Roses in the Northwest…

Growing roses here in the Northwest area isn’t easy. I cannot tell you how much of the roses I have worked with here at Fishtail Cottage are honestly trial and error.  I tend to be attracted to Old Roses because of their fantastic fragrances.  However, they are more susceptible to disease.  Yes, sometimes, I give up on one and start over with a new one. (below is a photo of one of my garden roses “Winchester Cathedral”)
Before beginning any trimming, make sure you use sharpened sheers so that you have a nice cut and do not tear your branches.
006This time of year is the best time to get our established roses ready for the upcoming bloom season.  But first we must take a careful look at each plant individually.  Let’s first start with dead branches.  If your rose shows sings of dead branches – you must immediately cut the branch to the main branch or at least to the piece where life is showing again. 
007Next look for any old blooms and snip them off.  Many of last years blooms may turn into rose hips.  Be sure to cut those off as well to encourage new growth on what has been your dormant shrub.
008After dead heading any old blooms and rose hips ~ focus on shaping your rose branches to ensure a healthy plant. Roses here in the Northwest need to ’breath’. To allow roses to breath, air to flow properly through the branches to prevent disease.  See in this photo the branch that is growing so close to the center stem.  If I leave this branch alone, and new growth begins the branches will almost suffocate themselves allowing mildew to form and start your never ending fight of trying to keep beautiful roses.  Thinning out your branches will absolutely help to get your season off on the right foot.
010Next you should take a look at how much your rose bush has grown since you last trimmed it.  I usually will trim all of mine down to about the height of my knees this time of year.  This photo shows a new bud coming off of a main branch…if you are already seeing these where you live ~ be sure to cut it just after the new bud. 009 If you look closely, you can even see new growth here starting at the base of the leaf. If you are cutting a branch like this you should cut just after this leaf and you will see healthy new growth within the next couple weeks. Shaping your roses is good for your roses and encourages more blooms.
Okay – now that you have shaped your rose bush, dead headed and trimmed off the dead branches.  You need to carefully inspect each and every leaf.  Yes, it sounds tedious – well, it actually is tedious…but you must do it to see healthy rose bushes in your garden. 005 This photo shows Black Spot – we all have it and the only way to remove it, is to remove each leaf individually.  If the base of the branch you are working with is firm, you can simply pull off the leaf by pulling down and it should snap off. if your branch is flimsy, snip it off with a garden snipping tool, or just use house scissors. If there are any of these leaves that have fallen onto the ground you must pick them up – if you don’t, the black spot will return to your shrub through the root system.  DO NOT put these leaves in your compost!!!!  At first your shrub will look naked – but will have new growth in just a few short weeks.
Another issue with Roses in the Northwest is white mildew.  This can happen here because of all of the spring rain and cloudy days. Just snip off the effected areas – like I recommended above to eliminate this fungus.  Again, DO NOT put in your compost.  Diseased parts of your roses should be destroyed.


This is what healthy growth will look like – if you see anything else, remove it!

Another frustrating visitor to the Rose that will show up soon in our gardens are aphids.  In fact, I squished a few today when I was out pruning my roses. 
These horrible little insects will lay their eggs on our new buds which disrupts the formation of the buds causing holes in our newest blooms.  The only thing to do – is snip the bud off.  it will never recover from this initial hole where the eggs were laid – not to mention you don’t their babies devouring the next bloom that shows up on your plant.  Many tips you can do to keep aphids at bay – is keep your plant healthy using the techniques I shared with you above.  Aphids are more likely to attack weak plants.  In the morning ~ I sometimes will go out and use a forceful stream of plain water from the hose will send them crashing to the ground which breaks their jaw…they cannot eat with a broken jaw – therefore you will not see them return to your roses.  Bugs in the garden is one of the reasons I allow my hens to roam the garden…they keep bugs like these to a minimal.  You can also make a mixture of 5 tablespoons liquid dish soap, a table spoon of vegetable oil to a gallon of water and spritz your plants.  I have to laugh at the idea of my grandparents swearing that when they were young it was the soapy laundry water and the cigarette ashes and the spit from chewing tobacco on the porch make their roses so gorgeous.
So if you are in the Northwest area – get out in your gardens within the next couple weeks and get your roses ready for the upcoming season!  I am happy to answer any questions and or help with anything I didn’t mention here.
Happy Pruning! To see what I am linking to this week – please check my “Cottage Links” label…xoxo, tracie
PS – Follow Fishtail Cottage on Facebook / Pinterest


Thank You for the growing tips. Im so eager to see the roses and the cat mint bloom in our garden once again..........Tallulah
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Sandy said…
I have 7 rose bushes and yesterday I did an inspection of each.. they look sad to say the least but do have new growth and a few new buds... thank you for these tips! Today I'm going to follow your instructions and snip each!
Happy Spring friend!
NanaDiana said…
Sounds like you know what you are talking about! I don't have any roses at this house...and don't know if I will because we plan on selling soon. I do love them and miss my beautiful bushes. I hope to re-establish some gardens when we move.

