The Monterey Bay Rose Society will hold a series of rose pruning workshops again this year. This group of dedicated and community-spirited rosarians offers to share its expertise so that gardeners who also appreciate the Queen of Flowers will enjoy fine blossoms during the coming season.
Species roses grow nicely with little or no care by gardeners. We occasionally read stories about “rose rustlers,” who are rose lovers who are fascinated by early rose varieties that have been lost to cultivation and find them still growing unattended in cemeteries.
In California, for example, these historic varieties could date back to Gold Rush days. For a sampling of Sacramento’s “cemetery roses”, visit the website created by eminent garden photographer Saxon Holt, at https://tinyurl.com/y7qvop4c.
Modern roses, particularly the popular hybrid tea roses, grow best with regular care and feeding. We prune modern roses to stimulate new growth, support good health, and promote desirable form. Well established roses respond quite well to dormant season pruning: they come back vigorously after even heavy pruning.
If you have roses in your garden and lack confidence in your pruning talents, resolve to build and apply those skills this year. We are now within the rose’s dormant period, so the next few weeks is a good time to schedule such a project.
There are various ways to learn about rose pruning. When I need to learn about some aspect of gardening, I generally open relevant books in my collection or the library or search the Internet’s vast resources on gardening techniques. To learn about pruning roses, a good place to look online is the website of the American Rose Society: https://www.rose.org/search-results-page/pruning.
Another strategy involves searching the Internet for “pruning roses” or a similar phrase. It’s also OK to use a natural language search, e.g., “how should I prune my rose bush?”
When your search yields multiple “hits,” you can visit selected sites to find a tutorial that emboldens you to venture into your rose garden with clippers in hand.
Some gardeners will learn best from a video demonstration. If that is your preference, direct your search results by clicking on “video” at the top of the computer screen. With today’s technology, it is easy to record a video demonstration and distribute it via the Interest. It is not easy, however, to produce a video recording that communicates effectively, so you might benefit by viewing several short video clips. This can be done in one sitting, and reveal both different presentations of basic technique and variations in the methods of different gardeners.
Although much can be learned about rose pruning from printed and digital resources, the opportunity to learn directly from a friendly expert will be ideal for many gardeners, especially when the expert hands you the clippers and talks you through the process. The rosarians of the Monterey Bay Rose Society will offer the following free pruning workshops in the near future.
- Jan. 26, 10 a.m., San Lorenzo Nursery & Garden Center, 235 River St., Santa Cruz
- Jan. 27, 10 a.m., Mission San Antonio de Padua, Annual Cutting of the Roses, Jolon. For driving directions, browse to http://missionsanantonio.net/directions
- Feb. 2, 10 a.m., Bokay Nursery, 30 Hitchcock Rd., Salinas
- Feb. 23, 10 a.m., Alladin Nursery & Gift Shop, 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville
For more information on the Society, visit https://www.montereybayrosesociety.org.
Prune your roses during this dormant season, and expect healthy plants and great blooms in the spring.
Tom Karwin is president of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society, past president of the Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, and a Lifetime UC Master Gardener (Certified 1999–2009). Visit ongardening.com for more information on the topics in this column, and send comments or questions to [email protected].
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