Rose Pruning

“Rose Pruning”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Today turned out to be a lovely day with cool temperatures and blue skies, not like Saturday when we had almost 3 inches of rain. Even though the ground was soggy, I was able to finish the pruning job that I had started before the rain forced me inside early this weekend. This far South, it is best to prune roses in late January to mid-February. I like to do this no later than February 14th, but while I finished pruning my mother’s roses on time, mine had to wait until today.

The red Knockouts that I planted last fall were still blooming, and I hated to cut off the flowers, but they did need a light pruning. I used the cut flowers for inside, something I usually do not do because of the cat. I should use some of my roses in the house more often because the fragrance was lovely.



I used to be very hesitant to cut back plants when I first started gardening. I guess I was afraid I would prune too much and the plants would die. I have since gotten over that fear and have realized that plants just aren’t that delicate. If you are unsure about pruning roses check here for information.

I did save some cuttings from my Butterfly Rose (Mutabilis), and I will try to root them. I am a little worried about this rose as the main stems do not look so good. There seems to be some cracks on the woody stems. So, I figured that trying to make at least one more might be a good idea. Just a little insurance.

Tomorrow, I will fertilize all the roses, and with this mild weather, it shouldn’t be too long before there will be new growth and flowers to enjoy.


Showing Up Early

“Showing Up Early”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Warm weather has returned, and it has brought some spring flowers. Most of the ones that have shown up have come up earlier than usual. Considering the consistently cold temperatures we have had until just recently, it is surprising that they are blooming already.

The forsythia is showing a few flowers before its expected time, and a few of the small narcissus bulbs have opened flowers, but the one that really surprised me was the white Lady Banks rose. I pulled up in the driveway late Friday afternoon and couldn’t figure out what that white “thing” was on the rose canes. A quick walk over to that area, and I just couldn’t believe that a Lady Banks rose had opened up. This rose blooms in the spring, but never in January. Though it was only one small flower, it did lift my spirits because nothing beats spring flowers after cold winters. All these early flowers is just a teaser of things to come.



The first of the spring narcissus (paperwhites don’t count because they start blooming in November here).



Winter Rose

“Winter Rose”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

A perfect winter rose is one of the nice things about gardening in the South. Even though we had a hard freeze just days ago, already a new rose has opened, and it is all due to our mild winter weather.



This wasn’t the only rose in the garden, either. Iceberg had a lovely white flower (though it was on the small side) and Mutabilis (Butterfly Rose) also had a few flowers showing.

Being able to garden just about year round is what helps keep me sane. I don’t know how gardeners in colder areas stand not being able to get out and see at least a few things growing.

Yesterday, as I was strolling around my garden, I was surprised to see a few little yellow forsythia flowers already showing up. I guess the quince can’t be far behind.

October Already??

“October Already??”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Where did September go? I can hardly believe it is already October. Time may be flying by, but in one way it is a good thing. October ushers in our second gardening season here on the Gulf Coast. After blistering temperatures this summer, the cooler weather of October and November means the garden comes back to life.

The recent rains along with those cooler temperatures have made so many plants happy. One of the nice things about October here is that we get another flush of blooms from the roses. In early August, I trimmed back all the roses about a third in preparation for flowering about six weeks later. A little fertilizer helps, too. Now, that October is here, the roses are just starting to flower. In another week or so, they should be gorgeous, but right now, after a summer of hardly any flowers, even seeing only a few open is a treat.

Showing their flowers are Knockout Red, Iceberg, The Fairy, and Whiteout.






I didn’t realize how few flowers were around this summer until the roses started blooming. It shouldn’t be long before they are at their peak which makes me glad it is already October.

Christmas Rose

“Christmas Rose”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

The last few days have been pretty nippy around here. We have had some hard freezes, but they have just been barely a hard freeze. I still have some tender perennials that have survived, but they are in more protected areas.

One group of plants that have not been affected by the cold weather are the roses. I thought surely that the flowers would be damaged by the cold, but so far there are still a great many lovely blooms. The Knockouts are still putting out flowers, in fact, they seem to love the cold.

An especially appropriate named rose that is unaffected by the cold temperatures is Iceberg.



Even with lows in the high twenties, this little rosebush is putting out the flowers. I have cut a few to place with the red flowers that are decorating the the mantel for Christmas. It would be nice if they would continue to bloom so that we would have these roses for Christmas decorations.

