March 04, 2005

War With The Roses

Our house has a lot of very prolific rosebushes -- the whole front of the house is lined with them (see this picture, taken when we were moving in). Some of them are seven feet high in places! We've learned that to achieve maximal rose quantity and quality, ensure well-formed rosebushes, and so forth, we're supposed to prune them back pretty severely around January/February of each year (around here, at least; different parts of the country have different times, depending on climate). We only fully cottoned on to this fact in, oh, late February.

However, the same Web pages telling us to prune our roses by the end of February also assured us that there's no such thing as a bad prune (unless, presumably, you saw the plant off at its base) -- late pruning is still beneficial, and you aren't going to kill your plants by doing it at the wrong time. So, on Wednesday, I dove in. After a bout of focused labor, I could see why the roses looked like they hadn't been pruned for a couple of seasons -- I'd been at it for a couple of hours, I'd created about three yard-waste cans of rose clippings, and I wasn't even halfway done yet!

Yesterday I was fidgeting inside the house, waiting for the vet to call, but today I'll go back and finish the other half (unless it starts raining -- it's been sprinkling off and on). Check back with me in a few months to see whether our roses turn out lush and beautiful, or stunted and grotesque. Nothing that I've pruned so far has died yet; I suppose that's got to be a good sign ...

Posted by Kevin at March 4, 2005 08:50 AM