Saturday, July 03, 2010
"This thing is out of control," groused my husband as he slipped under a spray of "New Dawn" rose canes blocking his entry through the kitchen door. "What the heck are you feeding that?" asked my neighbor from his yard next door. "Yikes!" I thought when I saw the tussle of rose blossoms clambering up to a second floor window.
Such was the impetus for my most despised gardening activity: rose pruning. I have to admit--as if I could claim otherwise in the flowery face of the evidence--that I had kind of let things go. A couple of years, I really couldn't prune because I didn't want to disturb the birds nesting in the arbor. Another year, it was just too dang hot. My mother, an excellent rosarian, was no longer around to take up the task. Meantime, canes sprouted, curved, flopped, and grew some more.
With several days of cool, clear weather forecast, I set to pruning every evening after work. After more than five hours teetering on a ladder and after accumulating over five bags of clippings, I can say that I'm done.
It was hard to prune, and I pruned darn hard. My mother's rallying cry--"Whack it out!"--spurred me along. She was a ferocious rose pruner--my tender-hearted father couldn't even bear to be around when she was wielding her clippers--and every time that I wondered WWMD, I knew the answer was cut, cut, cut.
Anything that was where it shouldn't be was snipped off. (Almost all) distorted canes were removed. Deadwood was clipped. New canes were tied to the arbor. A good 1 1/4 cup of Rose-Tone was scratched in around the roots.
And then, among the debris of shorn branches, there was even the thank you of a few last blooms!