant.  After applying the fertilizer, water again. 

You can alternate your fertilizer with fish emulsion if you wish.  Use a fertilizer that has a greater percentage of (P) phosphate in relation to (N) nitrogen and (K) potassium.  This will help to create stronger root systems and resistance to stress.  Get your soil tested (if you haven’t already) to find out if you need any additional minerals to make the ingredients in your fertilizer available to the root systems of your plant.   If your soil test shows your soil is adequate, no need to fertilize. 

If you grow roses in pots (like me!) use half the recommended dose of fertilizer but apply it every two weeks.  You can alternate between liquid fertilizer and dry fertilizer until 30 days before the “first frost date.”  Normally, for Fresno, that is (usually) right around December 1st.  In our mountain areas of the county, that is (usually) about the middle of November. 

You can go ahead and lightly prune your roses once the temps are consistently below 90 F.  This is not the “big prune” that you will do in a couple of months.  Deadhead any spent blooms down to about the 3rd leaflet below the bloom.  A leaflet is where those five or seven leaves come away from the cane.  If you can, prune to an outfacing bud.  Cut about ¼ inch above the bud.  Make sure you wipe your pruners with a alcohol wipe.  That will help to stop the spread of diseases such as canker.  You can take off any dead leaves but again, be careful to not expose the canes to too much sun.  The sun can still burn your plants this time of year. 

Keep inspecting your irrigation system to make sure it is functioning properly.  Your plants in pots will need to be watered more frequently than the ones in the ground.  Make sure you have mulched your roses to help them retain moisture.  Four inches of mulch is recommended around the drip line of the plant. 

Check your roses for spider mites and thrips.  They love the type of weather conditions we are having.  A good blast from the hose (especially under the leaves) will help to get rid of them.  I am still getting damage from grasshoppers on my roses.  They love to chew on certain varieties that I grow.  If you can get over the ick factor, hand pick them off the rose bush when you see them.  Again, if you can get over the ick factor, you can cut them in half with your clippers.  I have also found several large praying mantises in my garden (yes!).  I don’t spray with commercial insecticides nor fungicides and usually have a pretty good balance of beneficial bugs.    

New Roses

Now is the time to start to think if you want to add any new roses into your garden.  Soon the catalogs and mail order nurseries will have the new varieties for 2022.  If you decide to add, order early! 

Take a look at which roses are just not doing well in your garden or ones that you may not like.  Sometime roses are prettier in the catalog than in the real-life growing conditions of your garden.  I generally give a rose three years to perform well in my garden.  If it doesn’t, then out it goes.  Yes, this is difficult.  You can give the rose away to someone who will love it or put it in the compost heap.  A rose should make you happy and thankful that you have it in your garden.  If not, there are literally 18,000 other roses out there that you might enjoy.  Don’t be afraid to check them out at your local nursery, a rose catalog, on-line rose nursery, etc.  You can always look up a rose on Help Me Find, Help Me Find Roses to see the reviews, pictures and how it might do in your yard.  You can use the search engine on Help Me Find to look up antique roses, climbers, purple roses, etc. 

I tend to like more of the antique roses than the newer varieties.  I also like the single blossom roses (5—7 petals) to semi-double roses as they attract the pollinators to my yard.  Just be aware that no plant is maintenance free.  For those roses that have carefree or easy in their names, it does not mean you can neglect them, and they will do fine and look great.  All plants need some love and attention (aka water, compost, right growing conditions, pruning, etc.,) to look and perform at their best.

Until Next Time…As delicate as flower, as tender as rose petals, choosing to be tender and kind in a harsh environment is not weakness, it's courage.”  Luffina Lourduraj

What to do in the Rose Garden for September

Checking the weather, it is still going to be hot for the next two weeks or so.  Continue to do what was recommended for the months of July and August.  It is not time to prune your roses as pruning them will expose the canes to the sun and can possibly cause sunburn and death to the cane.  I wouldn’t feed your roses either until the very last few days of the month (again, depending on if the weather starts to consistently be cooler).  Each year it keeps getting hotter for longer periods of time.  So that mid-season prune keeps getting pushed back further. 

Sometime around the last week of September to the first couple of weeks in October (again, depends on the weather and how hot it still is), I will lightly prune my roses.  That means you prune the cane at the point where the stems of the flowers/bloom emerged.  If you can, prune back to just above the outward facing bud at the base of the first five leaflets (or seven leaflets in some roses). 

Make sure your roses are hydrated (especially those in pots).  Continue to check for “the spidey” (as I call them), spider mites.  They LOVE this type of weather.  Look for any webbing, especially under the leaves.  That is where they love to hide.  Wash off your leaves (if spider mites are there) with a strong blast from a water wand, to remove them.  Keep doing this every couple of days.  Check early in the morning and only blast them with water during the very early morning hours so the leaves have time to dry during the day.  You don’t want to invite fungal diseases into your garden. 

Speaking of fungal diseases, let’s talk about Canker

What is Canker?  Canker is a fungal disease that can affect roses.  It is a localized dead area on the rose cane.  It usually looks like a circular or oblong lesion that may be discolored (brown or black) and has a well-defined margin separating it from the healthy tissue on the cane.  Common causes are mechanical injuries (pruning with unsanitary pruners), sunburn and sunscald.    

