|We had a long summer last year,|
a great time for large, almost flawless roses.
Beneficial insects and spiders ate most of the
rose destroyers, though Japanese beetles did have some fun.
Facebook tells me not to neglect the Creation Gardening Page, so I will feed their software another post. I put the gardening posts on my main page, but the Creation Gardening Page is only gardening and Creation related posts and articles.
| Creation Gardening: By Him Were All Things Made -|
Every time you click, a butterfly gets his wings.
|It worked, it worked!|
Many plant roses but relatively few prune them. If I could teach people the best activity for roses, it would be -
- Prune the roses.
- Prune the deadwood off.
- Prune the crossed canes away.
- Prune the spent flowers before they produce seed (hips).\
- Toss the clippings in the garbage can. Read John 15:1-10.
Frequent pruning encourages more growth above and below ground.
Trimming is a large part of caring for the yard. Frequent mowing at a decent height is very good for grass, but terrible for weeds. The grass cuttings feed the soil and make the grass even denser. Weeds go to seed opportunistically. If the weeds are allowed to seed themselves, they will continue to vex the gardener. But, if the weeds are cut off just when they want to create another generation, they will greatly diminish.
Some of us like to prune. For weeks I would work on the Crepe Myrtle bush, knowing that all the extra twigs and false starts were holding it back. I kept working on the canes until they were no longer trying to twig out. The results showed in a smooth, attractive base and a wild explosion of long-lasting blooms on the top.
I never poison or pull out dandelions. They are perennial herbs, sometimes called lawn nails, and difficult to remove. But why do that? They bring up calcium in their leaves and shed those leaves on the soil. They feed the bees and provide seed fluff for birds' nests. Dandelions also produce the most nutritious leaves for salads, but not so appealing after being soaked in broad leaf weed-killer.
|This double red KnockOut looks like a painting.|
Usually beneficial insects follow the rose to the vase
and continue working.
Pruning Is a Habit Formed by Its Rewards
The supposed chore of pruning is not so awful when the job is rewarded with beautiful flowers. Leaving the blooms on the roses will mean they will aim toward turning to seed. Cutting and sharing them promotes immediate new growth and more flowers.
Soon a few rose bushes will rotate blooming and giving up the flowers for the vase. More flowers mean color and fragrance in the garden while sharing the roses.
A rose can be cut as soon as the five sepals are open. Four open sepals are not enough. Even if the bud seems closed and not ready, the five sepals that first covered it at will signal when the rose can be put in a vase. Our late neighbor remembered when I told her, "This rose bud does not look like much, but watch it open up in the vase." She was skeptical, but it happened just as I predicted. That gave her more time to admire a single flower as it opened.
Prolific bloomers like KnockOut roses need more pruning to produce more roses. Grandson Alex learned to flick a bloom with his finger to see if petals were ready to fall off. If a flick made some petals fall, the flower was cut away.
| I pruned half the Crepe Myrtle,|
so we all enjoyed this second bloom.
How Much Pruning?
I will prune all my roses back at least 50%. The power is in the cane growth and root expansion.
KnockOuts will be pruned back that much, several times over during the season, a tribute to their rapid growth. If we have a long, soaker rain that beats them down (by softening their canes and loading the bushes with water), I will cut the KnockOuts back instead of letting them look like last week's laundry left on the floor.
If a rose looks bad and sad, cut it way back and pamper it with rainwater. If you have not stored rainwater in a barrel, then store tapwater in a barrel, so the chlorine gas can evaporate out. Pampering means watering it twice a week, not every day until it is dead.
Make sure the rose is well mulched with a combination of cardboard and plant material (grass or shredded wood). Mulch holds water, diminishes water and wind erosion, and stores a mass of decaying matter that ultimately feeds the the roots.
Any grassy weeds around or in the rose bush should be snipped away to keep the invader small and weak. Sometimes a planted nut tree will spring up in the middle of a rose plant. The culprit is probably a squirrel storing his food, or more ominously, assuming his plant will outlive mine.
Roses are royal and must live and grow without competition. Garlic or chives can grow among roses and help them. Other plants - larger and more aggressive - crowd them out (Mark 4) and that is not good for either one.