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Time to prune roses in Sonoma County


Time to prune roses in Sonoma County


Welcome to our gardening adventure, let’s grow it together!

This is the month to start pruning and shaping your roses. You want to create air flow and shape to your rose bushes, which help their health and beauty. With up to 230 species of roses to choose from, they are a fun plant to care for and the rewards are so great in beauty, health and scent.

You might be asking, “What is she saying? What about the thorns and the diseases rose bushes get and how is that fun?” Yes, there is a bit of work involved when caring for roses, but there are many ways to help fight black spot and aphids, etc. There are also countless ways to enjoy them, aside from the beauty they add to your garden. You can create miniature rose gardens (which I’ll share more about in a moment) or dry the buds and partially opened blooms to accent gifts and decorations.

6 steps to pruning and prepping your roses for the coming year

In Sonoma County, because of our mild winters, we need to trick our roses into hibernation.

1.Strip away leaves to see canes. We want to create a bush that is vase shaped and open for air flow.

2.Cut all branches and stems to around half or a little lower. Remove all canes that are tangled, dead wood or skinny. Leave five or six main canes coming from base of plant that are facing out. Remove any suckers from around base of plant. Prune to outward facing bud nodes.

3.Clean all leaves and debris from around base of rose bush.

4.Spray with a copper-based fungicide approved for organic gardening such as Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide.

5.Mulch with organic compost or an organic soil booster.

6.Fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as EB Stone Organic Rose & Flower Food.

Roses are good for us!

Health benefits of rose petals: they contain polyphenols, which protect our cells from free-radical damage. Using the petals also has been shown to:

– Reduce risk of heart-disease

-Aid in diabetes management with hypoglycemic properties in the rose petals

-Increase metabolism

-Aid in weight-loss by reducing the accumulation of LDL (Low-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol)

-Aid in digestive disorders

-Act as a natural sedative that can reduce stress and calm the nerves

Happy garden, beautiful garden – non-hybridized roses attract a variety of bees, moths and butterflies, to name a few. Hybridized roses have less fragrance, nectar and pollen and therefore are not as good for attracting pollinators. Good pollinating plants that complement roses and keep blooming when the roses are not in bloom include salvia, monarda and agastache. A benefit of having more than just roses in your garden is that other plants will draw beneficial insects, such as syrphid or flower flies to the garden. The adult syrphid flies feed on pollen and nectar and while during the larval stage, they feed on aphids and other soft-bodies insects which love to suck all the goodness out of your roses.

Put it on, eat it up and drink it down for health

Rose petals can infuse liquids with flavor, be made into a syrup, drunk fresh or dried for tea – (try adding dried chamomile and lavender to the rose petals to make a great before bedtime drink), tossed with sugar to be used in cakes and desserts; and accent and beautify a salad. Also, rose hips contain some of the highest quantities of vitamin c as well as similar benefits as the petals and can be made into a delicious tea. Rose water or oil improves the quality of our skin, so add rose oil to your favorite lotion and cleanse your skin with rose water.

Creating a bonsai rose garden

If you like the idea of creating a bonsai or miniature rose garden, either pick up one of the small rose bushes at the grocery store or plant center. You can also start from ‘scratch’ by clipping a cutting from your favorite rose bush. Using a rose with small leaves and flowers also works well.

Creating your bonsai rose garden using a cutting:

1.Count down five leaf sections and cut below.

2.Cut off most of the leaves except the top one or two leaves.

3.Create a hole (chopsticks work well) in potting soil in a 4” or larger pot and gently put rose stem a few inches below surface of soil.

4.Water and keep soil slightly moist. Don’t let it completely dry out.

5.Wait until new leaves form and it becomes established before transferring to a bonsai or similar planter.

6.Fertilize once a month with solid organic fertilizer or liquid fertilizer every week. If leaves turn pale use extra iron fertilizer.

7.When rooted and established, gently remove rose plant from the pot. Chose a bonsai pot or something similar with holes. Wire in a small metal screen to block holes. Check online for best way to do this. Gently trim roots from tiny rose bush and place in bonsai pot and fill with bonsai soil.

8.Water approximately once a week. When established, you can submerge the whole plant in a bucket of water. When air bubbles have risen to the top, the bonsai has had enough water.

I am experimenting with adding other plants such as honey suckles to my little garden. You can also find tiny lawn ornaments and furniture that really add to the ambiance of your garden. Please email me and let me know how it is going with your little garden and what other plants and ornaments you have been able to add.

5 January gardening tasks:

1.Gently thin out and prune dormant conifers

2.Cut back ivy so that rodents don’t find a home under the foliage (Imagine having rat races under your ivy!). Rats love to forage on your garden plants, so you don’t want to create a rat city close by in a thick patch of ivy.

3.Purchase bare root plants such as fruit trees, shrubs and roses. If unable to plant at the moment put the roots of the plant in a bucket of water and plant as soon as possible.

4.Clean, oil and store tools out of the rain and moisture.

5.Have fun playing with more garden designs.

Please email your gardening thoughts and questions to Val at cab.valery@gmail.com. Together we can help each other find solutions to our gardening needs and dreams.

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