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ontecito landscapes are often as diverse as
the architecture which they surround. It is not
uncommon to discover the olives, lavenders and
rosemary of a Mediterranean style garden liv-
ing next door to a Tudor home with a cottagey
English border welcoming guests to the front door. Also not surprising are
the ceanothus, manzanita and oaks down the block that comprise the
neighbors’ native plantings.
However, as dissimilar as these landscapes are, there’s a good
chance that somewhere on each of these properties there are
roses growing. Southern Californians, and Montecitans in partic-
ular, love their roses: be it a formal rose garden adjacent to that
English garden or a much loved climbing Cecile Brunner cascad-
ing into that olive tree and keeping watch over the garden’s more
drought-tolerant tenants.
If you are considering sharing your garden with roses by adding
a formal or not-so-formal rose garden to your landscape, January is
the time when bare root roses become available for sale at local nurser-
ies. The first of the year is also a good time to replace any of your existing
bushes that have not performed as expected, or ones that are just “done.”
If you’re starting from scratch, it is best to situate your garden in an area that
gets a full day of sun. You can grow roses in less light, but they’re more likely
to flourish if given as much sun as possible.
It’s best to plant within a day or so of bringing the rose plants home from the
nursery. Allowing the tender roots to dry out before planting can cause the new
canes to die back and ultimately kill the plant. Be sure to keep the medium that the
bushes are wrapped in moist until planting. Soaking the roots of the plants in a bucket
of water overnight before planting is sometimes advised.
If you are blessed with gophers, rabbits or any other Montecito wildlife you might
want to consider planting your new bushes in chicken wire cages and surrounding the
rose garden in short rabbit-proof fencing to dissuade unwanted fauna.
Mid-January is also the time for you to properly and thoughtfully prune your existing
roses. Hybrid teas are pruned differently than climbers, which are pruned differently
in the
by Randy Arnowitz
photos by Joanne A. Calitri
Coming Up Roses
spr ing