So, how do your “cure” this disease?  Prune away the dead and dying canes when you first notice them. Make your pruning cuts in the healthy part of the cane below the canker.  The best approach is to use good sanitation on your pruners to avoid spreading it to other plants.  Wipe off the blades of your pruners as you go from cut to cut with an alcohol wipe.  Do not use one with bleach as the bleach can affect the metal of your pruners (and you don’t want that!).   Yes, I carry wipes around the garden with me.  Yes, it slows down your pruning, but you won’t have dead canes or plants from canker if you do this.  Oh, and canker affects other types of trees/plants than just your roses….

Here is a link to an article about rose canker by the American Rose Society, with great pictures of how it can look on your plant.  Rose Canker

Until Next Time...

Until Next Time…Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.”  Matshona Dhliwayo. 


August 2021

What to Do in the Rose Garden for August

Well, our roses continue to suffer in this heat, just like the rest of us.  Advice for this month is pretty much the same as last month.  Remove the petals of spent roses and allow them to form hips.  Don’t feed your roses yet, it is still too hot.  They are working on staying alive right now.

Make sure your plants are getting enough water.  If they are showing signs of sunburn, you can try covering them with a structure such as a shade cloth or umbrella.  If they are in pots, move them so they get morning sun only.  

Watch out for spider mites (see prior Rosie’s Corner) and wash them off with a good spray of your hose.  You can look out for any thrip damage that may be happening as well.  thrips 

Rose of the Month

Alice Hamilton

I just love this rose!  This is considered to be an old China rose that was bred in 1903.  It was bred by Gilbert Nabonnand just before he died.  What is a China rose (rosa chinensis)?  China roses are members of the genus Rosa native to Southwest China in Guizhou, Hubei and Sichauan Provinces.  They were widely cultivated during the Han Dynasty (141-87 BC).  They were imported to Europe during the 18th century and used for breeding new roses.

Alice Hamilton

So, what is the importance of breeding existing European roses with the China roses?  Up until this time, pretty much all (but one exception) of European roses were once bloomers.  China roses boomed continuously.  China roses also have a genetic make-up that has the pure scarlet red in them.  European roses did not.  Also, China roses tended to be much smaller in size then European roses, making them easier to fit into smaller gardens and yards. 

The Alice Hamilton rose gets to be about four feet in height with large, pointy buds and blousy flowers.  This girl can take the summer heat here and just keeps on blooming.  She has a nice scent as well.  I have not noticed any fungal diseases with her either.  Overall, a very nice rose. 

Alice Hamilton 2

So, who was the rose, Alice named after?  Alice Hamilton was born in 1869 and lived to be 101 years old.  She was an American physician, researcher, author and best known as a leading expert in industrial toxicology and occupational health.  Her research focused on industrial toxins and in particular lead poisoning.  She was the first researcher to determine that the disease, scarlet fever, was spread by droplets from the nose and mouth of those infected and the use of face masks stopped the spread.  It was through this pioneering research that MD’s now wear masks during surgeries to stop the spread of germs and viruses.  She became the first woman to be appointed to the faculty at Harvard University in 1919.  However, she would never receive a promotion or tenure at Harvard between 1919 and 1935, when she retired.    She then went on to work at the US Division of Labor Standards and serve as President of the National Consumer’s League.  She published books and articles on toxins in industrial waste. 

Until Next Time...

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

Rosie's Corner July 2021

What To Do In The Rose Garden This Month

As the song says, “The heat is on…”  Check your watering system to make sure your roses are getting adequate water.  Adjust the flow for the summer watering schedule.  Roses love to be washed down and this will help prevent spider mites.  Make sure you spray under the leaves where the little buggers love to hang out.  Do this early in the morning so the leaves have time to dry off to avoid fungal diseases.

As was discussed last month, just lightly deadhead blooms or allow your roses to form hips during the summer.  If you lightly deadhead, make sure you clean up the leaves and spent blooms.  Don’t use the rose clippings as mulch because they can harbor diseases.  After Labor Day is when you will start to prepare your roses for their fall bloom, so wait for serious deadheading until then. 

Make sure you have a good layer of mulch (minimum of 3 inches) around the dripline of your roses.  It will help to keep them cooler in the summer, help to maintain moisture and deter weeds. 

To avoid stressing your roses, reduce or discontinue fertilizing until at least the temps are cooler around mid to late September.  If you choose to feed, use a lower Nitrogen fertilizer (that’s first letter on the fertilizer package) and dilute it. 

What Is Eating My Roses This Month?

Look out for caterpillars (those imported cabbage loopers love my roses), rose sawflies, katydids and grasshoppers.  Katydids just love to eat the tops of my new growth of my antique roses.  They are hard to see and catch.

katydid damage 1

Katydid damage on rose bush

Rose of the Month

Occhi di Fata

occhi di fata rose

Occhi di Fata (Eye of Fate or Eye of the Fairy) is a rose from Italy.  The breeder is Enrico Barni who is part of a large rose breeding family in Italy.  This family has bred beautiful award-winning roses since 1882.  Occhi di Fata is a difficult rose to find in the United States.  That is a shame as it is a great rose!  It is a beautiful single rose whose petals start out white and as they age, they turn to a deep ruby pink.  It gets to be about 2—3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide.  It is very disease resistant.  It can also take the heat here in the central valley.  The flowers are in clusters and have little to no scent. 

Until Next Time…..”We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”—Dale Carnegie

What to do in the Rose Garden in June

Ah, it is sweet summertime again.  All of us will be feeling the stress from the heat outdoors including our roses.  I tend to follow the train of thought of Master and Consulting Rosarians who are located in hot areas of the county regarding how to treat your roses during the months of June, July and August.  See Rose of the Month which describes a Consulting and Master Rosarian.  This advice is a bit different than the advice for caring for roses, where it is not as hot, there are no drought restrictions and where the temperatures cool off at night. 

