That's what always kills my roses.. the late freezes. I've learned that I have to be patient and to not uncover the roses. In fact, this spring, I saw leaves emerging on the roses above my mulch and so I piled even MORE mulch on them. I didn't do that with all the roses, and the ones I did are far stronger than the ones I didn't pile more mulch on. One rose I was EXTREMELY worried about, English Perfume (Rose (Rosa 'English Perfume')
), as it was a VERY small own-root from RU, I made sure that it was completely and utterly BURIED in mulch. Right now it's about a foot tall with brand-new canes growing like a weed. I also moved my Dolly Parton from one section of my yard to about 15 feet away. I now know why she was never a strong rose. I completely and utterly planted her 100% wrong. I planted her like you plant a tree, with the union about an inch above the ground. It's only because of the mulch that she has survived for as long as she has!! I now have her about 3" below ground level and then buried her up to her eyeballs (well, almost to the top of the green cane that survived) in mulch. And another positive thing I've found, especially this year, is that everyone is SOOOO full of buds because of the soil. My soil here is crap. Crap Crap Crap. What's not extreme clay is sand. Bleh. No happy medium. But, since I've been using soooooo much mulch, the soil has been improved a gazillion-fold. There are literally hundreds of worms in every hole I've dug, the soil is pebbly & not compact.. I can't believe the difference it's made from the mulch breaking down & putting the nutrients back into the soil. That's why some of my roses, my older ones that I've mulched since day one, are huge & happy. Austrian Copper & Theresa Bugnet are in bloom right now and there are very very few roses that are not with buds. It's not because I fed generously last year.. I didn't. I was sorely neglectful of them last year. But, I feel that this year, they're in much better straits because of the soil being so much better due to the mulch!