Its Autumn in Canberra, just starting to cool down but still warm during the days. Its a very pleasant time of year and we have a second flush of roses in bloom at the moment. My ‘Mr Lincoln’ roses were passed down from cuttings from my grandmother and this year I am decided on the matter – I must have more of them! While I’m at it, I will propagate some of my other favourites.
I’ve had some success with rose cuttings in the past, but I generally over-attend to them. They either drown or I let them dry out too much after thinking I’ve drowned them or I get too excited and plant them out too early. My strategy this year? Sheer weight of numbers. My bedded roses are positively booming this year and I can afford to take quote a few cuttings of each. This also gives me the opportunity to test the new Fiskars secateurs they sent me to review – keep watch for this post.
Most important to me is to have more ‘Mr Lincoln’s to carry on the family tradition, but I’ve had a few other brilliant garden performers this year that it would be lovely to have more of. I have been “plant-sitting” a standard ‘Iceberg’ for a friend while she’s overseas for a few years. She had been keeping it in a pot on her balcony, but it grew sadder so late last year I took pity on it and planted it out. The response was immediate and stunning! It put on masses of growth and is now flowering so heavily that I fear it will break the slender branches.
Next to it is a standard ‘Double Delight’ that has been similarly excessive in its flowering. It is in my opinion one of the most beautiful roses in the world and one is simply not enough. I’d like at least one or two of the bush form as well.
My standards are underplanted with ‘Europeana’ and as much as I’d like more of these deep red beauties, they should really be left until they’re a little older and stronger. Next year maybe.
A few years ago, I was given a couple of peach-coloured David Austin roses from a colleague who feared for their lives when began renting out her house. She knew I would give them a good home and they grow very happily in their new beds.
Unfortunately I never wrote down the cultivar name but as Shakespeare said a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. If any readers out there can tell me what it is though, I’d be most appreciative!
Finally, I have a climbing ‘Gold Bunny’ thriving against the hot, dry wall and balcony outside my lounge window. I’ve had none of the problems that friends have had with powdery mildew or black spot on this rose and it has poured on new growth this year under the faithful ministrations of a healthy family of ladybugs.
Taking Rose Cuttings
This is really very easy, but there are a couple of important tips:
1. Use sharp secateurs. Try not to bruise the tissue at the bottom of the cutting (where roots will form).
2. Keep your cuttings moist until you pot them up.
The best cuttings come from stems that have just finished flowering but not started any new growth. Look for stems that are around pencil thickness and vigorous. Remove any sappy new growth from the top of your cutting with an angled cut directly above a node (so the water won’t sit there) and remove all leaves except from the top one or two nodes – keep a couple of leaves on these. I like my cuttings to be around 20-25cm long.
Fill clean pots with seed-raising or potting mix and using a pencil or dibber make a hole for the cutting to sit in, up to two-thirds of its length. Dip the bottom of the cutting in a rooting hormone if you have some, and poke it into the hole. Firm in, water and sit somewhere warm til spring. Keep cuttings covered with a plastic bag or cover to keep them from drying out and spray occasionally with water.
Then rug up and look forward to all the amazing roses you’ll have to plant out next season!