Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Rose Garden with no Roses to Cut?

Last weekend I wanted to cut some roses for our dinner table to make a lovingly cooked meal by my husband even more special. So in a good mood I went out with the secateurs in my hand and guess what, I could hardly find a rose that was suited for cutting. What a bummer!

The only bouquet I could come up with is the one that you can see on the photo below, containing five roses. The two clear pink ones are 'Bewitched' and the three white ones with the pink center are 'Pierre de Ronsard'.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)


There is nothing wrong with this bouquet, and as a matter of fact I love it and am quite proud that these beautiful roses are coming from my own garden, but what bugs me is that I had to search quite a while for some roses suited for cutting purposes and these five were the only ones that I actually could find. It is not the first time that this happened to me that I had to declare a rose state of emergency in the middle of summer. You would assume that with approximately seventyfive roses planted in the ground and in containers that there is always a rose to find for cutting, but nope, often it is not.  Something is clearly wrong here!





That brings up the question: why is that so? First of all a lot of my roses are still very young, since I buy most of them as teeny tiny bands and it takes at least three years for these roses to get established. To show you an example: on the photo below you can see a band of 'Stephen's Big Purple', which will hopefully become a beautiful purple hybrid tea rose in the future.



Secondly I am growing a couple of roses that are unsuited for cutting, like some of my tea rose, which often have flower stems that are simply too short to fit into vase. Some of my roses do not last in a vase. They do not last on the bush either, but there it does not matter so much. I think one mistake that I am making is that I am not fertilizing often enough. Organic fertilizers do not last that long in the ground and need to be renewed I think at least three times in one growing season. Right now I am on my second round of fertilizing the roses, which clearly takes place a little late. When I compare my fertilizing regimen with the ones of the top rose exhibitors of the San Diego Rose Society it will not even bring a tired smile on your face. Obviously I still get a couple of decent roses, but not that many!




The rose of choice for cutting, of course, is the hybrid tea rose or a grandiflora rose, which are bred exactly for this purpose and have long stems that hold up the bloom well in a vase. I realized that I have only two roses of these classes planted in the ground which are already established: 'Sweetness' (I did a post about this rose some time ago, if you want to read it click here) and 'Pope John Paul II'. 'Sweetness' is just between flushes right now and there is not a single flower stem to find in the moment (see photo below).



'Pope John Paul II' on the other hand has a decent amount of blooms, but unfortunately most of them are damaged by thrips, an insect that leaves behind brown edges on the rose petals. You can not see it so clearly on the photo, but believe me the roses up close do not look very appealing. Unfortunately a white rose is really ruined for cutting purposes when these insects have infested it. In the garden seen from a distance it still can look OK:




The two other hybrid teas I frequently cut from are still growing in five gallon containers: 'Mister Lincoln' and 'Bewitched'. Since I robbed 'Mister Lincoln' of all its flowers lately and it is working on the next flush in the moment, ...

 


...it narrowed it down to 'Bewitched'. And yes, I knew I could rely on this rose. She had about eight flowers in all kind of states of opening. Two of them were perfect for cutting. On the photo below you can see the bush after I cut two blooms of.

 


I wanted to cut at least five roses altogether and so I looked around and found three more on my 'Pierre de Ronsard', a shrub rose, which is producing his second flush. The flush is a little bit puny, so I thought if I cut of three more blooms it does not matter. On the picture below you can see 'Pierre de Ronsard' after I cut off three of its blooms. The re-bloom is truly pathetic, isn't' it?



 So there you go I finally got my little bouquet together.



Reflecting about how to improve the situation in the future I would like to plant more hybrid tea roses in the ground so that they get strong and vigorous and will give me great roses for cutting. Also some of the English Roses bred by David Austin might be suited for cutting, therefore I will try to plant some of those first, too.

My dream would be to have a separate cutting garden, where I only grow roses for cutting purposes. Like a vegetable garden this part of the yard would not have to look pretty all the time, but is a "working garden", which fulfills the purpose to provide me with cut flowers. Again, this is one of those moments where I wish that I would have a bigger garden (even though sometimes I can not keep up getting all the necessary work done in my small garden already!). - But wait a moment I have a small area at the one side of the house in the back yard, which is not landscaped yet and houses my pot ghetto right now. Maybe I could use it for this purpose. Hmm...., I have to think about it!




Have you ever been in my situation? How do you make sure you have roses for cutting when you need them even though you only have a small yard? 

See you in the garden!

Christina

15 comments:

  1. If it makes you feel better I only have one single rose flowering (save the inaccessible rambler). I think it's the price I pay for being good at growing everything else - I'm a complete failure with roses, to the amusement of less green fingered friends whose roses look great all summer. The one flower is stunning, and I'm sorely tempted to cut it and make the most of it as it looks so sad on it's own on the bush, and smells delicious.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful roses.

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  2. Lovely bouquet !
    With some companions, the hybrid tea roses, will be great.

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  3. That is one lovely bouquet for a special dinner. I need to go out and hand water my roses and other things this morning before heading off to work. I probably should give them a bit of fertilizer too.

    I think your roses always look stunning. That little side yard sounds like it might be just right for your cutting garden.

    Happy planning and rose growing,

    FlowerLady

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  4. Cally, welcome to my blog! Thanks for sharing your story about the single rose bloom on the bush. Cutting it and enjoying it inside sounds great, especially if it has a wonderful fragrance!