Don't you HATE those aphids? UGH- xo Diana
Interesting that in your area old roses are the most susceptible to problems. That is not usually the case and is why we still have old roses from the 17-1800's. I doubt the newly bred roses will be around that long. Here in central Florida I don't want any other than old roses. I do have a Knockout rose but, it is not doing well. Looks like you are a great gardener.

Thanks for the tips. It's difficult growing Rose's here in northern Michigan as well!
Thank you SO much for the columbine seeds you mailed to me...what a sweet surprise!!!
Unknown said…
So, my Cecil Brunner is over my house...think I need to get up there!
deb ;)
Casa Mariposa said…
I've gone through quite a few roses, too, before finding ones that can take our heat/humidity and are disease resistant. I grow Westerland, Night Owl, Sceptre d'Isle, Jude the Obscure, William Shakespeare 2000, and am adding Abraham Darby and Graham Thomas this spring. Your Winchester Cathedral is beautiful! I give my roses dry dog food mixed into the soil. It sounds dumb but it brings worms which fertilize the roses. They also love dried, chopped banana peels for potassium.
Snooks said…
Thank you for posting this great information. I do not currently have roses but intend to get some. Roses are one of my favorites.
@ 3 Beeze Homestead
HI Tracie! Boy, I sure wish my garden looked like your's. Mine looks more like, well, let's just be polite and say it sure doesn't look like your's! LOL! Thank you for the great rose tips! Altho' I'm on the opposite side of the US, the information is very useful and can be followed here. Hope you have a great weekend! xoxo, Leena
I love to read your gardening tips. We are having a warmer weekend this weekend and I am still cleaning out my flower beds, roses are next on the list.


PS. Did the Coopers Hawk come back? Mine was here this morning and got a finch :( I did look them up and they do like to return to a feeding site. I hope you haven't lost more chickens!
Hi Tracie,
Thanks for all the great tips on rose care. I didn't know I could trim up my roses now-guess I'll get out there next week and get them cleaned up for the new growing season. We seem to have the mentioned problems here in the northeast too. Those aphids look awful (gross!). Happy gardening!
{oc cottage} said… talk of aphids....noooo!

m ^..^
Heaven's Walk said…
Hey Tracie! That is one beautiful rose! I think I need a couple for my garden this year! :) I spent the entire day out in the garden today pruning and raking. Glorious!!!!

xoxo laurie
Kim, USA said…
Thanks for the great info. I would trim my roses this time. Haven't done it for years.

Outdoor Wednesday
Unknown said…
they are simply gorgeous I will never grow them I'm the simple sort when it comes to gardening but I'm your newest blog party fan I can just come here to dream
Unknown said…
Your roses are gorgeous-my favorite-thanks for the wonderful tips-lucky I found you and am following so I can keep coming back for more lessons-stop by for a visit!
The care of roses doesn't anyone that grows them need this information. Great that you shared. I will be lingering longer later but for now great tips for controlling those beautiful pesty gorgeous bushes. Come by and see me when you get a minute.. Have a great day.
deb said…
Thanks so much for all the info. Aren't aphids the most bothersome!?
Tracie, your Winchester Cathedral roses are gorgeous. Thanks for the info on how to trim and care for roses. I have 4 rose bushes that I need to get out there and trim.
Marijke said…
Hi Tracy, Roses are not the easiest one's to grow. In my garden here and there a flower but no busy wonderful shrubs full of flowers too.
Have a great day.
HeatherF1 said…
Do you spray your roses at all? If I do, I use an organic spray. I also use the granules down at the base. I haven't done a ton with them this year though. I periodically have pulled out roses that are not "up to snuff" and are too high-maintenance for ones with better disease resistance. Funny, but my "Jude the Obscure" hasn't done much this year, and is now blooming and looking pretty good. I will also miss my "Elina", a hybrid tea that was here when we bought the house. I haven't been able to find it anywhere since it is an older rose, but it has been a great ivory rose in my garden for years with little fuss.
I really need to get sharpeners for my trimmers.

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