Moving Antique Rose Bushes is not for the Weak of Heart

I absoluely love Antique Roses. Honestly, what is not to love about the beautiful cabbage blooms that belong somewhere in an Edwardian Novel? I have about 15 mature Antique Rose Bushes that are getting moved to different parts of the property. Some say I move plants like other people move furniture….they’d be right. This time, it is not my fault. The roses are blocking the view of my beautiful old tree, and that is bugging me.

I dig up a rose bush every few days and haul it to the back fence line. I’d like to say that the roses are small, cute little baby bushes….nope. Not even close. The rose bush I moved yesterday was known as Ballerina…..4 feet wide by 4 feet tall. I dug it after a cello lesson, in a nice shirt without gloves. I find spontaneously digging rose bushes gets the job done. If I plan on *when* to dig a thorny rosarian beast, I will put it off until next year. Let’s face it….no one in their right mind likes to dig up established Antique Roses. It is Texas, so I have approximately 2 more months until the roses need to be established for a nice spring bloom. For those of you who are also crazy enough to move an established rose bush, here is a little non-solicited, non-professional garden advice.

First, scope out the new home for your rose. Make sure the “why” outweighs the “how”. Moving large rose bushes is tough work. Roses are heavy and not easy on the ‘ol back, arms or legs. Be prepared for a few thorns….or a lot of thorns. After you scope out the new location, dig your new hole quite large and add plenty of compost to the bottom. Make sure you mix in native soil as well. Dig the rose in the late afternoon, when the sun is setting. You will have time to water the rtose in, and then let the rose rest without the stress of the sun. Sometimes I keep a drip on the large roses after I move them. After about a week, the rose bush should be good to go.

I’ve moved roses in the middle of summer as well….not advised, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do! Again dig late in the afternoon, but take your rose directly to a plant nursery. Keep the rose out of the sun until all shock has left. It is then safe to plant your rose. Keep a drip on the bush for a week or so. Waiting until the Fall or early Spring would be advisable for summer digging, but anything is possible if one is motivated. 🙂

I have five bushes left to move. It’s foggy and a bit rainy today, so it would be nice to dig. Perhaps…..

Happy Gardening, all you rose lovers out there! May you have a grand and glorious day.