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e_moon60

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The Consuming Passion: Roses [Oct. 6th, 2010|08:48 am]
e_moon60
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This location is everything roses do not like:  very alkaline soil (either heavy clay over limestone or limey marl-y stuff over limestone),  hard water (see "limestone" above), extremely long, hot, dry summers,  water restrictions in summer that result in thirsty plants,  sudden (as in an hour or so) plunging temperatures in winter followed by rapid rewarming to hot, windy.    So few people out in the country attempt rose growing except for one or two pampered (and very tough) roses like Cecile Brunner and Lady Banks.

In addition, I've never been a serious rose gardener...my real passion (until recently) has always been native plants.   The change from mostly fragrant roses (when I was a child in another part of Texas and my mother grew roses)  to scentless varieties did nothing to lure me to roses...for a long time.

When we moved here, the place had three or four roses, all old: a Peace by the south side of the house (which died after about five years, probably because I didn't know how to prune it properly), a Lady Banks (still thriving) at the east end of the yard, and--across the drive--a white climber/rambler and a pink climber/rambler.   At that time, the plants across the drive were mostly non-native shrubs with a line of aging hackberry trees on the fenceline.  In my thirst for natives, we gradually added native shrubs (rusty blackhaw viburnum) and replaced the dying hackberries with native oaks.  We were told that the people who built the house, in the mid-50s, had taken plants (both native and the roses) from various locations in this area, including old homesteads.

The white climber/rambler rose, though, I would never have pulled out--though it blooms only once a year, for about a week, the fragrance is incredible.   The flowers form terminal trusses of small, single white, from pink buds, and I will stand in the driveway for a long time just to smell them.   It seemed to like what we did for it...until the oaks grew.  Dense oak shade it does not like.    Over the years, as the oaks got taller and produced more shade, it declined.   

At the other end of the driveway, meanwhile, the removal of non-native shrubs (like pyrecantha) continued and opened a space.  My mother had bought the house across the driveway, which meant we now own the back garden there--on the other side of the fence from the driveway.   We removed the fence, and built a walkway from the lower end of our driveway to the back end of that garden...and then thought a trellis over it would be nice, and we could have flowering vines...or...a rose or so.  Like the old white climber, still hanging on. 

                         Trellis nearing completion

But, never having transplanted a rose, and having had bad luck with cuttings before, we started looking at rose catalogs to see if we could find "our" rose in case something went wrong.  No such luck.  The closest I've found is a rose listed at the Antique Rose Emporium as "Kathleen"--but it's much pinker than ours.  We started asking for advice on transplanting (and looked up some online.)  We realized that even if we did get the old white rose transplanted, we'd still need (cough-cough) another rose or two to cover the trellis. 

I called the garden center we've used for other things, and asked about their climbing roses--and then we went down to see.  The only climbing rose they had with any real fragrance was "Don Juan"--a dark, velvety red, and not really what I wanted.  In my mind's eye, that trellis is covered with soft-colored flowers.   But near the "Don Juan" were some roses in pots emitting a strong fragrance of their own.   The roses were covered with both yellow and white flowers.   We didn't need a bush rose...exactly...but the fragrance crawled up my nose and attacked my sales resistance successfully.  We drove the 20-odd miles back in a haze of scent that easily filled the car.   It's a "knockout" rose that's supposed to be resistant to several of our local rose diseases and heat and drought tolerant.   The buds are golden; the flowers open yellow then quickly turn white.




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2010-10-06 02:01 pm (UTC)
We have some knockout roses in our backyard; they're dark pink and very pretty.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-06 02:08 pm (UTC)
Do yours have a good fragrance? Many of the ones I've seen in catalogs state that the pink knockouts don't have a scent.

