Rose Harvest Morning

Mid-bloom, around the first of May, I gathered as many roses as I could in about an hour's time. 

Rose basket

Then I pulled out my iphone to record what came next.

Rose harvest 3

Roses ready for prepping.

Rose harvest table

Dethorning roses

The lower leaves and stems all need to be removed for easy arranging. Can you decipher the thorn strippers? I'd be lost without them.

Rose prepping

Two roses on one stem

I found two roses in love!

Preparing roses

Almost done and I haven't had breakfast.


Time for a cornflakes break.

Prepped roses

Rose faces

Roses ready to go

The roses are ready for transport to a children's party. Each child will have the opportunity to fill a basket with roses.


One of my goals here was to see how well my iphone would do for a blog story. What do you think?




To Fertilize Your Roses or Not

Tired roses, just before winter pruning, always look like they'll need lots of care and feeding before they bounce back come spring.


However, the natural regernerative forces that take place during dormancy are truly a marvel–I'm always awestruck by the power of growth.  


This is how the roses looked this weekend. I've never seen so many buds; these belong to White Masterpiece.


I thought what will a little fertilizer mean when there is such an abundance of energy swirling in all those buds (this is Paquerette)? For years, my garden has received homemade compost, mulch, and fertilizer before bloom time. This year, I'm going to let nature take care of the roses.


Truth is, the powerful forces at work during spring will even give healthy, beautiful blooms to a poorly cared for rose. I've always known this, so I wonder why I never thought to forgo that first feeding when my soil was usually in good shape? I didn't realize needless "rose rules" still had a hold on me. The beauties above are Winchester Cathedral.


So all I can say is, wow, I'm happy not to fertilize! 


When I give rose talks, the first questions are inevitably about fertilizer. My answer is simply, "Feed your soil, not your roses." Composting and mulching are the keys to healthy soil. This is not to say I will stop fertilizing altogether. I think this year I will give them a boost after the first bloom, and that will be it, along with a little mulch from our silver maple.

For information on composting, click here, and here's something about mulching in the garden, click


This is Safrano, a Tea rose enjoying much needed rain. 


The Very Last Rose Harvest of 2012


Would you know, looking at these pictures, that a big freeze is just around the corner?







These shots savor the harvest's relation to the garden, they hardly need arranging. However once in the house it was a different story.



I was feeling free and a tad sloppy in these rather unstudied looks.





When I revisited these images and saw that huge pile of leaves, it struck me yet again how much needs to be removed before a rose stem enters a vase. Vases and arranging are not always necessary- in many settings, roses are fabulous left right in their harvest buckets.


Old-roses copy



The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.

~ Henry David Thoreau