Archive for the ‘Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening’ Category


Chute’s Garden

For weeks we have been living under the shadow of the corona virus and following the “Stay at Home” orders imposed by our various governors. Days blend into a sameness and each morning when I wake up I have to remind myself what day it is. One day is much the same as the last with scarce entries in my Day Planner that once was filled with appointments, meetings, flower show appearances and lectures — all cancelled or postponed.

So it’s no wonder that Mother’s Day — May 10 — was off my radar until I began receiving reminders from numerous stores that Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Which reminded me that our books — Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening and Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day.

1-Roses-for-NERoses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening ($21.95) is the first “how-to” book published by New England rose gardeners for New England rose gardeners. It explains everything you need to know to grow wonderful roses whether you’re a novice or a seasoned rose gardener. It includes six easy steps to growing roses in New England and how to select the right varieties for your garden. There is also a section covering planting and pruning, both bare root and potted roses, in great detail which is helpful this time of year. In addition, Roses for New England  lists over 150 sustainable rose varieties and includes many color photographs.


2-Rose-JournalRose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners (19.95) is a journal that’s more than a notebook to jot down what’s happening in your gardens. Besides pages to record monthly events, there’s a seasonal “To Do” list that tells you when to do what gardening tasks. There are lists of shade tolerant, fragrant roses, companion plants and our 25 favorite roses, mail order sources for roses and garden supplies. Tips for growing roses are scattered throughout the journal as well. Your Mom doesn’t have to be a rose gardener to enjoy this journal since it can be used by anyone who wants to keep track of interesting and/or unusual events. Every Christmas I give a copy of this  Journal to my brother-in-law who does not grow roses but likes to keep a record of yearly outdoor tasks.

We offer Free Shipping within the continental United States when books are ordered on our web site RoseSolutions. Payments are made through PayPal or your credit card. We can even include a “Happy Mother’s Day” transcription of your choice and ship directly to your gift recipient. Just include this information when you order.

During this time when we can’t dine out or shop in our favorite retail stores and social distancing is the norm, you can still make Mother’s Day special by remembering Mom by sending her our books as a special gift.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Rose Beds Hilled Up in Chutes’ Rose Garden

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (it was early this year) and we’ve experienced some below freezing temperatures, it’s time to add winter protection to help our roses survive our New England winters.

The goal of winter protection is to keep roses dormant — not to keep them warm. What we want to do is just the opposite: make sure the rose bushes stay cold and not be fooled into thinking spring has arrived when we experience those warm days in late January when temperatures go up to the 40’s and mid 50’s.


Plant roses with bud union 2″ below soil level in southern New England

Adding winter protection to roses is easy but there are 2 factors to be aware of if you want your roses to come through the winter with little winter kill: First, make sure your roses are zone appropriate for your area. If they’re not, they don’t have a good chance of surviving the winter freeze and thaw cycles. Second, plant them properly. In southern New England budded roses need to be planted at least 2” below the soil in order to protect the bud union. In colder climates they should be planted deeper and in warmer climates higher.

If your roses are winter hardy and planted properly, follow these easy steps:

  1. Wait until after the first hard frost before adding winter protection.
  2. Give roses a light pruning and secure long canes so they will not be tossed around by winter storms and damage the bush.
  3. Rake up garden litter to prevent diseases from wintering over in fallen foliage.
  4. This is a good time to apply lime, if necessary.
  5. Using soil, manure, compost or seaweed, hill up the base of each rose to about 12 inches.

Winter Protection at base of rose bush

If you want to know more about planting roses and winter protection, you can find more detailed information in our book Roses for New England: A Guide for Sustainable Rose Gardening which can be purchased on our website: RoseSolutions.net


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2017 Rhode Island Rose Society Calendar

Wondering what to buy for the gardeners on your Christmas list? Here are some suggestions of gifts that have pleased many of the rose gardeners, and even some non-gardeners, I buy gifts for.

