1 The best time to transplant roses is early spring, when roses are just coming out of winter dormancy. Dormancy is essential for a rose lifecycle. It drops foliage that could be damaged by frost; the cell sap thickens to protect the stem, and its metabolic system slows down - all until spring when it wakes up again.
2 This year, I wanted to transplant a few climbing roses that were growing along the fence in my flower garden. These roses were transplanted once before, about two years ago from my home in East Hampton.
3 Here is a photo of my Lily Pond house. Before I moved all the roses to my farm, it was truly a rose-covered cottage. When I first purchased these roses for East Hampton, I chose many different types of heirloom old garden roses originally grown in Europe and Asia.
4 I had many roses growing all around the house, on the front lawn and up against the front porch trellises. After many years, they needed heavy pruning to reinvigorate them, so they were moved to make the area a less prickly place for young children, and to give my gardens a well needed change.
5 Many of the rose varieties I purchased are highly prized for their petal formations and fragrances. To dig them all up and move them to my farm at Bedford was a huge undertaking, but thankfully, they are thriving and will continue to produce beautiful flowers for years to come.
6 When removing a rose plant, dig a circle about nine-inches beyond its drip line. If the shovel hits any roots, cut them as cleanly as possible with secateurs or pruners, but try to keep as much of the root system as possible.
7 Continue to dig, rocking the shovel back and forth until you feel the rootball loosen, or until the shovel has reached a 20-inch depth. Do you know... the world's first rose fossil was discovered in Florissant, Colorado, in the form of an imprint on slate, dating back 35-million years? The fossils are currently being kept in the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
8 The main goal is to get most of the roots, so dig gently and stay around the rootball. For those that truly enjoy the fragrances of roses... warm, humid weather intensifies their scents. The fragrances are also strongest early in the morning.
9 When the plant is loose enough to lift, soil will likely drop off the roots, leaving them exposed. Brush off any debris that may be around the root system.
10 Lift the rootball up carefully out of the hole. Newly planted roses need the equivalent of one-inch of water per week throughout their first growing season. A layer of organic mulch helps keep the soil evenly moist.
11 If it is not far, carefully walk the plant over to its new planting location - these rose plants were moving just feet away. If a plant needs to go a farther distance, wrap the roots in plastic. This will keep the roots from drying out during the trip.
12 Assess the rose plant and be sure there are no dead roots, or branches that need removing. Occasionally, roots from other plants or trees may get intertwined.
13 When transplanting roses, choose a location with at least six hours of full sun. Some roses will be happy in areas of partial shade, but most roses bloom best when in full sun all day. Do you know... it takes at least eight years for each David Austin English rose seedling to win approval for its scent, so it can be released for sale as a new variety?
14 The new planting hole should be approximately 18-inches wide and about 15-18 inches deep. Make sure the soil has good drainage. Roses need regular deep watering, but their roots will rot if left to sit for days in wet soil.
15 Do not worry if the hole is too large or too deep at this stage. It will take a little trial and error to fit the rose plant in perfectly. The bud union should be planted one to two-inches below ground level in colder climates such as Bedford. In warmer areas, the bud union should be just above ground level.
16 The new planting hole should have amended soil in it, and it should have a pH level between 6.5 and 7. Do you live in a US state or area that calls the rose its official flower? If so, you must live in Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota or in the District of Columbia.
17 Dress the soil with a light amount of rose fertilizer. Look for formulas that are specially designed for new plantings that will also help prevent any possible transplant shock.
18 Place the rose plant gently into the hole, making sure the soil is not so deep that the crown of the plant is buried. If so, remove the plant and add more soil. The crown should be at the same level as it was in its last location.
19 Do not overcrowd the plants. The more air flow around the plants, the less likely they will be to get fungal diseases. It will also make tending to them a lot easier.
20 Once the rose plant is in its ideal position within the hole, backfill the hole with the amended soil. Be sure to shovel soil around the bare roots - this will also keep out any air pockets that could possibly harm the plant.
21 Continue filling the hole until there is a slight mound at the base of the bush.
22 These roses are climbers, and need the support of a trellis or fence. My gardener, Wilmer, gently secured the tall branches to the trellis with some garden twine.
23 The twine does not have to be tight - just enough to anchor the branch and provide proper guidance as it grows.
24 The knot should face the back of the trellis or fence, so it is the least noticeable, and clip the twine close to the knot, so it's tidy.
25 These climbing roses will look wonderful on this tower trellis. They have long, arching canes that will grow many flowers, which can cover any structure that supports them.
26 In no time, these trellises will be full of beautiful, fragrant roses.