As volunteers spruced up the grounds of Sellwood’s historic Oaks Pioneer Church, at the east end of the Sellwood Bridge, on March 2nd, the volunteer gardeners got a timely lesson in rose-pruning.

Asked if she liked roses, Kimberly Bown, Oregon State Extension Multnomah County Master Gardener volunteer, member of the Portland Rose Society and a Royal Rosarian replied with a grin and a wink, “Yes, just a little!! And, I like being of service to the community.”

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Volunteer John Linngren prunes the old gentleman of the garden the one thought to be the first rose bush planted at the Oaks Pioneer Church, the picturesque building near the Sellwood Bridge rented by SMILE for weddings and other events. Now that the chance for frost has passed, Bown told THE BEE, “Now is the time to prune your roses! Pruning is the key with roses – you can hardly over-prune them. And, if you don't prune them, they’ll suffer horribly.”

Bown suggests cutting them down to about knee-height. “You can just chop away, but we suggest making a cut just above each break, and bud.”

Further, Bown suggested:

· Open up the center of the rose plant.

· Leave from three, four or five canes that are devoid of leaves, like the fingers of a hand.

· Leave no crossing canes.

· Clear out any deadwood or weeds that are growing there.

· In April as the roses come in, spread some organic fertilizer.

· Knock down fungal spores by spraying Neem Oil to keep black-spot at bay.

Then, during the season all you need to do is deadhead, Bown instructed. That is, when a bloom is old, give it a snip. Youll continue having blooms all through the season.

Following this simple plan, Bown said, will help roses thrive and They will appreciate it very much. The church, originally the oldest Episcopal Church in Oregon, dating back to the mid 1800s, was moved from the City of Milwaukie to its spot just north of the east end of the Sellwood Bridge in 1961, where it is operated by the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association, SMILE, and is available for rent for weddings and other special events. For more, contact Lori Fyre at 503/234-3570, or go online to:

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