In the Garden:
'Baby' the cat and the miniature red rose with no name love my deck year round.
My "Carefree" Roses
I'm not great with roses, but a number of tough birds have managed to survive my efforts. I don't water or fertilize enough, and my sunniest bed lies in shallow soil. Compost and dormant-season oil sprays are my staples. When we have a wet summer, I dust occasionally with a combination fungicide-insecticide to prevent premature leaf loss.
My Best Roses
The star of my roses is a miniature red rose I bought with no tag but a head full of flowers, which continues growing nearly year round on the deck. I do grow more traditional roses. Shrub roses such as 'The Fairy', 'Clothilde Soupert', 'Fuchsia Meidilland', and 'Caldwell Pink' do well. Climbers such as 'Red Cascade', 'Buff Beauty' and one known locally as 'Conehatta Pink' thrive for me too.
Fall Rose Care
Autumn offers great conditions for working in the garden. Nearly everything seems possible now, even training my climbing roses. They're long gone over the trellises and headed for the roof. I've found fall's the best time to tie and direct them, cut out dead canes, and replace their mulch. The canes are still supple even if the thorns are mature. I suit up in long gloves, sleeves and pants, don socks with my shoes for a change and go at them. My rose guru, Rosemary Sims of New Orleans, taught me to untie the canes and rearrange them on the trellis, never through it, and to only use jute because it gives with the roses' growth.
Make More Roses
There's always an errant cane or two that must be cut to balance the climber or avoid passersby. I root every cutting, and most take about a month to form roots this time of year. To do this, take a 6-inch cutting, strip the leaves off the bottom half, recut the bottom at a sharp slant, and stick it in a 1:1 mixture of screened compost and sand in a 1-quart pot. Keep the pot just moist and in bright light (but out of direct sun).
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