Friday, March 30, 2012

Bare root roses

I realize now that if I make myself a cup of tea while I am gardening there is serious business to be accomplished, and a commitment made: to stay out there until it is done. It's like taking a deep breath. To whit: my beloved, loyal, gorgeous Abraham Darby had to be ripped from its pot. 

It has overcome disease (die back, above) for years and I have not been able to bring myself to discard it. Even as I prepared to cut its roots I saw these brand new buds. Like a sunny face concealing deep, deep trouble. Same plant. In the end, once I had wrestled it from the urnshaped terra cotta and been speared by three thorns which broke off in me (sip of tea), I caved in and repotted it, watered it, apologized to it. I will move it to the roof. Technically roses are edible, right? Right. Only edibles are  allowed on the roof. And I need the terrace to be extra pretty this year. More about that, later.

The reason for the move - my bare root roses had arrived from David Austin, via Texas.  A replacement Abraham Darby, and deep red Munstead Wood. Their shipping box was deeply dented but the roses looked alright, if alien, and were still wet. 

I soaked them for two hours and potted them up. I would have paid extra for instant gratification - buying planted roses, in bloom - but of course it is too early in the season, and neither variety is available potted. I'm a little nervous about how the bare root roses will perform. Hold thumbs.

Munstead Wood, above, is now near the fig, on the right of the terrace, and Abraham Darby II is on the left.

Bloom on.

Here's a retrospective of the original Abraham Darby:



  1. Oh, what a lovely retrospective of the Abraham Darby rose. I'm so happy that you gave it a reprieve!

  2. Hi Marie, we met at Deb's house for a lovely dinner some time ago. You are your husband were delightful and I think we ate pate from a pot.

    ANYWAY. I've got six David Austins going on my balcony in containers. I can't say I've treated them particularly well - I think they're just tolerant of abuse - but they filled out beautifully. bloomed their first season and have continued to do well despite plagues, frosts, hoards of locusts, etc.

  3. Beautiful photos, as always. I managed to grow three bare root roses, so there is no doubt that you will be more than successful with yours. On another note, I bought a beautifully potted climbing iceberg last year and nothing. Not a single blossom.

  4. Actually, I've always thought roses do exceptionally well in pots, if enough fertilizer, water, and sun. Bloom on!

  5. Marie, have you seen The Antique Rose Emporium website. The sell "own root" roses, grown from cuttings.
    They specialize in roses that thrive in particular zones and environments. Just an additional option to wonderful David Austin.

  6. Rachelle - yes, very well, I agree.

    Bow Street - yes, I like them, too. Perhaps I should return to the fold: My Iceberg came from them back in the day. The Munstead is actually own root...we'll see.

  7. My two cents. Roses are well-adapted to bare root transplant. So few fine roots.

  8. How big does Abraham Darby get in a pot? The description says 8 - 10 feet and could climb, but I am guessing smaller in a pot. What's your experience. Am looking for a fragrant rose and am guessing this might fill the bill. thanks.

  9. webb - yes, utterly fine in a pot, in terms of size. I summer prune quite hard, too.

  10. hi marie, your photo of the cup of tea was so lovely, i got out my best and enjoyed my tea in style on this chilly, rainy da...thank you for the inspiration!
    i get lazy and drink from a mug too often..


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