Back to the March 4 pruning effort …. Of the five rose bushes in the garden that I have not talked about yet, three of them are the bare root roses I bought from Palatine Roses in the fall of 2016, two Rosier des Peintres and a Splendens. They have had about 16 months in the ground and are looking pretty good. I did not prune them at all this time, mostly because I think they got some natural pruning from deer this winter. It looks like someone nipped off the tips of canes, and my guess is deer. The Rosier des Peintres are starting to leaf out while the Splendens is still bare canes with only a hint of breaking dormancy. I really hope I get blooms on them this year… I want to see what they actually look like (and maybe I can get a good specimen or two to press for my display).
In the center of my garden, I have a diamond-shaped bed with two bushes in it: Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison, and The Fairy. Over the last couple of years, the many of the larger canes of Souv. de la Malmaison have died back and this winter was no exception. I suspect that my lack of watering in the winter may contribute to that, or some way to shield it from the harshest of the deep freeze. I pruned out a number of large canes that were either dead or nearly so. I am hoping that I will get some good new canes from the base this year.
As for The Fairy, I don't do anything with it. It is really hearty and I just let it go. In retrospect, I should probably go thin it out, looking for any dead wood. and maybe shape it a little to keep it from getting out of control… oh, and take some of cuttings and plant them. This particular bush is actually a cutting from a bush that got removed in the bed renovation. Several years ago, I had pruned back that bush and took one of the pruned-off bits and just stuck it in the ground in the diamond bed. Other than watering it, I didn't do any more care and it rooted there. This is a very hearty rose and it spends much of the year covered in clusters of little pink blossoms. I like it even if it is not period variety.
So, at the end of the day on March 4, I had three trash cans full of sticks and other pruned off bits. All got hauled over to the municipal yard waste dump and now I just need to tackle the weeds that have wintered over in the beds, trying to keep ahead once the weather warms up again.