2-prunersARS 310 Curved Pruner: This small curved-blade pruner is ideal for cutting roses as well as vegetables and bonsai. The one-inch blades are made from Japanese high carbon tool steel for clean and accurate cuts and the rounded tips fit easily into your pocket without poking through.The overall length of these pruners is only 6.5 inches.

1-prunersWe still use the original pair we bought over 20 years ago for cutting roses, roots, wire, and anything else in the garden that needs pruning. They are also good to use when making flower arrangements.

We have dropped them in mud holes; lost them in the garden and found them a week later; and have never sharpened them. Dollar for dollar, this is the best gardening tool we own.

3-cobraCobraHead Weeder and Cultivator: The CobraHead is a “steel fingernail” that shaves off weeds at or below ground level. It can be used for planting, transplanting, cultivating, making seed furrows, digging bulb holes and scrapping mud off other garden tools. The soft handle is made from recycled plastic and flax and feels comfortable in either or both hands. This is a very versatile tool.

Rose Calendars: Everyone needs to know what day it is and what can be more pleasant than seeing photographs of different roses every month, especially in the middle of winter? We buy our calendars from the RI Rose Society. Each year, RIRS has a member-only calendar photo contest and members vote for 12 photos that will be featured for each month. Other societies may have similar calendars, or you can buy a calendar from the American Rose Society on their web site. (See Cover of the2017 RIRS Calendar above.)

Rose Books: Winter is the perfect time to plan for the upcoming gardening season. We wrote our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, because there were no books about rose gardening in New England so it makes the perfect gift for our friends. Many of the rose books sold nationally were written by people from California or Florida where roses are grown differently because of the warmer USDA Zones. So if you buy a book on how to grow roses, be sure that it’s zone appropriate.

One of my favorite books that I find helpful to any gardener is Jackson & Perkins Rose Companions, a book by Stephen Scanniello. It discusses roses as well as companion plants that grow well with roses. This book provides me with many choices to make as far as what plants I want to plant with my roses. One of the companion plants I tried this past year was larkspur which added a nice rich purple/blue to our sustainable rose garden.

Gardening Journals: I had looked for years for a gardening journal that worked for me. Part of my problem is that I don’t like being restricted by space — either too much or too little. So the journals that provide 5 or 6 lines may be too little space and the ones that gave me a page — especially in months like January, February and December — gave me too much space. So I decided to design my own journal which is how we came to write Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners.

Gardening journals come in many styles. When I choose one for a gift, I like to make sure it includes photographs of roses and gardens, interesting sayings, and is versatile enough for the person I’m buying it for.

4-note-cardsRose Note Cards: There are many people, me included, who still write notes, whether it’s a thank you note, a note of condolences, or a quick hello to someone you haven’t seen in a while. There’s no shortage of beautiful note card with pictures of roses and other flowers available. Sometimes, if I have time, I like to make my own note cards, using some of my rose photos. (Card on the top left is Sexy Rexy rose; bottom is Julia Child rose.)

Membership in a Local Rose Society: If you have someone on your list who is interested in roses, a membership gift to a local rose society is a great idea. There are rose societies in most states in the United States as well many other countries. Being a member of a local rose society is a great way to find out what rose varieties grow well where you live. If you’re not one for attending meetings, you can still learn a lot through the local society’s newsletter. Also, some nurseries may offer discount to rose society members. We are active in the RI Rose Society (www.rirs.org) that holds monthly meetings and provides rose programs that help members learn more about roses and activities where we can share our love of roses.


A Rhode Island Rose Society Meeting at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. Program was a Ask a Consulting Rosarian Panel

Membership in the American Rose Society: A gift membership to the ARS will give the recipient access to many resources as well as the American Rose Magazine which is published 6 times a year. Listed on their web site (www.rose.org)  are local rose societies organized by state.

These are just a few of the possibilities for gift giving. If you have some I haven’t mentioned, please share your ideas and leave a comment.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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It’s mid November and we’re preparing our rose gardens for winter before we put away the gardening tools. Last year at this time we were wrapping-up our 2nd book, Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners, and getting it ready for publication in time for the spring flower shows. This year Mike and I have started another project: a complimentary quarterly E-Newsletter called “The Northeast Rose Gardener.”

