Spring Pruning 2007

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2007 – 10:31 p.m.

2007-03-11 10:31

Spring has sprung and the forsythia is blooming. That means it’s time for to do the spring pruning of the roses. Well, MY forsythia isn’t blooming yet but those down the street are. Besides, the weather is in the 60’s and sunny and, being my “on-call” weekend for work, I can’t go anywhere anyway. So I sharpened up the Felco pruners and headed for the garden.

I managed to get about half of the bushes done on Saturday and filled up one trashcan with very prickly yard trash. That seemed like a good stopping point since I wanted to go for a bike ride before the end of the day. Most of yesterday was working on the beds that have the OGRs. The good thing about that is they don’t need that much pruning, generally. You don’t cut them back in the spring. The downside is the early spring is the BEST time to cut out the dead wood and that means wading in and get into the mass of canes that are the OGR bushes. I need to remember that I should go back and prune the non-remontant (blooming only once a season) bushes AFTER they bloom. I managed to take out some of the older canes (that looked kind of beat-up) on the Francesca as well as the Austrian Copper. I also cleared up a bunch of the low growing branches that have been problematic during mowing.

Since today was the day that Daylight Savings Time kicked in, I spend much of my moring verifying that the stuff at the office was working correctly (from here, thank goodness) so I didn’t get out to the garden till about noon. Today was most of the modern roses (Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, minis, and polyanthas). It strikes me that pruning is like sculpting. you have to visualize what the end should look like given how the current canes have grown. I also worked on cutting back the two The Fairy bushes. That is a thorny bush and it really reaches out and grabs your clothes (or you if it happens to be bare flesh… ouch!) For the bush away from the house, I cleared out lower branches and where it had grown into where other bushes are growing but I used the hedge-shears on The Fairy bush that is closer to the house. We will see how they grow given the different pruning methods. I also cut back the White Pet pretty significantly… Well, I thinned it a lot…. it was in comflict with the King of Hearts bush so I took out canes that grew in that direction. Similarly, I cut back the side that is next to the Kitty Hawk. I think I got more agressive as the day went by but I also got more confident about what I was doing.

Once I finished pruning (and applied the Elmers Glue to the cut cane ends), I hooked up the hoses to give the plants a drink. Turns out that one of the soaker hoses had broken right by the hose connector (which was a replacement connector anyway) so I tried to fix that. Alas, the hose was old and kept splitting so I had to pull it out. Well, I had wanted to redo the watering on that bed anyway, using the 1/2″ and 1/4″ drip system. Turns out I had alreay run a 1/2″ supply hose aroud about half of the bed but I needed to run another section of 1/2″ hose to get to the other spots in the bed. That took most of the rest of the afternoon (including a run to Lowes for more parts) So much for getting a ride in today…

So what else with roses? Didn’t do much over the fall with the bushes other than enjoy them. I did get one dose of Lime-Sulphur spray applied, over the holidays, as well as the early winter pruning so the bushes didn’t blow about in the wind. I did get bed #1 (along the fence) reworked with the 1/2″ and 1/4″ drip irrigation stuff. I am hoping that this will cut down on the tendency for the yard to get flooded when I water. Of the rose cutting I did from the Rose Show last year, only one took: Sombreuill. It’s currently living in the kitchen window but I am going to need to find a place for it this spring since it is a climber and will probably get too big for the inside space real soon now.

My plan for the fall/winter was to get a new bed in, back in the “back 40” (at least that’s what I call the triangular area behind the back fence. However, taking a spill on the bike back in Oct and having shoulder surgery to fix it have meant that I never did get the stuff done. I did get a leaf blower/vacuum in the fall and that really helped with getting the leaves up. It chops up the leaves in the process so hopefully that means the compost bin will get some good stuff this year.

Ok, I am about to fall asleep so I am going to leave it at that.

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