Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Rose Gardening Calendar

It is only natural, at the beginning of this new year, for me to look ahead and plan for the gardening year to come.  All of the roses in the garden are sleeping right now, but they will awaken in a few months, and there will be much to do.  I am often asked about my rose care program.  Last year I wrote this all out and put it into a one page handout, which I will share with you ... along with some of my favorite photos from 2010.

Bella Donna

A Year in My Rose Garden

January/February. On those few nice winter days we get, work on my ramblers and climbers. Remove old canes that are woody and flowered out, and rearrange the remaining canes on their structures to make room for new basal canes in the coming season. Evaluate once-blooming Old Garden Roses, reducing their height by up to one-half, and removing bloomed-out canes, if necessary.


March. Prune repeat-blooming roses when the forsythia is blooming. Pull winter weeds, reapply mulch, test irrigation system.

"Portland from Glendora"

April. Begin fungicide spray program as soon as roses leaf out, for best success at blackspot prevention. Mix fungicide according to label directions, and spray at the recommended interval. (I use Bayer Advanced Disease Control every 14 days) Fertilize roses as soon as the soil warms and the roses are growing vigorously.


May. Enjoy the roses, because there are new ones every day! Continue fungicide spray program. Remember to water the roses if there hasn’t been sufficient rain. Modern roses will benefit from an application of organic fertilizer toward the end of the month.

The Rose Field

June. Most of the roses should be blooming really well this month. Japanese Beetles will arrive at the end of the month, just as the roses are finishing their first flush of bloom. (I hand pick beetles, or just ignore them)

"Arcata Pink Globe"

July/August. Modern roses are usually resting in the heat of summer. Chinas, Teas, and Polyanthas continue their show. Be sure the roses are getting enough water. Pull weeds, or spray herbicide, as necessary. Spray fungicide every two weeks.

Zephirine Drouhin

September. Enjoy the beginning of the fall flush of flowers. Apply organic fertilizer. Continue fungicide spray program.


October. Fall flush continues, especially for the Polyanthas. I usually need one last fungicide application in the middle of the month.

White Pet

November. The roses are beginning to sleep for the winter, as temperatures cool and daylight gets shorter. I don’t winter-protect my roses, but you can mound mulch or soil at the base of more-tender roses after a couple of hard freezes.

Marie Pavie

December. Enjoy the Holidays, and dream of the rose season to come. The cycle starts over again in January.

Saint Nicholas


  1. I am in love with the Arcata variety. Is this hardy? Where would it be happy in a yard? If you say it's a good fit, I think I'de like to order three for somewhere around This Old House.

  2. Looking at your gorgeous rose pictures makes me long for spring and summer! Thanks for all of the great month by month info!

    Kat :)

  3. A labor intensive schedule, but so worth it for the beautiful roses! I'm making room for some climbers this year, my resolution:)

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for putting in the effort.

  5. Connie....absolutely love Crepuscle...and almost cried when I saw it is a Noisette...don't think it'll make it in my zone 5.

  6. I only have two rose bushes and I miss them during the winter! Thank you for this very helpful calendar.

  7. What a delightful (and informative) blog! Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge!

  8. This was a wonderful post for month to month. I hand pick beetles too, but I can not imagine picking them from so many rose like you have. You rose photos look like or are better than those in magazines. Do you write or submit to any?

  9. Thanks, Everyone! I put this into such a concise form to prove to folks that rose gardening isn't rocket science ... it's a series of simple tasks, performed on a relatively flexible schedule, and the results in your garden are WELL worth the effort.

    It's good to see you here, Tim!

    I have never thought to submit my photos for publication. Most people are so afraid of roses, I guess I'm afraid that rose writing would have a pretty limited audience. People read this blog, tho, so maybe there's more interest than I think.

  10. So, I just wanted to touch base with you and give you the measurements of my tent. It should fit just perfectly in The Rose Field (otherwise known as my new home), and I would like to be parked right next to Zephirine, if that's at all possible. She's going to be my new bff, and I'm assuming she won't like it in my hood so I'll just have to come to her. (So many of the cool rose kids snub me and my ridiculous climate on a regular basis.) Crepuscule is my second buddy choice, but I may need to come up with some form of nickname for her. What do you think of Creppie? And if the whole tent thing doesn't work out, I'm happy to stay in your newly renovated guest house. That gable is the coolest thing I have ever laid eyes on. Ever.
    But seriously Connie, the rose post is making me giddy. They are all so gorgeous. I'm going to have to spend some time in the greenhouse today to get a little flower fix.

  11. I think the rose field is like a little piece of heaven.The time that I and John was there was the best,I think? Anyway you maynot have noticed me standing and just absorbing all the roses around me.Could not look at one without wanting to look at others,kind of sensory overload. R.

  12. Great post. Some very good info. I am considering a row of Marie Pavie for my front entrance. Can you tell me more about their growth habit? Do they rebloom well?


  13. I love Marie Pavie, so I'm not sure I can be objective about her. She and her sport-sister, Marie Daly, begin blooming for me in May and they don't quit till November. Eventually, MP will form a nice rounded shrub, a bit wider than she is tall, about 3 to 4 feet tall. I'll bet a row of her would be beautiful!

  14. Thanks for this very informative and useful post. One thing I've learned is that I won't be able to get away without fungicides, sigh. We have a lot of black spot, but no beetles or aphids, at least so far.

  15. Fungicide is your friend. It helps the rose keep its leaves, which we all know are the food-factories. Keeping my roses sprayed with fungicide isn't all that much work, and the reward is measured in better shrubs with more flowers.

    I do not spray insecticides in the garden. Years ago, I found that it is better to let the good bugs (and birds) control the bad bugs. If I leave Mother Nature in charge of pest control, it is rare for things to get out of balance. Aphids, if you have them in plague-worthy concentrations, can blasted with a garden hose. Japanese beetles are our most notorious pests, because they are larger and more obvious than many others, but they are active for only a short time and they don't do any real harm to the garden. Once they are gone, I trim off any offending cosmetic damage, and the roses are fine.

    My goal is to have healthy roses. I don't mind a little blackspot or insect damage, as long as my garden is healthy.

  16. I love this calendar. Thank you so much for all the month to month details. I love my roses and and I'm always amazed when people say they won't grow them because they're too difficult. Your calendar proves it's just about a little TLC!
    I also loved your post about pruning the ramblers. Great.
    Actually, I adore all your posts!
    Thanks so much!!!


Thanks for stopping by and reading what I share. Comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Spam and trolls are not!

Related Posts with Thumbnails