Monday, April 1, 2013


As I looked up into the green canopy above me, a slight breeze tickled my skin, and I squinted back at the sun through the leaves. These nice days are a welcome change from a long gray winter. I studied the branches. I took note of the healthy foliage and lamented what was required of me. 

You see, I had to hack it all down.

If you look very closely, you will see that this is not a tree. It is a climbing rose. And it was over 15 feet tall.
It did not get pruned last year (and maybe the year before that). And I am 2 months late in pruning it this year. Apparently, when it's wet and soggy outside, I seem to find plenty of other things that need doing. I have, because of my procrastination, delayed its bloom time. But, at least, I will be able to see the roses. Last year, since it blooms only on new growth, I could only see it when I was out in the yard - if I looked up. My back neighbors, however, could enjoy its full glory. No thanks were necessary. I'm a giver like that.

At various times, I had fleeting help. 

But usually only when they were allowed use of the "chompers".

I am not a professional rose pruner. I do a lot of reading and I can wield a set of loppers like nobody's business. So, feel free to offer some constructive criticism.

 I, first, cut down the height - all of that beautiful new growth. Then, I thinned out the canes. I took out canes that were growing inward - toward the center of the plant, and any that were rubbing against another. This allows for good air circulation and less problems with insects. There were a couple of canes growing up from beneath the graft point, and I also removed those.

A lot of varieties of roses are grafted onto a hardy root stock. The graft point is that roundish looking part near the ground. You can see that there are a few canes growing from beneath that. If left alone and not removed, those canes could steal precious nutrients and energy from the grafted rose I want and "take over" the plant.

I then went back and trimmed each remaining cane to make sure that it was cut just above an outward facing bud. In doing so, I realized that my loppers are in dire need of sharpening. It's a bit of a hack job.

But, this is the finished product...

It looks sad, but it will fill out. I'm giving it some good organic fertilizer to give it a boost. 

Next on my pruning rampage will be my grapes and my Japanese barberry out front - both also late. 

But on the bright side, the peas I planted a couple of weeks ago are starting to come up. 

Don't you just love all the rocks the boys decided just had to be in my garden? Oh well, I guess a little drainage can't hurt. 

It's been a full week. And not as scary as I feared it would be. I'm happy with our Spring Break. The coast was wonderful, the movie was fun - thought provoking even (more on that), and the weather has been fantastic. One more day off, then it's back to routine and schedules. I am looking forward to that, too. The Bickersons (Boys 1 & 2) need a little space from each other.

Speaking of the boys, I had asked Boy 1 to get my camera and bring it to me while I was pruning and, later,  I found some extra footage.


And this...

Oh, I love those boys. Especially now. When they're asleep. ;)

I hope you have had a pleasant Easter. We did. A little chocolate and scriptures and talking about Jesus. You can't go wrong with that.

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