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.

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