Since 90% of the questions we receive revolve around the nuts & bolts of basic rose care, we decided to publish a seasonal electronic newsletter to address fundamental rose gardening. In each issue of “The Northeast Rose Gardener” we’ll delve into on the seasonal tasks that need to be performed as well as basic rose horticulture. We plan to include tips and anecdotes from our two decades of rose gardening in the northeast corner of the United States.

Our first issue explains winter protection for roses and includes a few Do’s and Don’ts. If you would like to receive our free newsletter, send your email address to angie1@rosesolutions.net (Subject line to read The Northeast Rose Gardener) and I’ll add you to our mailing list.

To kick off “The Northeast Rose Gardener’s” debut, Mike and I are providing a Special Holiday Gift Offer on our web site www.rosesolutions.net

1.Note-CardsReceive 2 FREE note cards of my rose photographs of Sexy Rexy and Julia Child with the purchase of any 2 of our books. This offer is good until Dec. 17, 2015.
Happy Thanksgiving

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Rainbow Sorbet One of Our Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses

Rainbow Sorbet
One of Our Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses

No one is more optimistic than a gardener in January. The new year brings high hopes and great expectations for the coming year. Our 2015 agenda includes a major rose garden remodeling project; a trip to Seattle, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies; the publication of our second book; and our 2015 Lecture Series.
Mike at RI Flower ShowWe have accepted a number of invitations to present lectures and workshops. Our entertaining lectures, workshops and seminars are designed to educate and make rose gardening appealing to even the most reluctant gardener. We especially enjoy these opportunities to travel throughout the New England area and beyond, making new friends and catching up with old pals that we often only see once each year. (See the complete list of 2015 programs, dates, and times on the 2015 Lecture Series page.)
Rose Gardening Season by SeasonAlong with the lecture series, we are busy planning a trip to Seattle, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies later this year and we recently completed work on our second book, Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners. This seasonal guide joins Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening and we will have both available at our lectures and workshops.
The season opener is Saturday, February 14 when we participate, with others, in the Rhode Island Rose Society’s annual Round Table, a forum of basic rose care that provides an opportunity to learn a great deal about rose culture in a short period of time. This event is free and open to the public.
We return to the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show on Saturday, February 21 and the Boston Flower and Garden Show on Friday, March 13. We will introduce a new PowerPoint program at both shows called “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses” where we feature the best 25 rose varieties we have ever grown – newer introductions as well as old favorites. The challenge was culling the list to just twenty-five. Rainbow Sorbet, pictured above, is on the list.


RI Flower Show
As everyone’s gardening spirit continues to rise, we offer the season’s first workshop, Spring Rose-Care: Planting and Pruning Workshop, on Saturday, March 21 in Barrington, RI in concert with the Barrington Community School. This continues our long-time collaboration with BCS presenting lectures and workshops on a wide range of rose horticulture.
We hit the road on March 28 traveling to Holyoke, MA to present an expanded version of our most popular program, “Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening,” at the Western Mass Master Gardener Association Spring Garden Symposium. We lengthened the presentation to include more details and to allow additional time for Q and A.Boston Flower Show
On Saturday May 2, we present our second workshop at Evergreen Tree and Landscape in Seekonk, MA. This two-hour program, called “Roses 101: The Best Way to Grow Roses,” covers everything you need to know to successfully grow roses in your home garden.
Saturday, August 1 is our annual rose propagation workshop where we teach the art of bud grafting roses. This year we are partnering with the Barrington Community School to present this two-hour program. Bud grafting is easier than you think and everyone takes a budded rose bush home.
In between all this, our schedule is full of garden club bookings along with presentations to various horticultural organizations. We are available to speak at symposiums and conventions and are willing to go just about anywhere. We can customize programs and in the past have developed special one-of-a-kind seminars.
Keep checking the Lecture Series page as we add bookings throughout the season. If you are ever stuck for a program at the last minute for any reason, maybe we can help. Contact us at mike@rosesolutions.net.
Happy New Year.

