Thursday, 14 June 2012


Out back at the cottage in Fedamore
June-month of the Rose and prime time to obtain "free" rose bushes if you keep your eyes peeled and a secateurs in the car handy....

Today the fine ladies of Fedamore took me to the pub for our class. I must say when Cathryn cryptically said "we have a surprise for you and you're going to like it!" I never in a million years thought they meant a bar! It turns out Frances, one of the other ladies, actually owns the pub. She is also a dab hand at scones, jam and cream, and fresh rhubarb tart. Outside the pub we had the satisfaction of seeing her hanging baskets that she had done in class looking really beautiful while inside we battened down the hatches against the awful wind and rain, dining in style and having a very civilised gardening class! It's at moments like these that I say to myself..I LOVE MY JOB!

Anna's old cottage about to be raided!
Anyway when we got down to the nitty gritty Kathleen produced a bag with a beautiful stem of tiny pink sweetly scented roses and asked me where she was going wrong in constantly failing in her efforts to root slips of it. Turns out she was doing it very late in the year-October. This is not the best time for taking rose cuttings-now is. Someone else passed a comment on the beautiful thatched cottage we had passed on our way to the pub with white roses spilling out over its front wall. It turned out that Anna, another class member knew the owner ( her son, isn't the world tiny?)and gave us her blessing to take whatever cuttings we wanted. So off we went to do a quick practical on how to take rose cuttings.

Rose no1. Anna's Pink cottage rose
We got out of the cars in blustery nasty rain making a dash for the small porch at the door. The cottage itself is a lovely old thatched building with a cute pedestrian gate from the roadway, if it was in Adare it would be choc-o-block with souvenirs or maybe it would be a tiny tea shop. Here on a random road its just another old building, with no-one at home. The garden was awash with pink and white roses, all of them throwing out strong healthy arching growth, they would probably make good climbing or trailing roses trained over a nice structure. Round the back were more roses. Whoever lived here had mastered the art of taking cuttings, the same roses were repeated everywhere.

Rose no2. Anna's White cottage rose
If you are out and you spot a rose you like here's what to do. Choose a piece of new growth as long and straight as possible, trim off the top with a slanted cut, and strip the bottom third of leaves cutting straight across below a node(the bumpy bit on the stem). Put that bottom third into the ground and leave it there.Label it! You wont remember what rose it is otherwise! I find the raised beds in the veg garden the business for this job. The more cuttings you take the better chance you have of rooting them. Leave them in the same place for at least a year if you can to get them well rooted. Prune them the winter of the second year and move them to where you want them to grow. Everyone left the cottage with two cuttings of each rose and instructions to get them into the ground asap. The longer the cutting travels the bigger a chance it will dry out. If you're really ruthless carry plastic bags, tissue and water in the car at all times!!

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