Can These Old Roses Be Saved?

by Melisa
(Scales Mound, Illinois)


I just moved into my dream house, a great big 100 year old Sears home. The woman who lived here moved to the house when she was three, and spent her entire life only living in this house. When we bought the house from her grandson, the house had sat empty for 20 years, and he mentioned that she LOVED roses. Low and behold, when we were clearing brush from a maple tree, at the base are the shoots of two rose bushes. The stems are intact, but there was dry dead stem that I pruned off. I can see two leaves on each starting, and numerous along the stem. What can I do to save these roses, and is it even possible?? I feel a special kinship to the woman who lived here for some reason, and I would love to bring these back to life as a tribute to this house and her. Thanks SO much for your help!!
ANSWER: Hello Melisa
Yes, you have great chance to save the roses. Since you don't know what type of roses they are, once-blooming or repeat-flowering, you need to pay attention to when they flower.
Once-blooming roses only bloom on wood created the previous summer, so if you prune such a rose in spring there will be no blooms for that season.
They should only be pruned right after flowering in summer.
The first thing you should do is to add a good amount of organic compost and scratch it into the soil.
As you see more foilage emerging scratch in some organic rose food around the rose.
Lastly add a 2 inch layer of mulch around the base.
Now deep water several times per week if you don't have any rainfall or not much rain.
Congratulation on buying a classic Sears home with only one owner to boot.
I wish you could send me a picture. But it most likely needs a lot of work both inside and out.
I would really appriciate a picture of the rose when it's in bloom.
I do think it's going to make it because there is life there now.
Roses are tougher than people think, especially old varieties.
Here is my page about caring for roses.
Let me know how the rose is doing ok.
Happy Rose Gardening,

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