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Spring PruningDespite the colder than normal temperature, we’ve had a few days here in Rhode Island that have reminded us that Spring is right around the corner. Our forsythia is blooming and Mike has been very busy pruning our roses.Pruning

Many gardeners feel that pruning roses is difficult. “How do I prune roses?” is a question we asked often at our lectures. We recently presented a Pruning and Planting workshop at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum in New Bedford, MA and most of the questions regarded pruning.

To simplify the process, we’ve prepared a handout and if any of you would like a copy, email me at angie@rosesolutions.net. A more detailed, step by step guide on pruning specific types of roses, such as climbing roses and shrub roses, can be found in our book Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening – ordering information (free shipping) is on our web site: www.rosesolutions.net.

Meanwhile, here are a few points to remember:

Creamy white pith

Creamy white pith

1. Start your spring pruning by removing the 3 D’s – all dead, diseased and damaged canes. Prune ¼” above a bud eye. Look for the pith or cross-section of the cut to be creamy white.
2. Remove any suckers growing at the base of the rose below the bud union.
3. Remove small, twiggy stems.
4. Prune out criss-crossing canes in the center of the plant.
5. Finally, shape the bush leaving a nice symmetrical shape.
6. Voila, you’re done!

Spring pruning encourages new growth. It is the first step you can take to ensure a robust first bloom and after the winter we’ve had in New England this year, we’re looking forward to our June Bloom.

June Bloom

June Bloom

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Super HeroNext Saturday, June 8,  Mike and I will be on Rose Chat Radio at 10:30 eastern time with hosts Chris VanCleave and Teresa Byington. Chris is from Alabama and Teresa lives in Indiana, but according to Chris who contacted us to be guests on the show, they sound like they’re in the same room when on air. We’ll be talking about our Six Basic Steps for Growing Roses, sustainable rose gardening, our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening as well as the unique growing challenges for New England rose gardeners.

Chris has asked us to select 5 roses to discuss that grow well in New England and choosing only 5 will be a challenge since there are so many that grow well in our area. I’ve already chosen one, Super Hero, (see photo above), which is such a hardy, disease resistant rose with great form and color.

We hope you can listen to the show – tune in on-line – and you can even call in and say hi and ask questions. Here is the link to Chris’ blog, Redneck Rosarian (www.redneckrosarian.wordpress.com .

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Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Winter arrived with a vengeance last week with sub-zero night-time temperatures we haven’t seen in southern New England for a couple of years. Since the third week of January is historically the coldest time of the year, this should have come as no great surprise. But it did!

February Daffodils

February Daffodils

Despite this, the first wave of rose catalogues arrived in the mail last week awakening the gardening spirit with a sure signal that spring is right around the corner. It’s also a reminder that February is the month when Flower Shows spring up like the daffodil spears poking out of the soil that we discovered in the front garden yesterday.

RI Flower Show Arrangement

RI Flower Show Arrangement

Each year Mike and I look forward to the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show in Providence. We enjoy the display gardens, the beautiful and creative flower arrangements, the informative lectures, and Mike really likes the pungent aroma of pine bark mulch that fills the hall. It’s also a plus for us that it’s a local show; driving into Providence is easy and parking is usually plentiful. Our lecture this year is on Saturday February 23 at 2:00 pm when we will present the program “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens.” If you love the old-fashioned form and fragrance of David Austin’s English Roses, then don’t miss this program. If you don’t have a copy of our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, we will have them available after our lecture.

Carding MillPhoto by David Austin Roses

Carding Mill
Photo by David Austin Roses

Prior to the lecture, at 12:30 on Saturday, we’ll be conducting a demonstration on basic rose care – “Rosology 101” – that explains the steps needed to grow beautiful roses. As a bonus, Mike usually demonstrates how to prune roses. Spring PruningWe’ll be presenting this demonstration on behalf of the Rhode Island Rose Society and will have membership forms available if you would like to join. If you can’t make this demonstration, visit the RI Rose Society booth (Booth B) on the 3rd floor where you’ll find a wealth of information on everything roses. Society members will available throughout the show to answer your rose questions.