Your roses will be reacting to the heat.  If your roses are in pots, try to make sure they have morning sun and afternoon shade.  Water them on the days that you can water according to the city regulations.  Watering roses early in the morning and early evening is best.  It helps to reduce evaporation of the water into the atmosphere.  You want your plant watered and not the air.  If you are on a drip system, make sure your emitters are not clogged.    

I will feed my roses this month, but I only use fertilizer at half-strength or half the recommended dose.  Water before and after you feed your plants.

During this time, I just remove the petals from the flowers as they fade.  This is different than what most rosarians will tell you.  They will deadhead their blooms down to the next outside five or seven leaflet.  They don’t want their plants to grow hips and go dormant.  Those rosarians usually don’t live where it is as hot as the surface of the sun during summer, there is no rain, and it only cools off into the 70’s at night.  Most of the American Rose Society organizations located in hot, desert areas of the country recommend allowing your plants to go dormant for the next few months until the weather cools down.  It reduces the stress on your plants.    

I let the plant form hips which will help the plant to become dormant during the hottest parts of the summer.  This will reduce growth and bloom, and therefore, the demand for more water (important during our current drought).  Roses don’t bloom much during the heat of summer as they are just trying to survive.  I want as many leaves, (including the sunburned ones) left on the plant.  It helps to shade the canes and prevent sunburn on the canes.  I will deadhead them once the weather cools in middle to late September for a nice fall/early winter bloom. 

Make sure you have at least 4 inches of good organic mulch or compost (don’t use rubber or rocks), around the dripline of your roses to help them retain moisture.  It will also keep weeds from growing. 

Watch your roses for spider mites and other critters.  Spider mites love roses and love this hot weather.  Check the underside of the leaves for tiny webs and something that looks like small salt and pepper particles under the leaves.  I have had horrible spider mites this year and they nearly killed one of my roses.  (See Rosie’s Corner for May 2021 regarding spider mites). 

Rose of the Month June 2021

Violet’s Hour

Violet Hour 5-21 (2)

Violet’s Hour is a pretty, single, miniature rose.  A single rose refers to the number of petals it produces when it flowers.  Violet has five and is therefore considered to be a single.  She was bred by American Rose Society Master Gardener, Gail Trimble from Marin County, California. 

What is a Master Rosarian?  It means that Gail is an active member of the American Rose Society and her local chapter.  She has freely given her time to answer questions and provide service to her area and district regarding growing and exhibiting roses.  She took a national test to become a Consulting Rosarian and kept that designation current, according to the American Rose Society guidelines and regulations, e.g., provide service, take additional courses, exhibit roses, etc.  It is only after being a Consulting Rosarian for at least 10 years, has providing excellent community service, that one can get nominated to become a Master Rosarian. 

Gail is an outstanding Master Rosarian and this rose is just beautiful as she is.  Gail is one of the nicest people I know.  I consider myself very fortunate to have this rose, hand-delivered to me by Gail (I have been lusting after this rose for over three years!).  The petals practically glow pink and fade to a lavender/violet color.  Violet Hour is a very, healthy rose.  It is considered a miniature.  It will get to be about 18 inches tall.  It is a compact rose and good for ground covers, beds, borders and pots. 

Until Next Time...

My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns….Bret Michaels

May 2021

What to do in the Garden in May


Have you been enjoying your beautiful blooms?  If those beautiful blooms are spent, it is time to start deadheading, so your next flush of blooms can flourish.  It takes an average of 49 days for most roses to rebloom.  Roses with many petals, may take up to 60 days for rebloom.   

Lightly prune back your spent rose blooms to the first outward facing five-leaflet leaf.  Don’t shorten the canes too much.  Try to shape your rose bush to outward facing buds.  See Rosie’s Corner on pruning for more information.  Make sure you put all your vegetation into your green waste bins. 

Compost and Mulch

If you have not already put down compost and mulch, you still can do this.  Maintain a good 3-inch layer of compost and mulch around your roses.  These will help moderate soil temperature during our extremely hot summers, control weeds and help to keep the soil moist.  The compost will break down during the summer and enrich your soil which will help your roses to survive.    


Water roses before you fertilize so they are hydrated, prior to and after applying, either a liquid or dry fertilizer.  Use fertilizer at ¼ to ½ the recommended rate.  You can resume the normal or recommended rates when the temperatures cool down in late September/October for your fall bloom.  Don’t over fertilize.  It doesn’t help the plant.  More is not necessarily better. 


Make sure your roses are getting adequate water.  Don’t waste water by over watering.  Your roses will not appreciate it.  If you use sprinklers make sure that you are not watering the sidewalks and driveways. 

Insects and Diseases

If you had powdery mildew in the early spring, it should start disappearing as we get to hotter temperatures.  I rarely get powdery mildew, yet this spring, my roses were powdery mildew magnets.  It has been an unusual year. 

A couple of my roses have had very bad spider mite infestations (I have pictures below).  Spider Mites  Spider mites can eventually kill your roses if you don’t get them under control.  Insecticides won’t work for this.  Best thing to use is a strong spray of water to wash them off the tops and undersides of your leaves every couple of days. 

