3 on the Road: Rose Pruning - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on the Road: Rose Pruning

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

If you are a gardener you have always be thinking a season or two ahead of yourself. So even though it’s the middle of winter, you should be planning for the blooming season.

That’s what they were doing last weekend at Jackson’s old Greenwood Cemetery downtown, by pruning the roses. Rose pruning an old-timey ritual but very practical if you want your roses to grow.

And if you wanted to perform some old timey ritual this would an appropriate place, an old-timey cemetery.

Cecile Wardlaw is the Director of the Greenwood Cemetery Association.

“This is the original burying ground for the city of Jackson," said Cecile. "It was established in1823 when the city was first laid out. There was very poor transportation to get here. The roads were terrible. So if people came here and died here they got buried in Greenwood Cemetery.”

There is common folk of all colors buried here as well as Governors and Civil War soldiers, and the patron saint of Jackson, Mississippi, Eudora Welty. On her headstone is a line from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘The Optimist’s Daughter.’

Interestingly, at the beginning of that book is a reference to what’s happening here today where Judge McKelva is zeroing in the precise date he began experiencing his eye trouble, George Washington’s Birthday because he recalled he was pruning his roses that day.

In the South, George Washington’s Birthday is the day for that.  Has nothing to do with George Washington but everything to do with the date, late February. And that’s what’s happening here right now.

“Today the Old Garden Rose Society is pruning the roses. And we are so thrilled that they have agreed to adopt the roses in Greenwood Cemetery," added Cecile. "They’ve been here for about 15 years since Felder Rushing started planting them for us.”

Not only is right now the time to prune, but it’s also the time to attempt to root the cuttings. Start with a green stem about the size and length of a pencil.

Katherine Brinson is one of the Master Gardeners doing the pruning.

“But you want to be sure that you have one eye that gets underground, said Katherine. "And you want to be sure that you have at least one eye above the ground.”

I asked Katherine how you knew if your cuttings are rooting. She said if they dried up and turned brown they weren’t rooting.

But this summer when you come to the cemetery to pick up your tour brochure so you’ll know who’s buried where, and they’re always available in the summer house, make sure you give yourself enough time to smell the roses which will be in healthy full bloom by then because they were pruned properly right now, in the middle of winter.

I’ve never really been able to successfully root a rose, myself. But if you want to give it a try, February is the time. And if it doesn’t work, just shrug it off. As Felder Rushing says, “It’s just a plant.”

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