Monday, February 29, 2016

Baby Roses in the Basement

One corner of my basement workshop is set up as a place to nurture my fall rose cuttings and to hold over any resulting plants till it's safe for them to live outside in the spring.  It feels wonderful to work with green, growing things in winter, while the world outside is brown and dormant.  It's the main way that this gardener survives the downtime of winter.





My light set-up is simple ... a chrome-plated shelf rack from Costco, and each shelf is fitted with a cheap four-foot two-bulb fluorescent light fixture.  One bulb is cool spectrum, one bulb is warm spectrum.  This is not as efficient as the expensive grow lights, but it does the job that I need.





This year's crop of roses is very special to me.  They are some of the rare ones from my garden, along with plants from the collection at Monticello's Tufton Farm.  A few of these babies are destined to be traded with rose friends.  Most of them will be sent to rose nurseries, for use as stock plants ... with the goal of making them available in commerce in the future.  This is the best way I know to preserve these roses, and to do what I can to insure their continued survival.







In addition to the roses, I also have some baby fig plants.  These came from cuttings that I took last October at an abandoned service station in Louisa County, Virginia.  (I love figs almost as much as I love roses.)

There's a Magnolia seedling in there, too, that I found growing underneath one of my roses last fall.


In the next week or so, I will package up the Florida-bound plants and ship them to their new home at Rose Petals Nursery.  The rest of them will stay safely in the basement till the end of March.  That's when I plan to transplant them into six-inch pots and begin to transition them to their life outdoors in the garden.

"Preserving history one rose at a time" 

(This is the motto at Rose Petals, and it perfectly expresses exactly how I feel about what I do!)

Click HERE to go to my propagation photo tutorial.  It's really, really easy!

18 comments:

  1. I am imagining all those roses and smiling. My Mom and I were discussing roses the other day and she said the old one's smell good. I told her about you and your heritage Roses, she was excited to hear that someone was keeping those old roses going.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. There are few of us crazies out there, working to keep the old roses out there and available.

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  2. OK I am totally in awe of your ability to do this. Wow! What a wonderful skill to have, and what a great way to ensure these roses always grow and remain available and in people's gardens. I also love fig trees, one of the best parts about living where we do is growing them in abundance. Plus they are great shade in the hot weather!

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    1. Propagation is so easy!! The hardest part about it is finding the right time to take the cuttings, which can vary with different types of roses and other plants. Some are better right after they flower. Fall is a better time for others. It's mostly a matter of experimenting to see what's right for your area. (I just edited this post to include a link to my propagation tutorial. Seriously, it's how I make all the roses that I root from cuttings. I have also used it to root hydrangea, lilac, Rose of Sharon, and those figs.)

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  3. Bright and new. Shiny and green. These are lovely! And they are exciting to see in late winter. :)

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    1. Shiny and green because they get a spritz of insecticidal soap to keep the aphids and spidermites at bay. Pests like that LOVE indoor roses, and babies like this with their little root systems are very susceptible to damage from these critters. They also have 1/4 of a teaspoon of Miracle Gro in their water to give them a little bit of food as fuel. When spring comes, and it's warm and sunny, they practically burst out of the pots when they get going.

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  4. Thank you for your work in preserving old roses, one rose at a time. I love that.

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    1. Cydney, who owns Rose Petals, is such a dear soul. She and I hit it off instantly when we met a few years ago … I love it when that happens!

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  5. RPN doesn't take your kindness lightly. We are honored that you have chosen us to spread the wealth. The love of heritage roses is responsible for our friendship and will forever keep us connected! Thank you sweet friend♥

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  6. Looking quite healthy and ready for their futures.

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    Replies
    1. The future ... that's exactly what these little babies represent. Without crazy determination from us rose people, some of these varieties would have no future.

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  7. This post makes me soooo happy!

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    1. I think you feel the same way I do ... this has been a BAD year for spring fever. Warm weather from time to time only makes the situation worse. I want SO badly to get out and do so real garden work, planting and stuff, but I have to wait. Caring for these little babies helps to get me through the rough times when winter seems like it will never end.

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    2. Only thing to do is roam around the yard, see what bulbs are up, what roses are budding, pull the occasional chickweed. Spring can't get here fast enough for me. It is coming though!!! And I am READY!

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  8. They look wonderfully healthy. RPN is a blessed recipient. I know Cydney must be excited to have these special lovelies coming to their nursery gardens.

    My roses from you and the ones from RPN are doing well. :-) Roses make me feel happy and thankful.

    Happy Rose growing ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I think I'm more excited than Cydney is. It's wonderful to know that these rare babies are being shared around to other gardens, with the potential for spreading them far and wide through her nursery.

      Hearing about your garden, roses and everything else, is another thing that helps me make it through winter.

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  9. Its so wonderful that some of these roses are headed to Rose Petals Nursery in Florida. As a Florida rose grower, I'm happy to see roses growing in my state as there are so few who grow roses in South Florida and I try to encourage it as much as possible. :)

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