Now is the time that you will be seeing any thrip damage on your rose buds/flowers.  Thrips

Also check for whiteflies on the underside of the leaves of your roses as well as aphids.   White Flies and  Aphids.   

The biggest problem in the garden right now is the dreaded Hoplia Beetle.   Hoplia Beetle  I have been out in my garden at least once a day, squishing those horrible things (I wear gloves for this).  Ugh!  Spraying for them will not help. 

Take Care of Yourself!

Remember to wear sun protection while gardening including a broad brimmed hat.  Gloves are helpful when working with roses and squishing Hoplia beetles.  Stay hydrated.  Drink water before, during and after working in the yard.  Work in the early morning if possible and not during the heat of the day or when the sun is directly overhead.  Wear clothing that will protect your arms and legs.  Mosquitoes love me this time of year so protecting my arms and legs is important.  Wear closed in shoes.  Sandals do not protect your toesies from dropped pruners and thorny canes!  Make sure you your tetanus shot is current.  There are some nasty things in the soil that can make you quite ill.  Most of all, enjoy your beautiful roses!

May 2021 Garden Update

Garden Update

If you will recall in a previous Rosie’s Corner, I showed you pictures of roses that I had purchased that were “bands.”  These roses were on their “own root” and not grafted onto root stock.  They looked tiny and frail at the time.  Here they are today! 

Daddy Frank

daddy frank 1

Daddy Frank is a miniature rose that will eventually get to be about three feet wide and tall.  He is a handsome fellow! 

I also showed you a Burling Leon rose called Connie’s Sandstorm.  It is considered to be a tan and mauve floribunda rose.  It will eventually get to be about 3—4 feet in height and width.  Here is her first bloom.  I love the unusual color.  You can see just a touch of powdery mildew to the right of the flower.  It has been a bad year for powdery mildew in my garden due to the spring weather we had. 

Connie's Sandstorm

Connie's Sandstorm rose

The last thing I want to show you (yes, I show you the good, bad and ugly), are the spider mites that have attacked my Dave Bang roses.  The breeder, Dave Bang who is up in the bay area of California, has bred some very unusual roses.  He breeds for health and beauty.  This is the rose, Mango Blush.  Here are some of the first beautiful flowers on it. 

Mango Blush

Mango Blush

Beautiful new growth as the new leaves turn from burgundy to green.  Gorgeous flowers.  Here is the rose a couple of weeks later.

Spider Mites on Mango Blush

spider mites on Mango Blush

Yes, I have had a major infestation of spider mites due to the very warm weather we are having.  If you see those little buggers, wash them off immediately with a strong spray of water with your hose.  Make sure you get the back side of the leaves. 

Until Next Time...

Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.  Richard B. Sheridan

April 2021

Rosie’s Corner for April 2021

What To Do In The Rose Garden For April

Watch out for fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, downy mildew, black spot and rust.  powdery mildew  rusts  downy mildew  black spot  You can spray with a dormant horticultural oil if the high temperature for the day is going to be below 75 F.  If the temperature is hotter, the oil can burn your plants.  Spray after all pollinators have gone to bed.  The dormant oil can harm them. 

Use proper protection if you are going to spray and follow directions on the bottle.  Dispose of any empty bottles appropriately.  Clean all leaf debris from around your rose bush to eliminate fungal spores. 

If you have botrytis, remove the blooms and discard them.  See Rosie’s Corner April 2020.  Same if you see signs of thrips.  thrips

It is time to get ready for the Hoplia beetles to invade your light-colored roses.  See Rosie’s Corner May 2020.  Get a bucket of soapy water and shake them off into the water.  Do this daily.  It is even better if you do this in the morning and again in the evening.  They are horrible pests that love to destroy your blooms.  Sprays are not effective against them.  This is their mating season so the more you are able to eliminate them, will hopefully help to reduce the population. 

Check to see if you have aphids.  aphids  You can squish them to help eliminate them and/or blast them with the hose, but other beneficial bugs love them as a tasty meal.  Lady Bird Beetles, Lacewings, Praying Mantis, etc., love to eat those little buggers. 

Deadhead any spent blooms on your roses.  If you fed your roses in the middle of March, you can feed them again towards the end of April. 

The most important thing is to enjoy your beautiful blooms throughout the month!    

The Never Forget Rose

Never Forget Rose Created for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial

never forget rose

Photo by Ellen Hamptom, Historynet.com

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier.  The Historian of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier contacted the American Rose Society to ask if it is possible to identify the white roses used in the selection of the American Unknown Soldier in France in 1921. 

On October 22, 1921, four unknown servicemen were exhumed from four World War I American battlefield cemeteries in France and taken the following day to the city hall in Châlons-en-Champagne, France where they were draped with American flags. U.S. Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger had been selected as one of the pallbearers.  He was handed a bouquet of white roses.  His order was to take the bouquet of roses and place them on one of the four caskets.  The one he would select would be the one who would be known as the Unknown Soldier. 

Sergeant Younger knelt in prayer and then stood and circled the caskets three times.  He touched each casket and saluted them.  He then placed the bouquet on the second casket to his right.  The bouquet of white roses stayed on the casket throughout the journey back to the United Stated for burial at Arlington National Cemetery, along with some soil taken from France. 

When asked about his selection of the casket, Sergeant Younger said: “It was as though something had pulled me. Something seemed to stop me each time I passed and it grew irresistible; I could not have turned back now, had I tried…. A voice seemed to say, ‘This is a pal of yours….’ Something seemed to say, ‘Pick this one.’”

