Rose Cuttings – October, 2011

Two specimens of ‘Old Blush’ show their beauty and vigor in this photo from Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium.

From the Dust
After experiencing a drought that many say is unprecedented in the last 100 years, we are noting with interest the impact on our plants in our gardens.

Established roses, woody plants, perennials, annuals and herbs generally did fine, provided they had diligent watering. This would seem to be an obvious result, but there were many plants that grew little despite the water — and experienced excessive leaf burn (brown necrosis at the ends of leaves). This was probably due to salt accumulation as irrigation water evaporated, leaving behind the salts. Leaching or watering in excess to aid in diluting the salts, helped.

Newly established plants (those planted this spring) showed a lot of mortality. It was just too difficult to get enough subsoil moisture to carry the plants into the hot summer. The lesson here is to plant in the fall to establish a good root system.
Landscapes, gardens and native forests that had no water at all showed enormous stress, with even native plants succumbing to the drought. Mother Nature is ultimately thinning out trees and plants, especially non-native or ill-placed ones, or those overcrowded in the particular landscape. Take note of the survivors, as they are best to consider for future plantings.

Some plants showed quick recovery, especially the roses. They have exploded with new growth and bloom, making the drought appear to be a long-ago memory. The best varieties for us: Chinas like ‘Old Blush’, ‘Le Vesuve’ and ‘Ducher’ and teas like ‘Mrs. B. R. Cant’ and ‘Monsieur Tillier’.  For spring and fall color it is hard to beat old garden roses, regardless of summer or winter hardships.

Let’s continue to keep a watchful eye on the performance of our gardens, landscapes and wild areas. In many cases, events like this create rare or unforeseen successes for other plants. I’m personally anticipating the diversity and intensity of our spring display of wildflowers. It could be a showstopper and one that we haven’t seen before.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s 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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