Friday, March 04, 2011

Cutting It Up In The Garden

I received a very generous gift certificate from my family some months ago to use at one of my favorite garden centers.  It was too late in the season to use it so every once in awhile I would look at it in my wallet and think soon, soon!

Well, the other day, I decided to do a little pre-season shopping.  I bought the large bag of Espoma Organic fertilizer, a general garden fertilizer that I broadcast throughout the beds each spring.  I also treated myself to some Felco pruning shears which I sure hope I don't lose in the garden.

I am ready to begin pruning the roses, looks like the rabbits have done this for me on some of them.  The Meidilands really grow tall with curved branches during the summer and need to be shaped or they would take over the pathway.  I made the cuts on a 45 degree angle facing outward from the center about 1/4" above a node, cut stems aways from the middle of the rose and thin out all of the spindly stems, leaving some strong canes.  Also, cut out all of the dead canes to the ground.

This is a new product that I found at Costco.  I have used Bayer for many years but this is the first year that their product has advertised its use against Japanese Beetles.  It is about double the price of their other systemic rose care but if it works it is worth it!  Right now I have one blooming season for my roses, June, and then the Japanese Beetles hit.

Pink Miediland Rose

Pink Meidiland Rose

The Knockouts and Rainbow Knockouts really become very bushy during the season but rebound quickly with a severe haircut.  You can leave them with minimal pruning because they are shrub roses, but on my property, they will quickly get out of bounds.  It is also helpful to open up the middle for air circulation and to let in light for more blooms.

Rainbow Knockout Rose

Rainbow Knockout Pruned

There are only two Rainbow Knockouts planted by the shed but they become very large and fill the space.

Knockout Rose

I can finally get to my Type III Clematis, cutting them about six inches above the soil.  Then comes the job of taking down all of the old growth wound tightly around the trellis.  Cut the vines in small sections and they come off very easily without pulling down the whole trellis.

Rouge Cardinal

Rouge Cardinal Clematis

I was able to remove the Christmas greens from the hayracks and underneath the greens I found a surprise!

These are the pansies I left underneath the greens in the fall.  They look great, but I have no idea if they will survive into the spring.  I covered them up with a few loose greens, so we'll see.

It's time to trim my Limelight and Unique Hydrangeas, leaving a three foot semi-circle frame around Limelight (gives support to the stems during the growing season) and 24" of stems on the Unique.

Limelight Hydrangea

Cut down to about three feet in a semi-circle with all inner thin and dead branches cut out.

Limelight Hydrangea
It produces a very full rounded shape when trimmed in this manner.

Unique Hydrangea
I had cut this down in the fall, which doesn't matter because it blooms on new wood, but I will be cutting out those thin branches.

Unique Hydrangea
Even with cutting down to about two feet it grows to about seven feet by July.

This is only the beginning, lots more trimming to do!

Join Tootsie for Fertilizer Friday.


Darla said...

You purchased some great items. Don't you just love those gift certificates? A lot of work getting ready for the new growing season. I love your shed area!

Larry said...

Thanks for the hydrangea pruning info... I cut my Uniques back severely last fall... I'd check for thin twigs if this snow ever melts enough to expose the plants! It is raining today however... that's a good sign I guess... Larry

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I was looking at my rose bushes this morning before the rains came in and thinking it was just about time to trim them up. Thanks for the hydrangea trimming tips. I have one that needs thinned out. I am certainly going to look for the Bayer product. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Zoey said...

I bet those pansies will survive. They look pretty healthy.

I love my Felco pruning shears and I bet you will, too. They are so easy on the hands.

It won't be long and we will all be hard at work in our gardens.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Darla,

I have never spent much on pruning shears, so this was quite a treat.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Larry,

I just noticed I have a lot of broken stems on my small serviceberries from the heavy snow.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

We are having heavy rains tonight, didn't get my hydrangea stems cleaned up. I don't know about you, but I am swarmed with Japanese Beetles each year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey,

I remember feeling last fall I didn't want to pull the pansies, they looked so pretty. This would be a new gardening technique if they survive.


Paula said...

Love your before and after pictures - thanks for sharing! Paula from Idaho

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Your post reminds me of how behind I am in pruning. I really have to get to my roses and the last few hydrangeas, hopefully this week. What a nice gift you were able to get with your gift certificate. I'd love a nice pair of Felcos.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Paula,

The befores don't always look very good.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Catherine,

I think I started a little early, especially with the little mounds of snow still in my garden.