The body of the Unknown soldier arrived in Washington, D.C., on November 9, 1921.  He lay in state in the US Capitol Rotunda.  About 90,000 visitors paid their respects during the public visiting period on November 10, 1921. 

On November 11, 1921, the Unknown soldier was placed on a horse-drawn caisson and carried in procession through Washington, D.C. and was interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  Nationwide, Americans observed two minutes of silence at the beginning of the ceremony.  Then President Warren G. Harding officiated at the ceremony and placed the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, on the casket.  Numerous foreign dignitaries presented their nations’ highest awards as well. 

The President of the American Rose Society, Bob Martin (who is a history buff) researched what rose could have possibly been the white roses in the bouquet originally placed on the coffin.  After extensive research, it appears likely that the rose was a rose that is still available today, called Niphetos (pronounced Neef toes).  That rose had been developed by a rose breeder, Joseph Pernet-Ducher, who had also lost two sons during the war. 

The great-great nephew of Joseph Pernet-Ducher, Fabian Ducher (6th generation rose breeder) has developed the Never Forget rose, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  It is named, Never Forget, as that is part of the motto of the Society of the Honor Guard, “Soldiers never die until they are forgotten.  Tomb Guards never forget.”  Fabian Ducher has tested this rose in Arizona, Texas and New York for a few years.  He states it is an excellent rose; very disease resistant and constantly blooms for almost 10 months out of the year.  Ducher stated, “It is kind of the history of my family with the United States.  This is a gift from the Rosaraie Ducher to the American people.” 

The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has proposed a way to observe the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  “Never Forget Gardens” can be planted to make sure the millions of the United States’ war dead are honored and remembered.  The Society is working with the American Rose Society to encourage “Never Forget” gardens across the United States.  Marilyn Wellan, Director of the American Rose Center is designing one within the National Rose Society’s gardens in Shreveport, La.  The Never Forget rose will be planted once it becomes available later this year.  Wellan said, “Having a rose named Never Forget will be a reminder to help perpetuate the message that we must never forget: That we are united with and honor all those served and sacrificed on behalf of America in time of war and armed conflict.  We recognize the power of roses to speak of patriotism, give comfort, symbolize love, pride, courage, unity and valor and most of all, remembrance.” 

The Society of the Honor Guard has several suggestions for creating your own Never Forget Garden.  Flowers/plants for a Never Forget Garden.  The American Rose Society recommends the following roses for a Never Forget Garden.  Roses for a Never Forget Garden.  The official Never Forget Garden marker is available through the Society of the Honor Guard.  Garden Marker

Starting in March of this year, there will be in person and virtual ceremonies commemorating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The final ceremony will take place on the eleventh month, the eleventh day at the eleventh hour of 2021 (November 21, 2021) at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Until Next MonthIf someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars.  He tells himself, “My flower’s up there somewhere…”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  This is for my Dad, a WWII vet and my Grandfather a WWI vet and a Prisoner of War. 

3/15/21 What to Do in the Rose Garden This Month

Weather wise, we have had a mixed bag this spring.  Some very warm and sunny days to rain and cool (if downright not cold) temperatures.  As a result of the warmer and sunnier days, my roses leafed out earlier this year. 

If you haven’t fertilized your roses yet, please do so.  I generally try to fertilize my roses between February 15th to the first of March.  Some people will wait until they have new growth on their roses about two to three inches long.  I use a good organic rose fertilizer.  If you read my prior article on fertilizers, your plants don’t care if your fertilizer is organic or not.  However, I prefer to “feed my soil” and use organic.  Over time, their use will help to build a healthier soil that is rich in reserve energy.  You then will be able to use less of the product with the same results. 

Fertilizers higher in phosphate (P) and potassium (K) will foster greater root development.  This will help to keep plants more resistant to diseases and healthier.  You can use a fertilizer rated as 8-10-8 with micro-nutrients.  Again, I highly recommend testing your soil to see what, if any, nutrients it is lacking.  You don’t want to over-fertilize or apply nutrients that your roses don’t need.  It is a waste of money to do so.    

I also test the pH of my soil.  I have very alkaline soil and roses prefer a soil that is more acidic (6.5 on the scale).  Now is the time to add any amendments necessary to lower the pH of your soil if this is a problem. 

If your roses have had fungal disease, now would be the time to use a dormant oil spray.  You MUST take precautions when spraying your plants.  Please wear appropriate protective gear, including clothing, eye goggles, respirator, gloves, shoes (not open toed sandals), etc.  Also, only spray when pollinators are not out and when it is not windy.  If using a dormant oil spray, make sure you read the directions prior to use, take all the precautions listed on the label and only use it when the temperature is 75 degrees F or below.  Do not use it prior to a rainstorm as the rain will wash it off. 

Did I scare you?  You don’t have to spray if you are willing to allow a certain number of pests or diseases in your garden.  I don’t spray (for the most part) in my garden.  When I do spray using any organic chemical sprays, I do suit up and take all the precautions.  I also choose to “shovel prune” any rose that doesn’t perform well in my yard.  Yes, there are very good roses that are resistant to diseases.  I also keep my yard clean of rose leaf litter as that can harbor diseases.  I find that most pests in my yard can be controlled by my squishing them, (yes, I got over the eeewww factor long ago), dropping them into a pail of soapy water, etc.  Also, I look for the beneficial insects as they are not far behind when I see pests in my yard.  That is one of the main reasons I don’t spray as I want those beneficial insects to feed on the predators. 

