I got a question via FB about roses so I thought I'd put my answer (such as it is!) here on the blog so if anyone else finds it helpful to their gardening journey, all the better! Here's my friend's note:
"...Wilderness is winning in my backyard, but on the plus side, I do have some new growth on two rosebushes that I thought were completely dead! Oh - the lone rosebush in my front yard is about 8 feet tall with no blooms whatsoever - is there anything I can do about that? I'm going to cut it in half, just so it doesn't look so ridiculously floppy, but I'm happy to get some advice on that one..."
I have a few rose bushes in my yard, some that bloom no matter what and others that bloom reluctantly. I do find I have some success with the following policies:
1) I always prune the bushes fairly hard in the spring, down to an outward-facing bud about 8 inches to a foot from the ground on each main branch and I cut out the weaker looking branches plus any dead wood. Always prune on an angle so the rain can drip to the ground and doesn't pool where the stump is and cause rot.
2) Also in the spring I add a shovelful of compost or composted manure around the drip-line of the rose bush and sort of gently scrape it into the top inch or so of the earth. Also, I've started spreading a cup or so of epsom salts around each bush with the compost. This is supposed to stimulate blooming as well and it seems to be helping my more reluctant bloomers.
3) Roses are sun-worshippers so if your rose isn't blooming it may not be getting enough sun. Don't hesitate to move it to a different spot, preferably in spring. I can do another post this fall on transplanting, since fall is another good time to transplant most perennials. Also, water roses liberally at the roots, avoiding the leaves so you don't encourage blackspot and mildew.
4) Your eight-foot rose bush, has it ever bloomed? What kind of blooms does it have and when? It definitely may need some major pruning, but at this point in the year you might be better off going gently on it and doing the major job in the spring. Do cut out any dead branches, dead-head any spent blooms and thin out the inner branches and shape it gently all around.
That's all I have time for now, but I'll write more soon! Roses are touchy creatures but their blooms and scent (if any!) are worth the trouble. I'll talk later about dealing with the insects that seem to love them as much as we do.
Welcome to The Tranquil Garden
I hope you will enjoy the journey I'm starting today. I welcome all your comments and questions on my blog posts and hope you will find my observations about my garden interesting and possibly helpful. I am not an expert (far from it!), so this will be a learning experience all round. I'm planning to do research when questions come up that I can't answer. Frankly, the only reason I feel qualified to write a blog is because anyone can do it! The reason I chose to blog about gardening is because I love it, and I think it's therapeutic to get one's hands (or gardening gloves) dirty by planting things that with luck, educated guesses and a bit of sun and rain, will grow!