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.

Rose Pruning Time

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



The last week of January to the first week of February is the time I prune my roses. They have usually started blooming again, and new growth is starting. It breaks my heart to cut off flower buds at this time, but it is necessary for better flowering later.

It is also at this time that I will take some of those cuttings and try to root them. I have been fairly successful in rooting new roses, so I thought I would try again this year.

This year I am trying to root a red rose from my mother’s garden. When I went by her house last Thursday, I fulfilled my promise to prune her roses since she is no longer physically able to do so. I took several of the trimmings from her red single rose to root. I tried this last year, but unfortunately took only one red cutting and several pink ones which I didn’t really want. She has the red and pink planted together, and I must have confused them when cutting them back last year. This year, however, I had marked the red one so I would be sure and get the right one.

Because of work, I had to keep these cuttings in water until today. After re-cutting the ends and dipping them in rooting powder, I planted them in containers.



Now, I will just keep them damp (we have high humidity here, so no having to cover them with plastic) and in a shady area for a few weeks, and then I should have some new rose bushes for my garden. If too many for me to use roots, I’ll just share with my sisters.

I really do like this red rose, but, more importantly, it is from my mother’s garden. It will be something I will always have to remember her by.

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).



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.

Working in the Garden

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

Today was a great day to work in the garden. It was sunny and mild with a high temperature of 73 degrees. It was great to get out in short sleeves and work in the garden.

I did a lot of clean up work – cutting back winter damaged plants, cleaning leaves out of entry garden, raking up fallen camellia flowers, etc. I also moved tender plants from their protected area and placed them around the garden. Most of these, I placed in semi shady spots until they get used to being outside then I’ll move them to sunnier areas.

I also used the sunny, dry day to fertilize the cool season annuals I had planted in the fall. When I planted them, I added a little slow release fertilizer, but it is used up by now. With the warm, sunny days we have been having, these annuals need a shot of fertilizer about now. Of course, I only fertilized the cool season annuals since it is too early to start fertilizing anything else.

One chore I had been wanting to get to for a few weeks now was finally accomplished. I cut back all my ornamental grasses. I wait to do this in the spring rather than the fall. I think the grass comes back from the winter better and faster when pruned in the spring. The purple fountain grass, that I grow in containers placed in urns, was looking wild and really needed cutting back.



I have had two urns of purple fountain grass for years marking the entry to the side garden. This year the containers seem overgrown and will need to be divided. That job will have to wait until we have had a few more weeks of warm weather. At least they look neater with a “hair cut.”



After I finished with the clean up chores I had planned to do today, I went on to planting my White Out rose. I had bought this last fall and decided to wait until spring to plant it since I wanted to place it where another rose was and that rose should be dormant to transplant. Well, today was the day, but before I could plant it, I had to dig up an Iceberg rose first. Then, of course, it is where to plant the Iceberg? I finally decided to put the Iceberg in a large container, and then planted the White Out rose. By then, I was tired and ready to call it a day.

I love days like today. Nothing can be better than sunny, bug-free, pleasant days spent outside in my garden.

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.

Rose and Bug

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

The rose and bug – sounds like some English pub, doesn’t it? But, no, it is simply a literal statement about this photograph of the Mutabilis rose and its little visiting friend.



We have been having very cool weather lately especially at night, but I have been seeing these bugs a great deal. They have been all over one of the blooming sasanqua camellia’s flowers. You would think with the cooler weather that these bugs would be gone. I guess it just has to be a bit colder to get rid of the bugs.

Anyway, this rose certainly is a welcome sight.

October Roses

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

Here on the Gulf Coast, October is one of our nicest months. One of the reasons I love this time of year is that our roses start blooming again. Because of our intense summer heat, most roses bloom only sporadically, but with the first cool spell of October, the garden is again filled with roses. When the real cold weather shows up, roses will again slow down but not stop completely until spring.



The Knockout roses are the first to start blooming again as the above pink one shows, but others, such as Iceberg, a lovely white, are also starting to flower. In the next few days, I should have several photos of all the roses that are already in bud.

There are some chores that have to be done for a late year bloom period. A few weeks ago, I did a light pruning of all the roses in anticipation of autumn flowering. I also very lightly fertilized them since our first frost is around December 1st or after. Most years we don’t have our first frost until mid-December, so a light fertilizing won’t hurt. This month is also one of our driest, so that means making sure these shrubs stay watered so there will be more roses.

With all the other fall flowers starting to show such as Mexican bush sage, having the roses flush out just makes everything so much nicer. This spring, I did not plant many flowering annuals, instead relying on foliage plants for color. After a summer of few flowers, it is nice to have so many fall bloomers show up.

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.

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