A couple weeks ago I cleaned up the planting beds and cut back the roses. The shrub roses are full of new growth now but haven't progressed yet in producing buds. The climbers are also showing much new growth, the canes covered with dark red leaves. Last year, the canes were almost completely stripped by blackspot. The new mulch I spread in the beds was infected with the mess, which cut short the blooming season a bit. I've been spraying regularly this year with Ortho Rose Pride to inhibit the germination of the blackspot spores. I've found that the Rose Pride brought the disease under control last year, finally. The climber wall in the courtyard is starting to look great, and this past 1.5 weeks showed the first two blooms. My climbing wall features four trellises of roses, two Don Juans (a dark blood-red/black bloom) and two Joseph's Coats. The JC's bloom a varigated orange-yellow flower at first, and as it ages the petals turn mauve and end more towards a pink. My climbing wall is usually full of red, yellow, orange and mauve roses. In the beds opposite the climbing wall, I have Ingrid Bergman (light red), Sun Dance (dark yellow), and Queen Elizabeth II (pink). Betty White croaked last season from the blackspot, and her root stock took over, creating an ugly thorny flowerless climbing monster. Betty bloomed white, naturally. But I dug her rotting roots out when I cleaned up the beds and amputated her mutant root stock. She will be replaced by my Hoochy-Coochy Hibiscus (yes, folks, that IS its real species name) that my mom gave me last Easter. The Hooch has been root-bound in a pot, but he can take the cold, since his pot was outside all winter. Here's a shot of the Joseph's Coat blooms. The orange one is recent, the big mauve one is just about to loose its petals.