“When the forsythia bloom…”

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005 – 2:48 p.m.

2005-02-24 2:48

I was driving to work this morning and noticed that the forsythia have started blooming. That means that it is time to do the spring pruning of the roses. The winter has generally been pretty mild, or so it has seemed to me and I never did do the “cut them off chest-high” pruning in December so I have a LOT of pruning to do. Fortunately, the weather looks like it will cooperate this weekend… sunny with the highs in the 50s. It is also going to be the last weekend in February and that is the weekend of the rose society’s pruning workshop. In years past, I came away with a number of “new to me” bushes from these workshops but last year either I was out of town for the workshop or we dug up Astor Perry’s roses instead. Anyway, I hurt my hand so it hardly matters. Two years ago, I donated two bushes to the workshop (that’s what society members do… they bring in unpruned bushes that they are planning to get rid of and anyone who wants them get to take them home after they have been used as a pruning demo) and didn’t get any new stuff. Unless there is something pretty special, it will probably be the same this year (though I don’t really have anything to donate.)

The forcing project

My attempt to force roses is coming along quite well. I have good foliage on most of the bushes and one even has a good flower bud coming along. I am hoping that it will be just opening next week, in time for Kingdom A&S Festival. The Rosa Mundi that I pruned back is significantly delayed compared with the bush I didn’t prune back. I am trying to use liquid food for two out of every three waterings with the third watering being a good drenching (so that the salts don’t build up in the soil.) The mini I tried to save has not done anything so I think it is croaked.

At the winter meeting in Columbia the end of January, I picked up two new bushes… I just couldn’t stand it. I got a climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison and a noisette called Crepuscule . Nice bushes but one of them “imported” some pests into the house (it has been too cold to have them outside, in general). Looks like I got some powdery mildew and maybe white fly. Last week I took everything outside and sprayed with a fungicide (Funginex and Mancezeb) and this week it was Orthenex (insecticide and fungicide) plus Banner Maxx (fungicide). Hopefully it will keep stuff under control. The good news is that I will probalby be putting the bushes back outside, at least during the day, now that it is staying above freezing at night. I may have to grab them again if we are going to get freezing temps but this will give them time to get aclimated to the outside.

Once I get these “forced” bushes outside… Hmmm I may keep at least one inside to see until all the garden bushes are fully leafed out to see if keeping it inside cause it to bloom earlier. Anyway, Once everything is outside, I am going to try my hand at doing some rooting. Of course, I have a lot of garden work to do between now and then.

Enough for now…

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