Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures in Rose Hacking

Recently the idea of rose pruning has come up again and again. Could it be that it's Spring?

My sister and I met at the ancestral homestead (Mom and Dad's house) and she pruned the roses with Dad while I did more mundane things to the house. Holly seems to know when it's time to prune roses. She did a great job. (Those are some of Mom's old roses in the photo above.)

The following week, following an inner voice that said "the roses, the roses!", I turned to my own scraggly, miscreant bushes. I cut them down, basically looking for anything that looked too long and trimming it. Here's where Mom comes in. If it weren't for Mom's constantly talking about plants as I grew up, I might not have known where to prune. I cut so that the inside wouldn't grow in on itself. Using sharp pruning shears, I cut at an angel about 1/2" above a good joint in the rose stem. I chose places where the stem bud was pointing towards the outside of the rose. I trimmed off dead wood. It was fun and I remembered why I didn't like roses as a kid: a damned thorn poked me under my fingernail, brought a tear to my eye, and hurt for days.

I guess that's why Mom wore gloves. Live and learn.

Now I know there's another step involving fertilizer and water. I have Mom's class notes out on the table, but mostly I think I'll just aim for using Miracle Grow. I have a drip hose already out there, so that part is easy.

Mom took the picture above, she had a way of making a nice composition in her garden photos.

How about you? Are you gardening? Here in Southern California it is definitely Spring, although we'll probably get some cold spells again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mom's photo of sweetpeas in the window light

It's been months and months
since I wrote in this blog. But mother's spirit seems to be stirring with the new growth in the garden. And as I struggle to learn what the heck to do to the shoots of Brazilian Pepper tree taking over my garden and when to plant the iris rhizomes and what to do with the stump of camelia that the dog chewed down to the ground but still lives, well, this struggle of mine deserves company.

So I think I'll share the journey.

Many people have been gardening seriously forever. I didn't have to. My mom was the gardener. All I had to do was put something in a pot now and then and ignore the rest of the yard. Sometimes beautiful miracles took place. But now I have a shelf full of garden books, iris rhizomes needing to be bedded, and epiphyliums to puzzle over. It's time!

Between my sister and I, we also have every article Mom ever wrote for the San Diego Union about gardening. And we have her book about gardening in Southern California.

So, if you'll bear with me, I'll post some of my trials and tribulations and an occasional hint from Mom from her writings. Maybe it can be as if she's guiding me on this path! My dirty fingernails, her gentle whispers and laughter.

It will be almost like having her here.

Much love,