This is the time to make sure your irrigation system is in good working order.  Does your drip system have any leaks?  Is there adequate emitter coverage around the base/dripline of your rose?  If you use sprinklers, make sure they are not spraying the leaves as this can cause fungal diseases.  Are your timers adjusted (if you have them) and are you watering according to the city/county watering schedules?  This is the time to check on this and make sure everything is ready for the rest of the year.    

I also put down at least two to four inches of organic mulch over my entire garden.  This helps to insulate the upper eight to 12 inches of soil, where most of the roots feed.  It also helps to conserve water and keep my plants and soil cooler (especially in our warm summer months).  This mulch will also break down and feed my soil.  That is a good thing!  When I first moved to my house 20 years ago, I couldn’t get a shovel into the soil more than one inch.  It was that hard and that bad.  After years of adding compost, necessary organic nutrients (did I mention testing your soil?), now, my entire shovel blade goes easily into the soil!  After putting up with bad soil for so long, I am still shocked by how easy it is to remove a plant, etc.  Good soil is a wonderful thing!

If you still have some space and want some new roses, now is the time to shop and plant.  Look for plants that have three to five major canes on them.

New Roses

I swore that I was not going to purchase any new roses or plants this year.  Well, so much for that!  I have two new babies and am expecting three more.  Three of those five roses I purchased, will go into pots as their permanent home.  Three of my new babies should be ready to ship in a month.  I am a little concerned about planting them so late and hope they will be OK. 

I am excited to see how the two new rose babies I have will develop and mature.  I will let you know how they are doing over the course of the next year.  They have been developed by a relatively new breeder by the name of David Bang.  Dave is up in the bay area and breeds beautiful and very disease resistant roses.  His roses have been hard to get as they are sold out the minute you hear they are available.  So, I am excited to see how they will do in our location.   They are bred to be very disease and heat resistant.  Here you can find a link to pictures of my new babies;  Mango Blush  Mango Blush and Dottie  Dottie

Until Next TimeTruths and roses have thorns about them. – Henry David Thoreau

2/9/21 What to do in the rose garden this month

What to do in the rose garden this month?

By the middle of this month, you should have pretty much pruned all your roses.  Sometimes this can be a bit of a guessing game as you want to prune late enough to avoid risking frost damage to new growth.  Our average date of last frost date in Fresno is right around March 1st.  If you live up in the mountains, your average date of last frost can be around the middle of April (so you still have lots of time to get your pruning done).  See December 2020 post on pruning for tips on how to prune your different types of roses.

Clean the ground all around your roses of all leaves, debris, etc.  Dispose of all cuttings and other green waste into your green waste bin.  Do not compost it.  Your compost pile may not get hot enough to kill all of the diseases and bugs that may be on your leaves/debris. 

Now is the time to apply a dormant oil to the plants (if they have not leafed out) and to the ground to ward off diseases.  Wait to apply a dormant oil to new leaves until they are about two inches long as it can burn young, tender leaves.  Also, apply oil when it is not going to rain and make sure the temps are below 75—80 F.  Anything warmer than that can burn the leaves on your plants. 

You can then apply two inches of compost or organic mulch to cover the entire garden area.

Wait to apply fertilizer when your new growth is about two inches long.  If you use an inorganic fertilizer, use one that is lower in the values of the three elements and slightly higher in phosphate (P) than nitrogen (N) and potassium (K).  This would be an inorganic fertilizer that has 3N, 4P, 3K.  See Rosie’ Corner article on fertilizer.  It doesn’t matter if you use organic or inorganic fertilizer as the plant will uptake the minerals whether it is organic or not.  Make sure the ground is wet prior to using inorganic fertilizer and water it in.  You don’t want to burn your plants.  In March you are going to want to feed your plants every two weeks to monthly for larger blooms until at least the end of June (depending on how hot it is outside).  Again, watch out for burning your plants and too much salt from using inorganic fertilizers can be a problem for your soil and plants. 

I use inorganic fertilizer to feed my soil as well as my plants.  I use a good organic rose fertilizer about every six weeks until the middle to end of June if we are not having too hot of a spring/early summer.  You can add alfalfa meal to the ground around your rose plants.  I don’t use pellets as they can attract unwanted critters in your yard.  Plus, you will need to wet them for the plants to use the nutrients and to help break them down.  Since we have had little rain and on-going water restrictions, this can be difficult.  I will also cover the ground around my roses with a good inch or two of compost, followed by two to four inches of organic mulch (not the rubber kind). 

Now is the time to assess your irrigation system to see if it needs any repairs.  My yard (including my roses) is entirely on a drip system.  I make sure the emitters are about 6 inches apart around the entire drip line of my plants.  What is a dripline?  A dripline is the outermost circumference of a plant or tree’s canopy from which water drips onto the ground. 

If you are going to use a fungicide, now is the time to start to use them.  I choose to have a no spray garden and plant roses that are resistant to fungal diseases.  Yes, if a rose does not perform well in my garden, and that includes being a fungal disease magnet, out it goes.  It has to be a very special rose (and I do have those) if I put up with fungal diseases.  Luckily, I rarely get them because of our climate. 

If you spray your garden with herbicides, now is the time to use a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weeds.  As an alternative, you can use four inches of organic mulch (not the rubber kind) around your plants to prevent weeds.  This is my preferred method.  The mulch will break down and improve your soil.  Plus, it also helps to retain water for your plants. 

