Saturday, February 14, 2015

Megan's Gift Multiplies

Just before Christmas, Megan came into my office with a cheerful glow on her face and a red and white striped miniature rose in her hand.  Megan said, "Merry Christmas!" as she offered me this rose she had picked up at the store knowing that I loved roses.  It was such a sweet gesture from the housekeeper of the church to me as the pastor.  I put it in the widow of my office and enjoyed every bloom it gave, but by the end of January it had stopped blooming so I brought it home to get it ready for its next phase of life.
What most people don't know is that the pretty miniature rose you buy at the store is usually three or four plants of the same rose growing in one pot.  The nursery packs them in tight to give the biggest display in the quickest time possible.  They often call them "Party Roses" knowing that they will make a nice show for a week or two and then the rose usually dies from neglect.   If you look close you can see that the branches do not originate from a common source but there are four plants crammed into a very small pot. 
The roots have grown so that they are tangled together, but if you gently work them apart you can separate the plants until you have (in this case) four separate plants ready to be potted up and given a life of their own.  There will often be some of the roots that break off, but if you are careful you can save most of them and reduce the amount of shock the roses experience.
Now they are ready to pot up, let their roots grow out and get ready to plant in the rose bed in a month or so.  Individually each rose will become a strong plant.  I bought this handy set of plantable pots for the next phase of their lives.  I will transplant each of these in about a month so these pots should be perfect. 
While I was at it I did some work with my roses from Chamblee's.  Did you know that when nurseries propagate plants they take several cuttings and put them in the same pot.  They do this so that if one or two of the new starts do not begin to root they will in all likelihood have at least one that makes it.  My own experience with propagating roses from cuttings is that almost half of them will die with over half making new plants.  Some varieties are so vigorous you can hardly miss, while others can be very difficult to get started.  This means that it is very common that you will have multiple plants in each pot. 
In my order of Purple Rain there were actually four plants.  In Shreveport there were three plants, Glamis Castle had three, Dolly Parton had two, Sachet had two, and Rise N Shine had two.  Only Green Ice and Twilight Zone were single plants.   Once I went through all the new pots, we went from what looked like 10 roses to 23 separated and potted up.  What a fun way to multiply your roses.  Now I have more roses I can plant, and I can share many of them as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Just Can't Pass Chamblee's When You Are In East Texas

Angie and I made a bittersweet trip to Shreveport recently.  Her father's house is about to be sold and we needed to finish removing many of the personal items.  It was good to see Angie's brother and family but hard to work though another layer of grief after Clyde's death.  With a truck full of personal items we started our way back to Oklahoma knowing we would pass through Tyler, Texas.  I don't think it is possible for me to drive through Tyler without stopping at Chamblee's Rose Nursery, but with so little room I thought about not stopping.  As you would imagine my green thumb turned the steering wheel, and I found myself pulling into the familiar parking lot.
We are still in early February, so even greenhouse roses in Texas are just now coming out of dormancy.  A good thing as it will be another month before I will want to plant roses with new growth here in Oklahoma.  Even so, it was nice to see a few rose blooms as we walked our way through the two greenhouses they have open to the public.  The many other greenhouses have roses growing in various stages of getting ready for the market. 

This would be a good time to point out the three reasons I like to get roses from Chamblee's. 1. They grow roses that grow well in my area and they are actively working with the Earth Kind Roses program to provide roses to the public which will be healthy and vigorous plants through out their lives.  2. Chamblee's provides roses grown on their own roots rather than grafted to another rose's rootstock.  I believe this provides better plants for the long run.  3. They provide nice sized healthy plants at a very good price.  At $8.95 or $11.95 for one gallon plants, I spent just over $80 and left there with 8 plants.  They do provide 3 gallon plants which are much bigger, but I'm too cheap for that.
I could have easily bought many more, but it was hard enough finding room in the truck for the 8 I did buy.  They have so many varieties I would like to grow, and the plants look so healthy it took a great deal of restraint to stop when I did.  If there is anyway you can manage it, I think you should try to make the drive to Tyler, Texas this spring to visit Chamblee's and to visit the Tyler Rose Garden.  They are must see places for the Rosarian.  For that matter, add visiting the American Rose Society Garden in Louisiana just an hour down the road as well.
The roses I came home with show my unique and varied taste in roses.  The first three are miniatures: Rise N Shine, Green Ice, and Sachet.  I have had Green Ice before, but I think it did not survive the move.  Rise N Shine is a very healthy yellow mini which I have not grow before.  Sachet is a mauve/lavender miniature that has been around since 1985.  The next two are sentimental picks Shreveport, whose orange blended color I enjoy and it will remind us of Clyde since he so enjoyed living in Shreveport. This year I am also adding a hybrid tea, which is something I have not done in a long time. Dolly Parton, is a hybrid tea whose fragrant and very large blossoms are something I have always been drawn to but have never grown before.  With Shreveport and Dolly both sporting orange, I think I will put them on either side of the gate to the backyard and then flanked by the next roses.  These roses are less upright, shrub roses that follow my love of purple/lavender roses and are Purple Rain and Twilight Zone.  The orange and purple together may be too much, but it will be away from most of my other roses.  I also added a David Austin rose I have not grown before Glamis Castle.  I have not had good success with his white roses, but many people say that Glamis Castle is the best of these. I just want to give it another try, so here we go with Glamis Castle.  

With the 22 roses I recently moved here, that puts us at 30 roses that will be brand new to our yard.  This 30 does not include a couple I have ordered and will tell you about later, or the rose I was given by a beautiful young woman in our church or the seeding I found growing in my mother's garden.  As I started moving the roses I noticed what was clearly a young rose sprouting up underneath the red miniature moss rose Unconditional Love. I will tell you much more about these as the season comes on, but for now, take a visit to Chamblee's Rose Nursery either on-line or in person.  You will be glad you did.