And for me, a scentless rose is no rose at all.
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2010-10-06 03:14 pm (UTC)
Very faint scent; you have to put your nose right up to it. I hope to get some different ones at some point but I'm not much of a gardener and allergies keep me from doing a lot outside. My favorite flowers are roses especially red ones.
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[User Picture]From: lillian13
2010-10-06 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'll neer figure out how my mother managed to grow wonderful roses in Midland Texas of all places. People would stop their cars and take pictures! All of this in that awful thin alkaline soil out there. Good luck with these!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-07 03:46 am (UTC)
Your mother must've had a green thumb like my mother had...I didn't inherit hers, alas.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-06 02:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for info on how to contact a local chapter. I've emailed the Antique Rose Emporium for advice, as well (and plan on buying a couple of their roses for other areas of the trellis.)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-10 02:40 am (UTC)
And the chapter president was very helpful. We'll be following his advice.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2010-10-06 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, "divide and conquer" might work.

You might be surprised by its vigor. A couple of years ago a friend gave me a rose he no longer had room for. I think it's a Darlow's Enigma, if not it looks very like it. It had been in its previous location for probably around 10 years and was very well-established -- to the extent that quite a lot of the root ball didn't survive the extraction process.

We dug a nice hole, slathered it with compost and rose food and, put the rose (which I promptly named "Fergie" for the Duchess of York) into it, added more rose food and compost, tamped it down well and gave it regular waterings.

It lost a lot of leaves over the next few weeks. Then suddenly picked itself up and started producing blooms. It's still not as prolific a bloomer as it was in its original home, but it's doing better every year. Which surprises me as I'm not that good a gardener.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-07 03:47 am (UTC)
I'll try again tomorrow to get hold of the nearest rose society person. Today I called someone who *used* to be, but isn't now. He very kindly found the phone number of the current one in Austin, but then then I had a phone message and then...one thing and another. Tomorrow, maybe.
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From: baobrien
2010-10-06 02:40 pm (UTC)
The climate is different in Chicago, but we successfully moved an established rose in my mother's garden last spring. I was worried when we found a huge root heading under the (cement) driveway that had to be cut - and it looked very bad for a while - but it revived and appears happy in the new location. So you can transplant an established rose - but since you really, really love this rose, I agree with others here - I would consult the experts. It might be possible to take and root cuttings before you transplant it, so you don't lose it, and that could help cover the trellis.
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From: baobrien
2010-10-06 02:46 pm (UTC)
I had to check to see if I remembered correctly that propogating from cuttings was possible. There are a number of links out there, but this one appealed to me: http://scvrs.homestead.com/Cuttings1.html
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[User Picture]From: londonbard
2010-10-06 02:51 pm (UTC)
May I make a couple of suggestions? I'm a passionate rose-lover partly because of a beautiful rose called Dreaming Spires, a softly rich yellow with a fragrance that has to be experienced to be believed. People used to make special trips past my garden when it bloomed.

I was completely inexperienced when I planted the Dreaming Spires rose in alleged "soil" that was a mixture of heavy clay and builders rubble, almost 28 years ago.

The alleged garden was - the flat (apartment) was about 9 feet below ground-surface level on that side of the block. A 36 inch garden wall had been added to that. There was a skate-board rink behind that garden wall, too. The whole thing was 15 feet square.

So, about 12 feet below ground on one side, open slat fences down the sides, a 5 storey block on the other side. A pit with "soil of sorts" at the bottom. To make matters worse there were two young, strong - and above all fast and densely growing London Plane Trees just over 55 inches apart immediately behind that wall.

Having no real idea I planted the Dreaming Spires in the middle of the rear wall. Under the garden wall, the skateboard rink and the plane trees. It rose to the challenge (so to speak. It was a major factor in turning the pit into the beautiful garden that I finally wept to leave.

It stood up to everything. When the over-grown planes eventually turned the place "as dark as Satan's arm-pit" that rose carried on blooming.

(The only thing other that would grow out there were fuschias until - I had some odd areas of information. I brought in buckets of earth and lots of healthy worms and brought the rink-side garden to life by the methods I thought I remembered from once reading Robert Heinlein's "Farmer in the Sky"! Dreaming Spires thrived on as the soil changed around it.) I'll try to post a link to a picture.


Are you in a great hurry to transplant the rose you have? That is a risky procedure, so may I suggest that you clone it first?

