The April edition of New Zealand Gardener features a useful guide to propogating your own roses from cuttings. I decided to try it, using several shortcuts from their version as I know that if I put the cuttings into a pot or propogator tray, the garden murderer will kill them for certain.
The garden murderer went to sleep soon after 4.30pm, sleeping off days of toddler partying. So the gardening began...
I've decided to turn the garden along the back of the house into a rose potager with garlic and other vegetables and herbs around them. Roses climbing up a brick wall which gets full sun almost all day seems a gorgeous plan to me. So I weeded the next section (I've got my first rose cutting growing well along here already, plus raddiccio, rocket, broccoli, welsh bunching onions and florence fennel) adn then tipped a 40 litre bag of sheep poo over the top. I've had this bag decomposing for about six months. Then I tipped a 40 litre bag of potting mix over the top. It would have seemed wildly extravagant to go and buy these especially for the job, but as I've had them a while and it is improving and building up the soil no matter what goes in after the rose cuttings, I thought it was worthwhile.
I trimmed the big branches of roses poking through the fence from our neighbour's place. Shirley is a very keen rose gardener who grows as many roses as she can possibly squeeze into her small section and shows the best blooms locally and at shows throughout the South Island.
I made eight cuttings, all with four leaf nodes on them. I trimmed the bottom leaf node off, scraped down the sides of the bottom 4 centimetres and cut the leaves back to just two on each of the top three branches. Then I pushed each one into the soil, making a bed of eight cuttings in a space about 100 x 70 cm. If they all 'take', then I will transplant six out. There is room to have two growing there long term though. I watered the area thoroughly, mulched with pea straw and watered again. I will be watching with interest. If even one of them turns into a flourishing rose bush, then it has created beauty without the expenditure of nearly $20 per rose bush.
While I had the gardening window, I also weeded and watered and mulched around my youngest cavolo nero plants and planted daffodil and freesia bulbs. I admired the pretty pink flowers coming out now from some bulbs gifted by a friend in early summer. Not completely sure, but I think they might be autumn crocuses (croci?).