Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pruning the roses

Before I begin this post, I feel it's important to clarify that I do not consider myself an expert in gardening and the posts on this blog are geared toward beginners who are looking for tips and tricks from an advanced beginner.

Today I'm probably going to show you more about how not to grow gorgeous roses than how to do it properly. My ornamental plants get the least attention, especially during the full swing of the warm season vegetable garden as we're in now. Veggies are always the priority.

My poor roses were in desperate need of attention so I finally gave in and offered them some time.

Iceberg tea rose looking awful
One of the things that make roses happy is consistent pruning which I have not been doing. When you prune off spent blooms regularly then the next set of blooms your roses produce will be bigger and healthier.

About to make my first cut
The best way to prune your roses is to cut the stem of the spent bloom(s) just above one of the leaves where you can see that another branch is likely to sprout out. I waited so long that the new branch had already started to grow so I knew exactly where I should make my cut. At the top right of the photo above you can see there is a new reddish colored leaf set, I am going to make my cut just above that.

Now the new branch is free to grow without being slowed down by a dead bloom

An so on and so forth

This is what this plant looked like when I was finished pruning it
At some point I will prune these plants all the way down to the bare canes at the bottom but that time has not arrived in San Diego yet. We don't get a freeze here at all so I most likely won't cut my roses all the way down until the end of December. I do plan to go through and clean out any debris sitting on the ground underneath them and give them some food today.

While I was out pruning yesterday evening, a strange man pulled up in a strange vehicle with strange music bumping so loud it was about to completely ruin my serenity. Then the strange man rolled down his passenger window and proceeded to tell me how he was going to start taking my roses that are really nice looking to give to his girl, mother, daughter, etc. The entire thing was very strange and rubbed me the wrong way a little. I felt like he was doing a lot more telling me rather than asking me about my roses.

Don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to know one of my neighbors took a beautiful rose to share with his wife, daughter or mother. And if one of my female neighbors wanted to take one for herself, I would love that too. I consider my neighbors to be the people that I interact with on a semi-regular basis, you know, the people that walk by and introduce themselves and who stop regularly to chat while I'm outside. 

The man I had never seen before, who didn't even introduce himself, and was not at all interested in understanding what Gidget's Garden is all about left a bitter taste in my mouth. If he had been more polite I am sure I would have felt much better about it. 

I decided it was high time that I actually clip my own roses to bring in the house and enjoy myself so I set out to make myself a pretty little arrangement. 

Starting with a gorgeous Mr. Lincoln

The finished arrangement also included some lavender and lemon-rose geranium stems

"Why do you call it Gidget's Garden when you refuse to grow something I like, like chickens?"

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