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Valentine’s Day: Time to show garden rose bushes some love

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening expert Emilio Telles conducted a class on rose care at Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale January 15, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening expert Emilio Telles conducted a class on rose care at Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale January 15, 2011

“Think about me on Valentine’s Day. That’s when you need to fertilize,” recommended gardening expert, Emilio Telles, during the rose care class at Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale, on Saturday, January 15, 2011.   Telles used another holiday, Halloween, as a stopping point for fertilizing rose bushes.

Telles’ January class focused mostly on the pruning of rose bushes. I took Armstrong’s “Rose care for beginners,” last May and wrote about it in this blog.  So for this winter class, I was taking detailed notes on pruning because I was ready, for the first time, to cut down my rose bushes and not leave that chore to the gardener.  

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening expert Emilio Telles demonstrated the proper way to prune a new rose bush at an Armstrong Garden Center class in Glendale on January 15, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening expert Emilio Telles demonstrated the proper way to prune a new rose bush at an Armstrong Garden Center class in Glendale on January 15, 2011

In between humorous stories of what-not-to-do, Telles provided helpful tips and techniques on pruning. Most important, for established roses cut them down by a third. Severe pruning is for new rose bushes. Also, Telles instructed the group of amateur gardeners to remove the leaves and clip the branches with the cut pointing outward, thin out the rose bush, and open up its center.

For hearty beautiful rose bushes, Telles recommends pruning even if they have buds on them: “You have to let your roses go to sleep.” He says the rose bushes will go dormant, but start growing again in a few weeks. That’s exactly what happened to my rose bushes.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening pro Emilio Telles demonstrated how to remove a new rose bush from its packaging at an Armstrong Garden Center class in Glendale February 12, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Gardening pro Emilio Telles demonstrated how to remove a new rose bush from its packaging at an Armstrong Garden Center class in Glendale February 12, 2011

I’m thrilled to say, I have new growth on all the canes of my rose bushes. My pruning was far from perfect, but apparently rose bushes are forgiving of a few awkward cuts here and there. At last Saturday’s February rose pruning class, I concentrated on fertilizers and dealing with nasty pests and diseases that attack roses.

Got questions about your rose bushes? Drop by the Armstrong Garden Center at 5816 San Fernando Road and ask a green shirt pro for advice. The staff is really eager to help customers out with any type of plant or gardening issue or problem. Other Armstrong Garden Centers offer the classes, which are free, as well. Information on classes and gardening tips are available at the garden centers or on the company website.

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