That can be a very easy proceedure with most ramblers. All you need is a few containers holding soil taken from where you want to put the rose and some cleared soil near the plant. What you do is to locate the growing tip at the end of a branch, pull that down to soil or container level without seperating it from the plant, weight it and cover it with soil for about 4 inches but leave the very tip of the branch just above the soil surface. Because I don't know the variety of rose I can only say abrade the skin on the underside of the loop to varying extents in about half the potential growning tips that you treat in that way.

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[User Picture]From: londonbard
2010-10-06 03:51 pm (UTC)
Then the computer crashed.

This is the right time of year. If you weight down the ends of some branches in that way, leave them over-winter and continue to leave them while the sap rises and the buds sprout you can cut them from the parent rose when the leaves open. I did at about 3 inches above the spot where the "parent stem" enters the soil. Some of the branch tips should have become small rose plants ready to go in their final position.

However, roses are normally grafted and there is no way to know the potential size of the cloned rose, because that is usually decided by the rootstock they grafted it to. (I have never tried to graft a rose.) A rose growing on its own roots is as young as its root system, but there is no way to know what size it can reach.


There is another way - I have a rose, unknown variety pink, that was in a neighbours garden and I used bits that she had pruned off to add thorny bits to the fence. They grew and gave me a rose hedge! The one I tried to transplant when I moved didn't survive so I did the same thing. Cut an arms's length off a big one and stuck it in soil here last December. That not only rooted, it flowered this year!


This is the Dreaming Spires photographed from the skateboard rink in 2008. The huge, overshadowing Planes had just been removed and part of the small birch trees that replaced them can just be seen on the right.

back garden wall

Edited at 2010-10-06 04:32 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-07 03:50 am (UTC)
WOW! What a gorgeous rose!

I'm going to try to find a local rose expert before we do anything with the the little white one and get location-specific advice.
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[User Picture]From: jenrose1
2010-10-06 06:47 pm (UTC)
Whoever lived here two or three owners back planted so many roses, our yard is lined with them. They bloom from June to October or November. Fragrance varies from none to substantial, but the riot of color is what I love.
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[User Picture]From: mayakda
2010-10-06 09:31 pm (UTC)
Check out earthkind roses... I think they are tested in Tx.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/roses/

also, it might be helpful to look up varieties you are considering on helpmefind to see how ratings/reviews
http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/index.php
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[User Picture]From: msminlr
2010-10-07 01:21 am (UTC)

"earthkind roses... I think they are tested in Tx."

Er, yes.

TAMU is Texas A & M University. And not, I think, all that far [in Texas terms...] from where e_moon60 lives.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-07 03:51 am (UTC)
I did look up the TAMU site for recommended varieties--and have a list.
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[User Picture]From: coalboy
2010-10-08 01:23 am (UTC)
The trellis looks more like an arbor to me -- is that just the angle of the picture?

Peace roses grow very well in the Chicago area's very limey soil, but your temperature range is harsher, so I'm not sure...

My mother grew lots of roses in our yard, but she's not around to ask anymore.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-10 02:45 am (UTC)
We aren't sure what to call the structure. It started as a bridge from our driveway to the back garden of what had been my mother's house. Then I thought--why not put up a frame for vines & things to grow on.

What I always thought of as an arbor had an actual roof--solid--(we had one where I grew up) and intended to sit in, like an old-fashioned porch. This is just a walkway with a framework over it. Pergola, maybe?

A woman down the street from us in Austin, years ago, had a magnificent Peace rose climber at her house, so I know they can be grown in Austin--the soil there isn't like our soil here, though it is alkaline if not treated. The Austin rose-growers use a lot of soil amendments.
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[User Picture]From: coalboy
2010-10-10 03:04 am (UTC)
I never knew an arbor could have a solid roof; pergola seems to fit best.
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[User Picture]From: farmgirl1146
2010-10-09 03:57 pm (UTC)
I would add coconut coir to the BIG hole with the well-composted manure. We use it all the time, and it works so well. Yes, we have a few dry places, particularly indoors. Companion plant a carpet of clover and some rye grass that you green mulch on a regular basis to build up the soil to rose standards.
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