    Dani, thanks! You are right hybrid tea roses need company, because honestly the bushes, if you even can call them bushes, can look downright ugly all by themselves.

    Flowerlady, thanks for your nice comment! Yes, watering is what we hot climate gardeners do in the summer, isn't it? I can imagine that in Florida roses need a lot of food as well. Happy gardening to you, too!

    Christina

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  5. That's a darling bouquet and, believe me Christina, you're not alone. I'd have a hard time putting together a bouquet that wouldn't collapse in less than a day in this heat, even with air conditioning. We who love the old roses most have to make a choice, although certain tea roses like Mrs. Dudley Cross or roses like Belinda's Dream last quite well. I really also think part of the problem is that many of your roses, like mine, are still fairly young and don't produce many blooms. We'll just have to be patient a few more years.....

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  6. I have been there too. I think partly you are right, your roses are young, so you need to wait. I always have something to cut these days, and I don't insist on roses lasting forever in a vase, so I cut teas and climbers and noisettes - whatever is blooming. Another thing is to grow some summer blooming perennials - a lot of those are great for cutting and would fill in a rose bouquet or just be in a bouquet by themselves - I have a lot of that too now...

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  7. Ingrid, I am glad that you like my bouquet! It is good to know that I am not the only one scrambling to get a bouquet together. I have to have a closer look at Mrs. Dudley Cross, if you say that this is a tea rose, whose flowers last in the heat. Just hope that you are right that the lack of cut roses is due to the fact that many of my roses are still not mature. Then the problem can be simply cured with patients :-)!

    Masha, thanks for leaving a comment. It is reassuring to hear that you know my situation as well, but now have constantly roses to cut. I can't imagine your garden not providing you with cut flowers the way it looked when I saw it last time. It is a very good idea to grow perennials for cutting purposes, too. I am still in the phase of planting the bigger shrubs first before I can get to the companion plants, but when I plant them I will pay attention that some of them are suited for cutting, too. Thanks for the tip!

    Christina

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  8. I rarely cut my roses. I still like seeing them on the bush, but this year in the first flush there were so many (because they're not babies anymore) that I cut a big bunch for a vase. It was a wonderful experience that I could get used to, but right now flowers aren't as plentiful. Your little bouquet is spectacularly beautiful, Christina.

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  9. Sherry, I find that cutting roses to bring them into the house adds an extra pleasure to the already very pleasureful experience of growing roses. At the same time I want my rose bushes to look as opulently covered with blooms as possible, which of course contradicts each other. That why I like the idea of a rose cutting garden. In that specific area I could cut as many roses as I like without taking them away from the rose beds in the most visible garden parts. It makes me happy that you like my little bouquet!

    Christina

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  10. Your bouquet looks absolutely beautiful! I think a cutting garden would be perfect - especially if you have a space already in mind! I like shrubs in the landscape, but a cutting garden wouldn't have to look so perfect (except the bloom), so a separate area would be wonderful for this. I, too, need to fertilize my roses more often. But it's so hot here, I wonder if I should in extreme heat, and then, it's fall!

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  11. Christina, I do love your little bouquet! I am not a big specialist in roses, although I have a dozen of bushes. I don't buy roses any more. Most of them have black spots (we have a lot of moisture) and we have deers that love to eat roses.
    Thank you for your very kind comment about my garden! Yes, it's my garden: I plant and maintain it. Only recently, we hired people to mow the lawn. Your words made me happy. Thank you!

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  12. Holley, thanks for your kind comment about my little plonk! The more I think about it the more I like the idea of creating a cutting garden. This year I will try to fertilize the rose three times, we will see how I do :-)! Being on the second round is already pretty good for me!

    Tatyana, thanks for visiting my blog again! Sorry to read that you don't get new roses anymore. Blackspot can be quite annoying and deers eating the roses even more, though. I found that selecting the right roses for the area you live in can be quite helpful in terms of rose diseases (here I struggle with powdery mildew). Usually the local rose society has some good advice to offer.
    Again, your garden is simply amazing! I don't know how you can plant and maintain it all by yourself. Looking forward to more of your blog posts!

    Christina

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  13. We share the mediterranean climate. My roses rest in high summer, currently recovering from thrips and loving the cooler winter weather. Ours are mulched with peanut shells. Thick mulch helps against the summer heat. I need to prune, but there are so many buds ...

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  14. I think it's great that you were able to make an arrangement! I have a single rose bush, which flowers two at a time -- a very long time. Then, there is the black spot. Hang in there -- what you have is stunning!

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  15. Elephant's Eye, welcome to my blog! In my garden not too many roses are resting completely this summer, they are just in between flushes, because it seems to be a little bit of a cooler summer than usual, but I also have a bad thrip problem this year :-(. I am totally convinced that a layer of thick mulch helps the roses and other plants to deal with the heat and I definitively have to put down more mulch. I have to go to your blog and see where you exactly are since it is especially interesting to me what people do in their yards that are gardening in the same climate.

    nittygrittydirtman, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment! I feel it is great that I at least got this one little plonk together, too :-)! Luckily we don't have too much trouble with blackspot here, but powdery mildew can be a big problem. I will try to be patient, feed my roses and hope that they will mature. Maybe next year in summer it will be easier to pick a bouquet!

    Christina

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