I have had a lot of success (I grew a 100 ft hedge from 3 rose bushes
) by taking the cuttings as I prune, planting them where I wanted them to grow and putting a jar over them for the winter.
The cuttings should be only about 6 inches (and pencil width) with at least 2 (more preferable) leaf nodes. Take the cuttings from the middle of the stems - tip cuttings don't work as well. Plant the cuttings up to just below the top node. When they start to grow leaves, take the jars off.
I have never used rooting hormone and I'm not sure what you mean by "slicing away the hard area." Otherwise, I'm don't see why you couldn't start them in pots but, I would put several cuttings in a 1 gallon pot as, for some reason, cuttings like company. Keep them someplace cool, you want them to grow roots before they leaf out.