Winter Protection

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Winter Protection

Winter
Protection-Then comes the question of protection,
which I am convinced is made too much of, so far,
at least, as concerns gardens in the southern
counties. I live in Middlesex, and I never protect
any of my roses. Out of the many I have from time
to time planted I can only remember losing one.
Of course, if I had given the plants adequate
protection I should not have lost even that one,
I imagine some ” protection ” enthusiast exclaiming.
But I submit that my experience makes out a very
good case for ” nonprotection “-with no political
significance, I protest ! Those who have the fortune
to live in the cold northern counties (the very
mention of which fills me with uneasiness, so
long have I lived in the south !) should protect
there Tea roses, but all the Hybrid Perpetuals
and most of the Hybrid Teas are quite hardy. At
least, there is no reason why anyone should take
any risk, for it is the simplest thing in the
world to protect one’s roses. There is no need
for any of the elaborate methods often advocated;
a little heap Of soil 3 or 4 inches high, around
and among the lower branches, is all that is required.
Readers may well cry ” shame ” that I do not even
take so simple a precaution to protect my own
roses rather than run the risk of losing even
one; and while that censure is perhaps well deserved,
I protest that I am so busy writing about roses
in the winter that I am apt sometimes to leave
them to look after themselves. And I make bold
to say that it would be all the better for many
other roses if they were similarly treated.

The
surest way to weaken a rose is to coddle it. Many
of those who protect their plants with bracken,
straw and other material, leave these about the
plants until late in spring, with the result that
the roses start into growth earlier than they
would otherwise do, and such growth as they make
beneath the seductive covering that gives them
a dangerous and unnatural warmth is soft and sappy
and falls an easy prey to the least frost. And
when is the rose . grower out of the wood so far
as late spring frosts is concerned ? justly we
may term this winter protection a ” wolf in sheep’s
clothing,” especially so far as the inexperienced
gardener is concerned. And why go to this trouble
when mother earth is all they need, and when nothing
is better or even so good for them ? Even I, who
would seem to hold a brief for garden soil as
if it were almost to the ground in the month of
March following planting. I believe, too, that
most amateurs in their heart ‘ of hearts know
this as well as the professional, but they have
not the courage to put the precept into practice.
At any rate, they have been told times enough.
Anyone with a knowledge of the likes and dislikes
of roses has doubtless had the pleasure of advising
a friend as to the method of pruning his roses
the first spring after planting. You find that
he has cut bush roses back in the orthodox way;
but the climbers, those with nice long growths
that seem. to say, ” Ah ! just leave me alone,
and I promise that you shall not be disappointed
” -with those it is different. He has listened
to the siren’s voice, he has started on that seductive
short cut to Elysium. Naturally you expostulate
with him, you argue, and finally threaten his
roses will all the evils to which roses are heir.
But no, he has heard the entrancing call, he is
enraptured, by the charm of the dreams he has
dreamed, and all entreaty is vain. Since he will
do so, he must tread the path, which, alas! so
many have trodden-I am not ashamed to confess
that I am found among the number-that leads without
delay to disillusion. You are told in a more or
less shamefaced sort of way that, ” I thought
I ought to have cut them harder back, don’t you
know; but then I was not quite sure.” And, knowing
better, you interpret this as really meaning that
the gardener knew that the roses ought to be cut
to the ground, but that he could not bring himself
to do it. How much wiser would he have been to
go away for the day and commission the jobbing
gardener to come in and cut off not only the heads
but also the legs also of all the newly planted
roses. The jobber would have had no scruples about
doing it, for the more cutting the untrained worker
can do the better he is pleased, as a rule.

But
let me to the point, and say that every growth
of every rose you plant between November and March
should be cut to within three or four buds of
its base about the last week in March or the first
week in April. As a -preliminary, the growths
may be half cut away as soon as they are planted.
I have one crumb of comfort for the tender-hearted
rose grower. If it -does really go seriously against
the grain to treat the plants in this way, then
all those that belong to the wichuraiana class
may be more leniently dealt with, although, personally,
I treat them all alike,. I am afraid I shall need
at least a paragraph to explain all that is denoted
by that fearsome word ” wichuraiana -a word that,
though used glibly enough by gardeners and garden
writers, is more often than not misspelt. I have
made sure of that extra ” a ” before venturing
on this mild criticism ! The original rose called
wichuraiana is a charming Japanese creeping kind
with very long, slender growths and pretty little
white blossoms, and by cross-breeding with some
other roses distinguished by large flowers of
rich coloring, Dorothy Perkins and many others
have been evolved. They are commonly referred
to as wichuraiana roses. Well, these make such
remarkably vigorous growth with little or no attention
on the grower’s part that it is not necessary
to cut them hard back to induce them to grow strongly.
And there is the whole case in a nutshell ! One
may leave the best growth almost its full length,
and shorten all others by about one half. So much,
then (and it is much more than I had intended),
about pruning newly planted roses.

Articles

   Planting
Roses

   Winter
Protection
   Pruning
Bush or Dwarf Roses

   Pegging
Down Roses
   Pruning
Climbing Roses
   7 Steps
Toward Success with Roses

Design

   Cutting Flowers For Display
   Heeling In
   Planting A Bare Root Rose
  
Planting A Container Rose
   Pruning A Rose Before Planting

Links

   EveryRose.com
   Roses
– Hometime

   The
Rose Garden – Single Roses
   Yesterday’s
Roses

   Rose
Gardens

 


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