The East Baton Rouge Master Gardener Association kicks off its 2019 series of gardening presentations with talks on roses and pruning at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Zachary Branch Library, 1900 Church St.

The talks are free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

The first talk of the evening, “Are You Feeling Rosy?,” is a visual introduction to the differences between modern and antique roses, as well as the characteristics of climbers, ramblers, shrub and drift roses.

Also learn which ones are best to grow in the area. The presentation reviews new disease-resistant and easy-care varieties that are particularly suited to the Gulf South’s hot and humid conditions. Carol Paine, an EBRMG member and rose devotee, will speak from experience on pest and disease management, pruning and other aspects of rose care. She grows dozens of different varieties at her Baton Rouge home and will bring samples from her garden.

Paine said roses in the past have been difficult to grow, “but the newer carefree varieties are much more disease resistant. I’ll be discussing some roses that can even be trimmed with a hedge trimmer. And for fragrance, you just can’t beat a rose.”

In the second presentation of the evening, Louisiana Master Gardener Claire Fontenot will guide participants through the “why, what, when, where and how” of pruning to enhance both the look and the health of plants, shrubs and trees.

“Many people associate pruning with controlling the size of a shrub or tree that’s grown too large,” Fontenot said, “but there are many other reasons to prune. With proper pruning, gardeners can increase flowering and fruit, direct a plant’s growth and prevent or repair damage from pests or disease.”

Fontenot has served as volunteer coordinator at the BREC Independence Park Botanic Garden for the past 17 years and has volunteered at the Windrush Gardens at the Burden Museum and Gardens.

The next Library Series program is March 14 at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library and features talks on “The Down and Dirty of Lawn Care” and “Drip Irrigation Systems for Container Gardening.” Programs later this spring and summer will focus on culinary herbs, citizen scientists, gingers, edible landscapes, vines, succulents, climbing gardens, daisies and other perennials, houseplants, fall vegetable gardens and hydroponics.

For information on the 2019 EBRMG Library Series or the association’s other outreach activities, visit ebrmg.com.