Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cut Back and Dig Up!

When I first started ordering roses, I would order them as bare-root plants that came in the early spring as plants that were cut back to about nine inches tall and a healthy root system on the other end.  As I prepared my roses to make this migrant journey, I thought of those boxes of roses I would eagerly open each spring imagining their coming blooms.  Now the roses I order come as much smaller plants in small containers of soil, but the roses I am preparing to move are going to follow the bare root images in my mind from years gone by.  I worked through the garden selecting the roses that will make the move and those that will stay to make a manageable garden for the new resident.

As I decided that a rose would move, I cut it back the week before it was to be dug up hoping this would give it some time to adjust to the idea.  I picked my day of spring break, got up early and I dug up thirty roses.  When I trimmed them, I had carefully gone through each plant deciding just how far back it was to be cut off.  I was trimming them back farther than I really like, but as I was digging them up I realized that I had not cut them back nearly enough to make their transportation easy.  The first roses I dug up were probably two feet tall above the ground.  Those first roses with their generous size were packed and loaded, but quickly I began making a second cut to about a foot tall as they were loaded up.
Notice the sucker being sent out from the roots.  This will expand the size of the plant when it emerges.
As I was planting them in my mother's garden, I saw just how clearly from one end of the row to the other they decreased in size.  For convenience I dug one long trench and placed them side by side far too close for my comfort and certainly their's if they were to stay long.  After years of hearing me say, "I would rather plant a two dollar bush in a ten dollar hole than a ten dollar bush in a two dollar hole," my mother mockingly asked me if that was a ten dollar hole as she brought me a glass of water to quench my thirst.  Knowing that I was borrowing her garden space, I politely smiled.  Certainly the soil qualified but it was not my best effort.

          The list of the roses that made the move:
Distant Drums
Prairie Star
Jude The Obscure
St. Swithun
William Shakespeare 2000
Fair Bianca
Golden Celebration
Jeri Jennings

Lavender Crystal
Tattooed Lady
Red Cascade
Treasure Trail
Unconditional Love
Mel Hulse
Belinda's Dream
Siren's Keep
Rhapsody In Blue
Pam's Choice
Carlin's Rhythm
Moore's Striped Rugosa

          Small plants potted up and ready to move on day one.
Autumn Splendor
Abraham Darby
Linda Campbell
Vineyard Song
Lavender Lassie 

        To be Cut Back and Moved after the Spring Bloom
Climbing Rainbow's End
Red Moss Rambler

Only a rose nut would even consider this much work.


  1. You're right ... only a rose nut! I hope your move goes well, and that your roses come through it and prosper.

  2. What's going to happen to Prague Rose Garden when you leave?

  3. That is a good question. I had hoped to find someone who would have an interest that I could coach but haven't found them yet. The FFA offically taking care of the garden so maybe they will step up. There are a couple of people I think might take it up as it declines.

    If there is someone out there I would be glad to help with advice. The roses are healthy, well planted, and well mulced. In the next couple of years it will only need light prunning, someone to turn the water on and off in July and August, and weeding. I've got a couple of months before I move so hopefully we will find a caretaker.

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