not sure about real old rose bushes in Boston.
i have enough land, that i just run two compost piles.
alternate years for harvesting them.
the worms in the soil do most of the work.
i don't even turn them any more.
the soil under the pile/bin becomes rich from
the compost and worms too, and is worth harvesting.
a good way to prepare a new bed, if you have a year,
is to just run a compost pile on top of it.
i have an electric mulcher, and make my own mulch from
I don't mulch what I trim off the roses,
even if it went into the compost pile,
i don't want to run the risk
of infecting the roses.
the rose clippings go out at the curb as yard waste.
i was just talking about how to move a rose,
if you wanted it in a new location.
no need to disturb the roots at all otherwise.
what's important about winterizing roses,
where it gets cold dry +/or freezes in the winter,
is to prevent dehydration.
so when you get the first frost, get all the leaves off,
and cut the canes back to about a foot off the ground.
then mound them about 6 inches with dirt or mulch.
the mounding is particularly important with
hybrid teas. floribundas,and fancy roses.
they are almost always grafted onto hardy root stock,
which, at best, blooms once a year with tiny mono-chrome roses.
the mound prevents the graft from drying out,
which kills the canes above it with the fancy roses.
for this reason, you also want to totally remove any new
shoots/canes that grow out of the ground.
they are just taking nutrients and water from the fancy rose
stock above the graft.