Pruning Roses

Truth be known, I do like roses, but not their seemingly intense ‘upkeep’. As a child, I recall vases on the kitchen table filled with sweetly scented roses my mom grew in the backyard. Ahhh…heavenly!

The best time to prune most roses is in Spring. The exceptions are climbing roses which should be pruned after flowering because they flower on older wood. Truth be known, I prune my few rose plants when I have time, usually in Spring after winter-kill, and throughout the growing season. If my rugosa (shrub rose) gets too large (shading too much of my lavender border) or there’s a wayward branch on the climbing rose, it gets pruned! I avoid pruning late in fall which may promote a flush of growth – you want the plants to ‘sleep’ during winter.

To prune, use strong sharp shears. Make the cut about 1/4 inch above an outside growing bud/leaf. The cut should be made at a 45 degree angle to encourage water to drain down and away from the bud. Cutting to an outside bud will encourage new growth to extend outward and allow good circulation by keeping the center open. Never leave stubs as they encourage ‘pests’ and disease to enter the plant.  Also, remove any ‘dead’ or damaged canes and crisscrossed branches that may rub on each other. 

Good cultural practices include choosing cold-hardy roses for your area, 6-8 hours of sun, fertile, well-drained soil, regular watering (about 1/2 inch water per week) with a soaker-type hose early in the day, avoid wetting the foliage, fertilize regularly during months of growth and check for insect damage to keep your roses healthy! Always disinfect your pruning shears with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

So, how about a simple ROSE fiber project ~ a rose corsage for mom (or a dear friend) ~ on Mother’s Day perhaps?

My ‘rose’ was needle felted from red wool roving (but you may choose any color ‘rose’) for the individual rose petals and green wool roving for the leaves. Attach (sew or glue) a bar pin to the back.  This rose corsage may be adapted to whatever material you have on-hand such as a recycled/reused felted wool sweater – just cut out petals and leaves and stitch together.  

If you have ever examined a rose, it’s made of many individual petals. You may needle felt as many petals as you like to obtain the desired size of your corsage, but leave a ‘fuzzy tail’ to attach as you go along to ‘build’ your rose. Just keep attaching concentric circles, staggering the petals as if laying brick or shingles. My rose started out with a ‘bud’ center, then three petals, a round of five petals, and finally ending with a round of six petals. And so on…

Similarly, make as many leaves as desired and attach to the back of the rose. You may choose to KNIT a simple  leaf that you may or may not FELT after knitting…you get to decide:

To begin, CO 5 sts.

Row 1: (RS) K2, yo, k1, yo, k2 – 7 sts.

Row 2 and all even-numbered rows: Purl.

Row 3: K3, yo,k1, yo, k3, – 9 sts.

Row 5: Ssk, k5, k2tog – 7 sts.

Row 7: Ssk, k3, k2tog – 5 sts.

Row 9: Ssk, k1, k2tog – 3 sts.

Row 11: Sl 1, k2tog, psso – 1 st. Fasten off.