Shovel Pruning Is Hard For Me

Shovel Pruning…. I swore when I began growing roses that I would never do it. It seems like such a cruel thing to do. The more roses I add, the more I have come to realize that some just will not, despite my best efforts be healthy and productive. I usually give a rose at least 3 years in my garden before shovel pruning. Today’s activity was especially difficult, as I shovel pruned the rose I won my first rose show award with. “Tropicana” It had dwindled down to one cane and had some severe dieback this year. It had to go. The other, “Gold Medal” was a favorite of Tina’s, but even she agreed that it was time for it to go. It too had dwindled down to one spindly cane with no hope of recovery.  Below are a few shots of these once beautiful roses in my garden. They will exist now only in my memory…. Farewell sweet roses, parting is such sweet sorrow…… blah blah blah….

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About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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5 Responses to Shovel Pruning Is Hard For Me

  1. Teresa says:

    Okay this made me cry. I look over my list of roses that are no longer in my garden and it is like losing a friend. The roses above sure had their day. Beautiful.


  2. Greggo says:

    I guess they were a shovel ready project.


  3. Holley says:

    I feel the same way. I have some that probably need to go, but it’s tough to give up on a plant.


  4. LO says:

    Send me all your shovel prunings!!!

    I refuse to give up! I think roses are like wines…theyre are good years and not so good years. Roses I thought were on their way to dying have suprise me the next season. The only time I shovel prune is when the plant is totally dead. Same goes with all plants in my garden. I wont get rid of them until they are shrivled up and dry.

    I wish I could be the “last resort” for roses…. just send all your shovel prunings my way and I’ll nurture them till the very end! 🙂


  5. Masha says:

    I still feel the same way too, but I tell myself that life is too short to grow something that doesn’t like you.


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