Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Ahead of Myself

"Viscountess of Kern"
early Hybrid Tea

Back from the tender breezes of Southern California where I shared my outlandish notions of pruning, or not pruning, with a wonderful crowd of folks from the Ventura County Rose Society and the Gold Coast Heritage Roses Group, I find myself looking at the garden and thinking of this—roses in the full first flush of May. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, all the while I am getting behind. But, it is the fresh blush of such perfect roses as this old Hybrid Tea, this mystery rose once distributed by the Joseph Kern Nursery of Ohio, that fuels my energy for winter work. The Kern nursery had labeled it Viscountess Folkestone which we have subsequently found to be the name of another, very lovely old rose. But this gem, foundling that it is, remains a neglected mystery that I have convinced few rose lovers to grow. One of the earliest HTs, by my guess, it has the subtlety and crispness of the Ophelia group, and that perfect blending of Tea rose and Hybrid Perpetual. I can't resist it.

Tomorrow I will remove our first survey, 'How Many Roses Do You Have to Prune?', and replace it with a new survey...stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you haven't chimed in, let us know what your challenge is. And this week I have scheduled myself for the earnest work of completing the first thousand roses. On day 60 I'll need to make that mark, or fall perilously behind.

Hand is working again, knee is bending, and I've made some beginning swipes at the chalkboard. Let me know how you are doing with your pruning; just post a comment after this log entry. There are others out there who want to know they're not alone. And, if you're one of those who have thousands of roses to prune, let me know. I'm dying of curiosity, and misery loves company!


  1. Gregg, as you probably know, I have about 3000 roses up here myself, and to date, I believe I have pruned about 20 of 'em! (I am getting to be a "less is more" kinda guy as regards pruning, attending only to those that actually NEED it)
    The only group I can't neglect to prune every year is the collection of Moore miniatures. Unfortunately for me, there are over 400 of those to do!

  2. Lemmeseenow, I cleaned up a few moderns that my husband chopped away at. I haven't laid a blade to anything else. I'm focusing on getting more of those beauties in the ground.

    Tennis elbow sucks.

  3. Hi Gregg,
    I finally put on several layers and went out into the damp cold here in Napa. I finished pruning my "protected" roses- all 28 that are behind the deer fencing with my dahlia collection. The new order of 57 have been tucked into pots and protected with straw. The rest have already been heavily "pruned" by the deer and I plan to rescue them as I clean out the main borders. I'm not sure how many have survived.
    But you didn't say anything about spraying. I usually spray a dormant combination spray, but do you skip this step?

  4. Hi Gregg,
    I pruned my 20 or so modern teas that are already in the ground. My 22 vintage roses I bought from you remain in pots until the ground that we took up the grass is rototilled to break up the clay and work inthe organics. The rain put a damper on that. The hardest thing is all the resistance I receive from other people to hard prune, spray and chemical fertilize. Thanks for the pep talk and support! Gook luck with your adventure in your garden. Leslie