Last year, we were commissioned to consult and supervise the planting of the Palace of Gold rose garden. Our job entails the transitioning of garden maintenance to a more sustainable practice. This required us to make great strides, and we employed the methods we posted in this blog. Check them out if you need references in planting your rose garden.
Before, people have pruned roses to around 6 inches in height in the fall. By then, they would mound some mulch over these plants. It worked overtime. However, we were looking forward to keeping their roses a little taller, so we could prune them again just in time for spring. My reasoning for making them as such and then pruning them back in the spring was to create fuller roses with more blooms.
That said, we started by enriching the soil with potassium. You can read about their benefits in another post that we made. After which, rather than cutting these roses down to 6 inches, we trimmed them to around 3 feet. Just as they used to do so, we also mounded some mulch over the bases of these roses.
The Aftermath of Winter
Winter in West Virginia was unusual. When we finally returned to the Palace of Gold rose garden, we discovered a large number of dead canes above ground. This was just in early April, and we were scheduled to assist them with pruning. We worked with some master gardeners on this and they confirmed extensive winter damage in the region this past season, so I know it wasn’t just us or that we tried something new.
When we pruned, it became clear that the safest course of action would be for them to just do what they usually did during fall. All should be 6′′ or less in length. As we could see, there was lots of new growth developing, so the easy job here was to clear out the deadwood.
Since we were chopping everything back severely, we went easily across the yard. Indeed, in three hours, we finished pruning over 800 roses! They will return in a few weeks, until more live growth emerges, and clean up everything else.
A Few Takeaways
Although this may have been a nightmare, it was not because we made sure to prepare for a winter like this. Here are some pointers we want to share with you:
- When planting flowers, still bury the bud union. Because they had done so over the years of planting this garden, everything underneath the ground was living and only waiting for spring to arrive. I’m sure a few roses were missing, but not many. Bury it at a depth of at least 2 inches.
- In the fall, mound mulch around the base of your roses to provide additional cover. It was very surprising to see these plants grow just after the mulching stage in the majority of instances.
- Punt! Gardening may not be a precise science that can be repeated year after year. Nature always throws curveballs, so be prepared to make a few adjustments along the way.