A “Hack” Job …

Tuesday, Mar. 01, 2005 – 3:59 p.m.

2005-03-01 3:59

The task for this weekend was to prune the roses. However, it was also the last Saturday of the month, which means it was time for the Raleigh Rose Society monthly meeting. Since it was February, it was the pruning workshop that we do every year. Not having any roses to contribute (I figure that any bushes that I would get rid of should go to Muir’s garden to be…), only Rich and Dave brought bushes to be pruned. However, that was fine since they each brought about 8 or so and we did not have that big a crowd… only about 5 folk who were “novices”. I helped two folk prune some bushes but didn’t take any bushes myself. Not really that surprising since all the bushes were HT, or floribunda, or minis and I am concentrating on getting OGRs and species bushes. Beside, I really need to move some stuff around before I can get any new bushes. These bushes would really need to go right back into the ground. The weather was fine and sunny if a little cool; just right for pruning but I didn’t get to my yard until Sunday. In the afternoon, I went to help Geva move from townhouse (upstairs/downstairs) apt to a flat/garden/ground-floor apartment. I was impressed with how many people showed up to help her do this spur-of-the-moment move. By the time I got there, folk were in the process of unpacking all the stuff and arranging the apartment. When it got the point where there were more hands than things to be done, I figured I would get out of the way so I headed over to Muir’s to help her with her taxes.

Sunday’s weather was not quite as nice as Saturday’s…. it got cloudier as the day went on with a temp in the upper 40s or low 50s. I worked in a sweatshirt and long gloves and it was just fine. However, before I could prune, I needed to sharpen my pruners. I had been by Target the previous day and did not find a whetstone like I was looking for so the first task was to try and find a whetstone…which took me first to Wal-Mart and then to Lowes. While at Lowes, I also got a new hose splitter… I call it a manifold…. it is a thing you put on a faucet to allow you to connect 5 hoses to one spigot. My brass one had busted when I forgot to drain it one time this winter when we had a bout of freezing weather. I wanted another brass one plus I need to replace some of the current plastic hose ends with metal ones. I did end up finding a whetstone (actually a diamond sharpening stone).

After eating a quick lunch, I set about sharpening and lubricating my pruning shears. I also got the loppers out and they REALLY needed it.

To the Garden…

With sharp shears, I headed for the garden… I rolled 2 of my 3 trashcans around to take the trimmings. I also grabbed the Elmer’s Glue to treat the ends of the cut stems. In the past years, I have forgotten that step and I have ended up with a fair number of cases of cane borers. These little wasps burrow into the end of cut canes and lay their eggs in the deep hole. This, of course, kills the cane eventually and I ended up pruning off a LOT cane borer-damaged canes. I tackled the bed near fence first, since it is mostly modern bushes but I worked my way around to all the beds eventually. I pruned all the modern roses to one degree or another. I pruned the HT the hardest and the floribundas somewhat less aggressively. Since I had not done any pruning in the fall, I had a lot to cut away. Looking back, I think I pruned the later bushes somewhat less aggressively than the early bushes. The minis and the polyanthas were not cut back that much. We will see how things work out. Pruning is kind of like a haircut that takes a year or so to grow out. For the OGRs, I didn’t do much except prune away dead wood and canes that were going where I didn’t want them. Particularly, I didn’t prune the Madame Hardy, Rosa Mundi or Rembrandt. We will see how they bloom this year. Besides, the spring-only bloomers should be pruned after they bloom anyway. Some of the smaller bushes from last year, where I had just buried the pots in the ground, looked like they took a beating this winter. I held off pruning them until I can tell which canes are really dead. In particular, I noticed that the Souv. de la Malmaison took it hard. Fortunately it is an own-root bush so even if it dies back to the ground, it still should come back (I hope). The Autumn Damask also looks like it is a bit damaged. No way to tell until things leaf out.

I also took a close look at some of the bushes I got from Astor Perry’s yard last year for Muir. Some of them had a lot of dead or damaged canes so got pruned very hard. We will see how they fare.

Three hours and one and a half trashcans of very prickly cuttings later, everything was pruned!

The Post

Last year, I got an 8-ft 4×4 post to use for climbing roses. Well, I finally got around digging a hole in the middle of the “diamond” for it. When things get a little warmer (and we are finally out of frost danger… probably the first of April.) I will put the two Souv. de la Malmaison (the bush one from last year and the climbing variety I got in January) by the post and hopefully, after a year or two, they will look like one nice big bush. I have several other rambling bushes (though I can’t think of their names right now) that I need to find some other places for. I am thinking I might run one of them along the fence behind the HTs. I may have to get another post or two… that might be a good solution…

Now I just need to decide what else I am getting this year while down in SC at Roses Unlimited…. I also got the catalog for Ashdown Roses…

Enough for now…

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