Speaking of soil, you may want to get your soil tested to see if you need to add any nutrients, soil pH, composition and structure.  Add only the nutrients that the soil testing indicates are needed. 

This Month’s Featured Rose: Munstead Wood

I thought I would leave you with a picture from my garden last April.  This is Munstead Wood.  I am always saying, “Isn’t it good, Munstead Wood.”  It is a beautiful David Austin rose that will no longer be available in the future.  It is a shrub rose.  In the spring and late fall, it is a very dark burgundy color.  The camera on my phone never seems to quite capture the deep color it truly is.  During the heat of summer, the color is more pink than burgundy.  It does take the heat here in summer quite well.  I am sorry to see that David Austin is discontinuing this rose. 

Munstead Wood 4-24-20 (4)

Munstead Wood April 2020

Munstead Wood 4-24-20

Color of Munstead Wood during the summer

The summer colors of Munstead Wood.  Either way, it is a beautiful rose. 

Until Next Time...

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.  Emma Goldman


12/8/20 Pruning Roses

As the song goes, “It’s that time of year….”  Yup.  It is rose pruning time.  Many people look with fear and trepidation at roses during this time.  How do I prune a rose?  Will I hurt it?  Will I destroy it?  No fears!  Roses are tough plants!  Pruning them will help them grow stronger and flower better the following year. 

Why Prune?

Pruning helps to produce larger flowers, invigorate the rose and produce new shoots.  Pruning will encourage new buds and “renew” the canes.  You are able to maintain the shape and appearance of the rose while removing dead and diseased canes. 

Words of Advice—if you can, water your roses the day before you prune.  It will help to lessen the shock to the plant.  After you are done pruning and cleaning up the mess, spray the newly pruned rose with a dormant oil to discourage over wintering diseases and bugs.  Only spray with a dormant oil when the weather is below 75 degrees and not on a rainy day.  Make sure you take all the precautions of suiting up and wearing appropriate eye and nose/mouth coverings as you are using a chemical.  I want you to be safe!  Follow directions on the label! Dispose of any remaining spray appropriately so you don’t pollute our soil and water!


You do need equipment to prune a rose.  The basics are gloves, loppers, pruners, sharpeners, disinfectant spray and perhaps a shovel.  Yes, there is a thing called “shovel pruning” a rose.  That is when you remove a rose from your garden, that is not healthy, not doing well for your yard, not doing well in our climate or it turns out that you just don’t like the rose.  I have shovel pruned many a rose bush in my day that I don’t like or doesn’t do well in my yard.  Many people will feel guilty about removing a good plant from their yard.  See if someone else would like to have this rose.  You can give it to someone who will love it, and has the right conditions for growing it. 

I always start and finish pruning roses, with clean and sharpened blades on my pruners and loppers.  It makes all the difference in the world.  I sharpen the blades before I get started and after I am done for the day.  I also clean my pruners and loppers with disinfectant spray or alcohol wipes, between pruning each individual rose bush.  That way, I am not spreading any diseases through contaminated equipment.  Rose gall can get spread in your garden through bacteria remaining your pruners/loppers.  Using the spray/alcohol wipes will stop that.  Just spray the blades and/or wipe them down and you are good to go to the next plant.  When I am done for the day, I re-sharpen the blades, clean them and spray the metal joints on my pruners and loppers with oil.  This keeps them lubricated and working to perfection. 

I use a good pair of thorn resistant gloves.  Believe it or not, I also use the sleeves that welders use, on my arms so I don’t get “attacked” by my rose bush.  You can buy special “rose pruning gloves” as well, that will protect your arms up to your elbows.  I like to have the protection for my entire arm.  Some of my roses are big. 

Some people who have a lot of roses to prune, will take a five foot stick and use that to measure the height of the rose for pruning.  They will have a pointy end (to put into the ground) and will mark off where it will stand up by itself once in the ground.  Then they mark off one foot, two feet, three feet, etc., on the stick.  This way, they just have to put the stick in the ground next to the rose and they know the height for pruning them.  This is not necessary but may be helpful for you.  You can bring out this stick every year and use it as a reference point. 

OK, we are done with the basics.  On to the fun part.  How to prune your rose bushes. You will prune different types of roses differently.  How do you know what type of rose you have?  Check the name of your rose on Help Me Find.  It will state if it is a hybrid tea, miniature, etc.  Help Me Find Roses


Here are some of the basics of pruning a rose.  First, always cut at a 45-degree angle.  Cut about ¼ inch from an outward-facing bud.  This will cause the new growth to grow out from the center of the plant and improve air circulation (reducing disease).  Check Rosie’s Corner for August 2020, about cutting to an outward-facing bud.

Always cut back to live tissue.  After the cut, take a look at the tissue in the center of the cane.  Check to see if It is white and healthy or dark and not looking too great.  If it looks diseased, cut back farther.  If it still looks bad, you may have to remove the cane. 

Remove any dead canes and branches.  Dead canes will look brown and shriveled.  Cut them to the base of the plant.  Use your loppers or a pruning saw if necessary. 

If you see a sucker on the plant, remove it.  (Check Rosie’s Corner for November 2020 for discussion on what a sucker is on a rose bush). 

Pruning Different Types of Roses

Miniature roses

Mini roses are easy.  Remove all the leaves so you can see the growth of the canes and branching.  Remove any twiggy growth, dead, diseased, old thick canes or crossing canes.  Prune back the plant by about a third to one half of this year’s growth, to the desired shape.  You are now good to go.  I know some folks who use electric trimmers to prune their mini roses.  Clean up any leaves on the ground. 

