A classic illustration on lighting altar candles showed seven candles on each side. The first candles to be lit started to the right of the cross and were numbered moving away from the cross. The the left side was lit, starting at the cross and moving away. The instructions said next, "Reverse to outen." That meant the first candle lit would be the last one extinguished.
That is a tradition from the days before filling the chancel with pit bands and giant movie screens.
Rose pruning works the same way. All summer long, pruning spurs growth, from planting them and pruning bare roots and new canes, to the last blooming cycle.
Nothing slows down rose production more than letting a flower go to seed, which means a chemical change in the plant.
The weather reports suggested rain last night and today, so I decided to water. No rain fell and the sky is blue. We are in the sun-drenched South, so I am giving the roses another bloom cycle.
I went through all the KnockOut roses and cut off every spent and going-to-seed rose I could spot, then went back two more times to find even more. The first draft is never enough. I could have chopped the six foot bushes in half again, but that would have meant no color for now and too much growth going into the fall season of going dormant.
All roses love to be pruned, and KnockOut roses are especially eager to grow and bloom after a 50% pruning.
|I was not keen about Cinco de Mayo roses - $5 each for two bushes,|
but they proved to be quite beautiful in full bloom.
Reverse To Outen
Once we reach the end of September, there will be no more pruning. The roses will become dormant and I will spend the winter thinking about transplanting a few and planting a few more - nothing like this year. The yard will be full with about 100 rose bushes. That means a few more Mr. Lincoln roses - Mrs. Ichabod's favorite - some roses for rose hips - and some bargain roses for $5 if that offer is made by Gurney's again.
No Insecticides, No Herbicides, No Fungicides
I was going to buy rose spray when I began reading, Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden. Yes, I know, but just in case. I never did. In all the years of rose growing I have seldom sprayed, and it never really worked anyway.
I had enormous damage to white roses and Peace roses on the first bloom - thanks to aphids. But they were the incentive for beneficial bugs to move in - Flower Flies and Ichneumon Wasps. The second blooming of those flowers was almost completely perfect. At the end of the season I may have six John Paul II blooming and six budding with one flower aphid-destroyed. No problem. "You aphids are just attracting my favorite bugs. Your sins will visited upon the second and third generation."
I had Black Spot, a fungus, on some roses, but I never found it to be a major problem. I clipped off the damage into the grass and forgot about it. Roses are now far more protected against Black Spot, but not completely.
|These Yellow Cone Flowers host beneficials and create seeds loved by birds.|
The Rudbeckias at Norma Boeckler's garden were hosting beneficial insects when we visited. They are best seen when the wind is not blowing. I bent over the Brown-Eyed Susans and saw them close-up, flitting about.
Spider webs wrap around my face at times as I view the garden. People like to say they hate spiders, which are free insectide and bio-degradable, sustainable, and eager to fight global warming.
Pruning the Crepe Myrtle
This bush is late-blooming, but holds it flowers a long time, turning to seed. Now they are mostly bloomed, so I will cut them all off for a second blooming cycle. The seeds will be food for the birds all winter and the seedheads cut off in the spring to encourage new growth and buds.
|Crepe myrtles can be pruned in many different ways,|
but they need pruning at least twice a year.