At the 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, we’ll be introducing a new program, “Discovering Sustainable Roses,” on Friday, March 15 at 2:30 pm. The focus is on modern, sustainable roses – sturdy attractive plants that can hold their own in a pesticide-free landscape. Our PowerPoint program identifies varieties that are easier to grow, winter hardy, far more disease-resistant, and bloom longer. In fact, we have a garden full of them at home and use that as a model.

My Girl

My Girl

February and March are the perfect times to start thinking about gardening and choosing roses to plant. We hope to see you at the Flower Shows in Providence and Boston this year. For your convenience, I’ve listed below other spring Flower Shows you may want to visit.

2013 Flower Shows:

February 21 – 24: Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show, Providence, RI

February 21 – 24: Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, Hartford, CT

March 1 – 3: Vermont Flower Show, Essex Junction, VT

March 2 – 10: Philadelphia International Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA

March 7 – 10: Portland Flower Show, Portland, ME

March 13 – 17: Boston Flower & Garden Show, Boston, MA

March 23 – 24: Seacoast Home & Garden Show, Durham, NH

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Mike & Angelina

The gardens are winterized, tools cleaned, and everything else stored away until spring. The 2012 season is officially over just in time to post our 2013 lecture and workshop schedule. (Look for the complete schedule here on the blog on its own page listed above the masthead as well as on our website, www.rosesolutions.net ). While we always enjoy the 4-month break from garden duties, we always welcome a new season of lecturing throughout New England and beyond making new friends and visiting old pals.

Boston Flower ShowIn 2013, we return to the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show in February where we will present the program “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens.”  And in March we again travel north to the Boston Flower & Garden Show with a new program, “Discovering Sustainable Roses,” developed to match the show’s theme, Seeds of Change.

In late March we head over to Windsor Connecticut to present a lecture titled “Pesticides and Garden Safety” to the American Rose Society’s Yankee District’s Consulting Rosarian School. This began as a special one-off presentation we created last year for a group, explaining, in layman’s language, garden pesticides and how to safely employ them. (At the end of the lecture we make a persuasive case for avoiding pesticides completely and planting sustainable varieties instead.)

The following day we speak twice on “Selecting Sustainable Roses” at the Connecticut Master Gardeners Symposium in Manchester.

Then in April, we lead a 2-hour workshop called “Rose Gardening Made Easy” for the Barrington (RI) Community School. This program covers rose gardening from soup to nuts and demonstrates how easy growing roses can be.

In June, you will find us at the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 15th Annual Rose Show in Wickford, RI, presenting an abbreviated version of our most popular program, “Rosology 101.”

Mike Speaking at Garden ClubIn between all of these events we have accepted a host of invitations to speak to garden clubs and other organizations throughout New England. At each event we bring copies of our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening to sign at the end of the program.

Check out our schedule for specific dates, times and locations as well as additions to the schedule as the year goes on.  We’ll be on the lookout for you.

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Sustainable Rose Garden in Montreal

 The 2012 RI Flower Show runs from Thursday Feb 23 to Sunday Feb 26. Mike and I will be there on opening day, Thursday February 23, to present our new PowerPoint program “Anatomy of a Sustainable Rose Garden” at 1:00 PM.

“Anatomy of a Sustainable Rose Garden” explains how to build a rose garden from scratch. This seminar provides a practical blueprint for anyone to start rose gardening. It includes everything from the value of water and nutrients to proper soil to selecting the right rose varieties as well as suggestions for companion plants. We’ll also sign copies of our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening.

We’ll be back on Friday February 24 and Sunday February 26 at 11:30 when Mike and I will present a demonstration, “How to Grow Roses,” as representatives of the Rhode Island Rose Society. This demo will focus on rose gardening basics such as proper planting, pruning, fertilizing, insect and disease control and plant selection. It also includes a hand-out as well as practical rose gardening tips.

Hope to see you at the RI Flower Show! If you have any questions you’d like answered, please leave a comment below or email me at angie@rosesolutions.net

Visit the RI Flower Show website at http://www.flowershow.com/

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