Miniature Climbers

After planting a mini climber, do not prune it for two or three years.  Then start to train the mini climber up a trellis like their bigger brothers and sisters.  Follow pruning directions for climbing roses later in this article. 

Hybrid Teas and Grandiflora Roses

Rose Pruning

Prune Hybrid Tea roses between 24” to 36” in height.  For the first year or so that you have the rose, you may want to lightly prune it.  If it is an older hybrid tea rose in your garden (three years or older), remove the older canes and keep the newer green canes. 

Remove any dead, diseased, twiggy or unwanted growth.  Remove any twisted and intertwined branches or canes.  Keep anywhere from three to five canes on each bush.  Prune out any canes less than the width of a number two pencil.  Try to make sure that the canes you keep are evenly spaced (as much as possible) around the bush.  You can shorten the last season’s growth by about one-third and still have abundant blooms for spring. 

Older hybrid teas, (that were bred in the early 1900’s and Grandifloras (such as Queen Elizabeth) can support six to eight canes.  Prune these plants low (2 feet). 

Again, remove all foliage from the plant if the leaves have not already fallen off.  Make sure you clean up any fallen leaves around your rose bush to reduce disease. 


These plants may seem more difficult to prune due to their growth and numerous branches.  Take a deep breath.  You can do this!  You don’t have to prune these plants as hard as you would prune a hybrid tea rose. 

You can leave anywhere from three to six main canes in a vase shaped configuration.  Remove most of the twiggy growth in the center of the plant.  Leave more of the branched growth around the top of the plant.  Remove any dead or weak canes.  Cut back about one-fourth to one-third of the current year’s growth.  Cut the center branch from each cluster of branches and prune to three or four undeveloped growth buds on the side branches.  Prune to give the plant a nice rounded shape. 

If you have a hedge of one variety of floribunda roses (I see lots of hedges of Iceburg roses in Fresno), cut all plants to a uniform height. 

Remove all foliage that is left on the canes and clean up any fallen leaves around the bush. 


If your Polyantha is a climber, see the instructions for climbers.  If it is a bush Polyantha rose, pruning them is similar to Floribundas. Remove all dead canes and prune the remaining ones very lightly, removing no more than one-fourth to one-third of the growth. 


Most modern climbers are natural mutations of hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas.  They are sometimes called “large-flowered” climbers.  The flowers are produced on side branches from the main canes or laterals.  Don’t prune a climber, except to remove dead or broken canes for the first two or three years you have the rose.  On established plants, prune dead or damaged canes to the base. 

Make sure your climber is trained to grow as horizontally as possible.  Canes that are horizontal or at an angle produce more flowers than canes growing straight up an arbor. 

If your climber rose is trained for lateral growth, then cut back the laterals to about four to six inches or three to four bud eyes.  Those laterals are where the flowers will form.  Prune those laterals to about 6 inches or to 3—4 bud eyes. 

Remove any foliage from the canes and clean up the leaves on the ground around the plant.

Shrub Roses

For shrub roses do the following if the roses are established (you have had them longer than three years).  For taller shrub roses (that you want to remain tall), cut back by less than one third.  To maintain the rose’s current size, cut the rose back by a third.  To reduce its size, cut the rose back by half or even more.   All cut stems on the bush, should be the same length.  You can shape up the shrub as necessary.  Remove any dead, dying, damaged and diseased canes.  Remove one of the canes that is crossing another cane.  Remove any foliage that remains on the plant.  Clean up any fallen leaves around the plant. 

Old Garden Roses (Antique Roses)

For old roses that are once bloomers, pruning should have happened right after the rose finished blooming.  Do not prune these roses in late fall early winter as you will cut off next year’s flowers.  They bloom on last year’s growth.  Of course, if there are dead, crossing or diseased canes, those may be removed. 

Alba Roses—prune after flowering

Bourbon and Portland Roses—prune just before spring growth.  Shorten canes by a third and side shoots to just three buds.

Centifolia and Moss Roses—prune after blooms fade in the spring.  Shorten main canes and side shots. 

China Roses—Remove twiggy growth in winter.  Shorten main canes by a third.  Prune lightly. 

Damask Roses—After spring flowering, remove twiggy growth.  Cut back laterals to three buds. 

Gallica Roses—Prune before spring growth and after spring flowering.  Remove any twiggy growth.

Hybrid Perpetual Roses—After spring blooms fade, cut back the main shoots by a third and shorten side shoots.  You can prune from one third to half its size. 

Tea Roses—Just before spring growth, remove twiggy growth and shorten main canes by a third.  Prune lightly. 

As with any roses, remove any fallen leaves from around the bush to reduce fungal diseases.  Make sure no canes are crossing each other.  They could rub against each other and become diseased, etc. 

So there you have it!  Pruning any type of rose.  It really isn’t difficult.  Too this day, I still review what types of cuts to make on each different type of rose bush before I start pruning.  I take a deep breath and start.  If necessary (and it usually is), I will print out these instructions and have them with me in the garden as a reference.  It is really not difficult and I love the nice and tidy look the bush has once it has been pruned.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  My roses often grow in spite of what I do to them! 

Until Next Time…For You, Mom…When the night has been too lonely, And the road has been too long, And you think that love is only, For the lucky and the strong.  Just remember in the winter, Far beneath the bitter snows, Lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.  Amanda McBroom, The Rose