Thursday, November 29, 2012

Putting Down Roots

Earlier this year, I announced that I will no longer be propagating and growing masses and masses of roses for sale.  The business of a retail specialty nursery, along with maintaining and expanding my rose gardens, was too much work for one person ... especially one person who wants to do anything else at all with their time.

I'm still rooting roses, though.  Instead of producing the same popular roses over and over every year, now I have a limited number of roses that I am rooting for my own garden, for friends, and there may be some leftover that I could offer for sale.  We'll see how it goes. 

Rooting roses isn't rocket science.  Years ago, I attended a propagation workshop given by a rose friend, and the method she teaches changed my life!  She showed how the top of a two-liter soda bottle will fit into the bottom half-gallon milk jug, making a little self-contained greenhouse.  Genius!! 

My collection of jugs of cuttings live on a shelf in the north-facing window of my basement workshop.

 
 
I keep the lid on the soda-bottle top until the cuttings show good root development ... like this:
 
 
 
To harden the cuttings to outside conditions, I simply remove the screw lid on the soda bottle to let them acclimate.   (Look at the first photo and you will see a couple of jugs without lids.)   After a week or so without a lid, the cuttings are ready to be carefully separated and planted into small pots.
 
I had quite a few containers of cuttings that were ready to pot up, so I spent some time doing just that yesterday afternoon.  It seems that one of the cuttings in this container was being impatient and was already heading for the sky  ... I've never had one grow through the lid like this before.  (These are cuttings of a yellow Tea rose at Hollywood Cemetery.  I think it may be 'Isabella Sprunt', but I'm not sure.)

 
 
Look at these beautiful roots!!
 
 
 
It feels wonderful to have my hands in dirt ... no wonder I can't keep a decent manicure.  After a couple of hours, I had potted up 42 new plants.  I will let these little babies settle into their pots for a few days, sitting under the grow lights in the basement window, then I will take them to live in the greenhouse for the rest of the winter.
 
 
 
Speaking of the greenhouse, I should go out there and tidy things up a bit.  I practically shoved all my potted roses in there to protect them in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and it's going to take some effort to get them arranged in any sort of logical order.  Working in the greenhouse doesn't feel like work at all, though ... it's warm and comfortable in there on sunny days.  For example, our current outdoor temperature is 50 degrees, and my remote thermometer in the kitchen window tells me that the inside of the greenhouse is 77.9  Shirt sleeve weather!  What a great way to pass the time till spring.

7 comments:

NanaDiana said...

Oh- What a wonderful pre-Christmas thing to do. You are genius at it,Connie. Blessings- xo Diana

ps. Pop by if you get a chance and wish my little SweetCheeks a Happy Birthday- she is going to read all the comments.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

You are so good with those Roses! Love the way you are so happy with 'roots'!! Glad you are still growing new Roses...for yourself and friends is just enough! Hugs, Linda

Ms. A said...

Ooooh... they look nice and healthy!

Low Tide High Style said...

You know how I have greenhouse envy, and I can't wait to see what new roses you have rooted. I will try and take a pic out my window!

Kat

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I love your posts on propagation! I don't know why really... I just do. And then to read your description of your greenhouse and its balmy environs... Well that was just icing on the cake for me.

Karen said...


I'm still in awe of your building skills!!.... let alone rose growing, which is not a piece of cake, despite your best efforts to insist it is :-)

You've got the touch.

Lady Courtney said...

You are living my dream, green house, propagating roses...my green house will come one day...remember me if there are any leftovers.. ;) And you are always invited to come to my house for clippings...donna

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