White Out

“White Out”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I love white flowers. I love roses. I love white roses.

Gardening in the hot, humid south means that some plants struggle here. Roses are one of those plants. Because of our high humidity, if you want to grow roses without having to spray, that means no hybrid teas. The few roses that I grow are floribundias, Ghinas, or Knockouts. The white rose I have is Iceberg. While it does bloom very well in the spring, the three I have just seem to struggle. I think they just aren’t real happy here. That is why I was looking forward to the development of a white Knockout rose.

I have had great success with the Knockouts. While I have one of the red and one pink Knockouts, it is Blushing that is my favorite. There are now four of that one in the garden, but it is a white one that I really wanted. Last year I read about White Out (Rosa Radwhite) from the developer of the Knockout roses. While this is not a Knockout rose, it is the closest they have come to a white Knockout. It is supposed to bloom as profusely as a Knockout, but reportedly, it is not quite as disease resistant.



I found White Out when my sister and I went shopping last Friday. (The above photo was taken before new buds opened, so the flower is a little damaged from being in the car.) I was so excited to find this rose. I had been looking online since I had not seen it locally, but the shipping costs can be very high for container roses. This rose is supposed to be resistant to diseases and a prolific bloomer like the Knockouts. The flowers have been described as cream white, but I think they are really white.

I am hopeful that this new rose will perform well in my garden. If it does, I will be planting more. I can’t have enough white flowers.

Maturing Garden

“Maturing Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

While I have been gardening for many years, it is only in the last few years that my garden has started to look like I envisioned it eventually would. It seems as if the garden is finally starting to mature. Plants that were small for so many years have, it seems, suddenly grown big enough to make a nice showing. Because I have a very shady garden with clay soil, it has taken longer for plants to reach a good size as it has taken a while to improve the soil. Of course, the shade didn’t help, either.

One plant that is showing it has matured is a climbing rose bush my mother gave me. For years, this rose has grown slowly and put out a sparse flush of blooms. This year, however, it is finally looking good. If it was in more sun, this would have happened a lot sooner, but I am glad there is a good show this year.



I am not sure of the name of this rose as my mother started with a cutting from a friend. I do know that it was very popular in the ’60’s, and it is often seen in the older neighborhoods around here.



One of the nice aspects of this rose is the cluster of blooms it makes. Since the flowers open at different times, there is often many shades of pink in the cluster. This may be why some people call this rose Seven Sisters, but I am not convinced this is the correct name for this particular climber.



I am just happy this rose has finally gotten some growth on it. I have noticed, especially this spring, that many of the plants in my garden seem to have grown into their mature size. Finally, the garden is starting to look like I always hoped it would.

Too Successful

“Too Successful”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

What a wonderful spring weekend! One just couldn’t ask for a lovelier weekend than the one we have had here in the Gulf South. The temperatures were cool and perfect for working outside. This turned out to be a great weekend to get some of those long neglected garden chores done.

Saturday was spent cleaning out more garden beds that have been taken over by Virginia creeper, star jasmine, and wild honeysuckle. I finally finished one bed, and some of another. I stopped working when I discovered poison ivy growing into the garden from the neighbor’s yard. These invasive vines certainly have become rampant over the winter and will probably take several more working weekends until they are under control.

Today, I had decided, would be a relaxing, “just putter around the garden” day. I moved a few daylilies around to better, sunnier locations, and started clearing out a small area of a garden bed that had been taken over by some too successful ground cover.

Speaking of too successful plants, the Cherokee roses (Rosa laevigata) have started blooming along the highways. This rose is very easy to grow and has become naturalized in the Southeast. You see it all over in the early spring. This is a beautiful rose, but it gets BIG. It is supposed to have 12 to 15 foot canes, but the ones near our house seem much longer as they sprawl through the bushes and trees as you can see in the following photo.



When we first moved here and I saw these flowers, I couldn’t wait to find out what they were. I wanted these big, white flowers for my garden, but a wise neighbor warned me away from this rose – too big for my property. The mass of flowers is spectacular.


I am a sucker for white flowers, but I will have to enjoy these as they grow somewhere else besides my garden.



They are very pretty, and even though every spring I want them in my garden, I have to be realistic and enjoy a few sprays of white in a vase.