Saturday, December 1, 2012

Repotting Dame Edith Helen and A Windstorm

I am sorry about my continuing absence from the blogosphere: I have had lots of issues to deal with. In the garden, I have been busy repotting some big roses and dealing with the effects of a recent windstorm.

Mme Bérard drooping in the rain

At first, I didn't plan on growing any roses in pots: too much work watering. When I bought my first band sized plants from specialty mail order nurseries, I put them all in the ground (I had lots of room then).

Some springtime roses
My success in growing own root plants in hard rocky clay with lots of competition from surrounding trees and shrubs has been variable. Some roses (teas, tea-noisettes, some Austins and hybrid musks come to mind) took off right away...

Maréchal Niel this spring

 ....but others languished (pernetianas and other hybrid teas seemed particularly miserable). It seemed that a lot of these latter varieties were unable to develop a strong enough root system to push vigorous growth and bloom. The more interested I became in pernetianas and classic hybrid teas, the more imperative a solution to that problem became.

Heinrich Wendland was very unhappy in the ground but is recovering in a big pot

After all, I wanted some decent plants with maybe a few blooms on them :), and not a sad lot of scrawny naked sticks in the ground. The obvious path is to graft weak roses onto a vigorous rootstock. However, grafting requires tools, skill, time and patience, of whichI have none. The only choice for me was to try to grow them in pots.

Rose pots on the patio

I have been very happy with the results. Roses grow very fast in pots offering me almost instant gratification - only months between a tiny rooted cutting and a decently blooming young rose. I am still working on figuring out drainage and fertilizing schedule, but most of about a dozen plants I grow in pots permanently have done really well. Some of them have by now grown so much that they need repotting.

A three-year old Dame Edith Helen in an unglazed clay pot this spring. The top is noticeably bigger than the rootball, and I wondered if it was becoming potbound.

I bought Dame Edith Helen, an own root classic hybrid tea, for its gorgeous fragrant blooms. Its seller, Vintage Gardens, describes it as a low growing plant, "shy of bloom". I have heard someone mention that they grew three plants of it together to try to create some size :).

It was therefore surprising to me to find that, given favorable growing conditions, this rose is very capable of  attaining a good size and blooming exactly in step with my vigorous grafted hybrid teas. It also developed a very good rootball.

Two cubic feet of fresh potting mix later, here it is in its new and bigger home. A young plant of Surville is next to it.

I have also been busy cleaning up after a recent storm that brought lots of rain and wind. It seemed to me that leaves from most neighborhood trees ended up in my yard, clogging gutters and drains. Thankfully, our trees were undamaged but a few big roses fell over.

Gardeners in northern climates have to hard prune their roses because of winter damage to the canes. Those of us in warm areas where nature does not keep rose growth in check have the dubious luxury of endlessly debating whether or how to prune our roses depending on their class, rootstock, gardening practices and anything and everything else. But sometimes the weather dictates to us warm region gardeners as well.

My Rosette Delizy, a tea rose, has never been hard pruned. It grew nice sturdy canes that branched on top, then branched some more and some more again. It became very top-heavy. Not any more :)

I had to cut it back by more than half before it managed to stand up again. We'll see how it will do in spring...

But Lady Hillingdon still looks good


  1. ¿te seria posible poner el traductor automático ? No conozco una palabra de Inglés.
    Maravilllosas rosas.
    Un saludo.

  2. Ty wiesz gdzie sadzić róże, żeby zawsze były piękne. Dobrze, że wichury nie zrobiły Ci dużych szkód. Miło było popatrzeć na kwitnące kwiaty. Pozdrawiam.
    You know where to plant roses that have always been beautiful. Well, the storm did not do you great harm. It was nice to look at the blooming flowers. Yours.

  3. How I want Lady Hillingdon. I have never had success growing roses in containers, so I salute you ! My pruning regimen seems to ebb and flow, some years I whack things back to the nubs, others I just do the minimum. This year is a 'whacker' because it will give me access to garden places that are impossible to reach in summer.

  4. Masha, you did a hard work, replanting roses. I know it because have covered the roses for winter and had problem with rose thorns. I hope yours will grow well in pots. Have a nice weekend!

  5. Lovely rose post. This year I have for the first time 2 roses in containers, bought them in summer and could not plant them. They did very well and I'm thinking to keep them in the containers. I have pruned my roses a third because we have lots of windstorms in this time of year. Lady Hillingdon is such a beauty, I have this rose for the second year, but not so easy because she prefers a warm area and we live in a wet and sometimes very cold country. I see in your garden a great deal of unknown roses to me, interesting but I think they also want a warmer climate.

  6. Thank you Masha for your expertise, I was thinking of putting a couple of my roses in pots since they not performing that well and to see what happens, but wasn't sure and after reading your post I will do it this autumn, when our weather cools down a bit.

  7. Wow, your roses are sooooooo beautiful! Roses aren't very happy in pots in my part of the world, but this is because of the cold winters. I guess I will try to put a very weak one (Tess d'Umbreville) also out of the soil and into a pot and plant it again before winter... maybe she will get well during summer and gain some power back.
    Greetings from Switzerland

  8. Thank you for this visit to your gardens. I don't grow roses at all, but I certainly enjoy the efforts of people who do. Beautiful roses and beautiful photos.

  9. Whatever you are doing, it's working!

  10. Ditto what Hoover Boo said! Also, I would love to grow Roses in pots, but then I'm not sure what I would do with them in the winter. I'll have to do some research about overwintering potted Roses in cold climates. Your beautiful images have me swooning!

  11. Beautiful garden, beautiful!!!!
    przepiekne roze, zdjecia, wsystko...brak slow...

  12. Schöne Rosen! In Töpfen werde ich sie nicht ziehen, weil sie dann regelmäßig gegossen werden müssen. Ich wünsche dir einen schönen zweiten Advent und eine gute Zeit ohne Probleme. Liebe Grüße Annette

  13. Masha, I like how you have success with Roses in tubs, I am now having a bit more luck with this since I stopped over watering, in our climate drying out can be less of a problem. In the UK, it is suggested that Roses should be cut back early in the Winter but only far enough to help prevent them from rocking and loosening off. The hard pruning comes in late Winter, early Spring, what we deem to be the proper pruning to help with the formation of the shrub

  14. I love pink Rose. Thanks for sharing. Among all the beautiful fresh flowers roses have such a delightful beauty that refresh everybody's mind.


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