Valentine’s day reminds me that I need to take care of my roses!

1. Roses generally do better with good air circulation. Therefore, make sure they are not crowded by mixed plantings from near by or by excess dead wood or canes within the bush or vine itself.

2. While pruning your rosebushes, trim or snip back shoots or branches closing in on the bushes. Roses need space to be healthy.

3. Cut hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas back by one third to one half. This produces fewer but larger flowers on long stems for cutting and adding to your spring floral arrangements.

4. Old garden roses, shrub roses, miniatures and repeat blooming climbers can be cut to the personal taste of the gardener. Prune only to control their size and produce a pleasing, balanced shape.

5. Do not fertilize till the end of the month. If you’ve used your rich, home-grown compost and covered the roots well with several inches of shredded leaves, you don’t need to fertilize with anything else extra.

6. If your roses have blackspot, collect and dispose of the leaves in your green dumpster, NOT in the compost pile! Don’t allow the yellowed fallen leaves to remain on the ground. Continue this sanitary practice throughout the growing season.

Sit back and watch the grand display of blooms just around the corner!

Have your roses recovered from the blight that has spread through Texas these last few years?

But I linger to prayerfully say . . . bring roses and lilies and summer and shine while the fire is talking of snow.

Waterman, In the Firelight

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