April 19, 2013
Digging up the Many, Many Roses at my Home in East Hampton
I bought my home in East Hampton more than twenty years ago and when I did, I knew I wanted to plant rose bushes all around it and have rose bushes climbing upon it. I chose many different types of heirloom old garden roses that were grown in the gardens of Europe and Asia for many hundreds of years. Many of these roses are highly prized for their dense petal formations and fabulous fragrances. Now that I have grandchildren running around, Alexis and I feel that having a yard full of thorny roses isn't very child friendly and I decided to dig up all the roses and replant them at my farm in Bedford. The East Hampton gardens will have a major redesign which, of course, I will share on this blog. Here's part one of this enormous undertaking, with more to follow.
PLEASE DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND MY MOTIVES! The number one concern was the fact that I want some more lawn for the kids, but number two really involves the roses themselves. They are 22 years old, most of them, and many are reverting to the rootstock. Many have thinned gravely and are weakened. Many are once-blooming old variety shrub roses that bloom only in June when we are not in the Hamptons. Plus, I really want to change the gardens and the landscape plan, being ready to experiment with new plants, new colors and new visions! I had the roses very carefully dug and transported them to Bedford, to the farm, where they are being planted carefully to try to bring them back to vigor and beauty. I really want to keep these great beauties and preserve cultivars that are barely available in the United States. I originally purchased the plants from Roses of Yesterday and Today and from Pickering, in Canada.
1 This is my home on Lily Pond in East Hampton. This photo was taken last June, when the roses were in full bloom.
2 When transplanting roses, timing is important. The best time to to do this is in the early spring when the roses are still pretty much dormant. This causes less stress and shock to the plants. Wait until all threat of frost or freezing weather has passed.
3 Just before digging, cut the rose canes back to 10-12 inches. Because the East Hampton garden had so many climbing roses, the trimmed canes were quite long.
4 A couple big loads were carted off to the town recycling and composting center.
5 The Lily Pond house was really a rose-covered cottage.
6 It will take some getting used to without roses climbing up the porch trellises.
7 The front lawn is a big circle with very full rose gardens surrounding that circle.
8 To help with this enormous project, Alex Silva, who takes care of the Lily Pond property, enlisted the help of a small crew.
9 There was a lot of digging going on.
10 Ryan and Gyurme, who work at my Bedford farm, assisted Alex and his team.
11 It's important to dig far enough away from the rose's root ball so as not to damage the roots.
12 The idea is to take as much root as possible.
13 Most of these roses were planted more than 20 years ago and their roots were quite thick and deep. We're hoping they will grow new smaller roots when established in their new location.
14 After a while, some men continued to dig.
15 And Gyurme and Ryan (who took these photos), worked on wrapping the roots in plastic.
16 There were also large buckets to place the roses in.
17 Some of the root balls were enormous! The plastic helped to keep the roots moist, since the roses were not to be replanted right away.
18 For identification purposes, green twine was tied around the climbing roses.
19 And brown twine indicated the bush roses.
20 Because of the enormous quantity, smaller bushes were bundled together.
21 It looks like these roses were dug just in the nick of time, as new growth can be seen emerging.
22 Even Carlos was there to lend a hand.
23 To transport the roses from East Hampton to Bedford, they were loaded onto the big truck.
24 They were packed nice and tightly.
25 This load was only part of what was dug up.
26 Even though this truck is equipped with a tarp roller cover, Ryan opted not to use it, fearing that the rose thorns would damage the cover.
27 Instead, they draped and tied burlap over the bushes to help protect them during the journey.