Rose Cuttings – December, 2008

The Swamp Rose, covered in ice, continues to brighten its corner of the garden. Photo courtesy of the Antique Rose Emporium.

Countdown to Cold Weather

1. Make sure roses, perennials and annuals are well watered before freezing temperatures are expected. (Plant desiccation during freezing weather is the primary means of plant loss during the winter.)
2. Keep soil around the plants covered with 3 – 4 inches of coarse mulch (bark, leaves, etc.). This will insulate stems and roots while holding in the soil’s heat around the base of plants.
3. If possible, protect plants from excessive wind during freezing temperatures. (Winds in below-freezing temperatures desiccate tender plant tissue.)
4. Avoid pruning plants in mid-winter. Winter pruning has been shown to make plants more vulnerable to the cold.
5. If you cover plants with plastic, do not let the plastic touch plant surfaces.
6. Do not water or spray plants when temperatures fall below 25 degrees. Spraying water on plants can provide protection from frost only, not hard freezes.

Rose Rustling – 100 years ago?

Asking for Roses
A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;
‘I wonder,’ I say, ‘who the owner of those is.’
‘Oh, no one you know,’ she answers me airy,
‘But one we must ask if we want any roses.’

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly
There in the hush of the wood that reposes,
And turn and go up to the open door boldly,
And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

‘Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?’
‘Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.
‘Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
‘Tis summer again; there’s two come for roses.

‘A word with you, that of the singer recalling–
Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is
A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,
And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.’

We do not loosen our hands’ intertwining
(Not caring so very much what she supposes),
There when she comes on us mistily shining
And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.

                                                         — Robert Frost

Happy Holidays from Mike Shoup and the Antique Rose Emporium staff!

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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