Pruning is coming along pretty well. The Hybrid Tea collection (80 roses) in the front yard is all finished. This is their third year in the ground, so they got their first major spring pruning. Until now, I had been less concerned with esthetics and more concerned with getting them established. We'll see how it works out.
I took down the rebar tripods that held climbers along the Front Fence border. It just didn't look right having pieces of rusty steel sticking up in a prominent spot in the front yard. In its place, I strung three strands of wire along the fence for the roses. It took a bit of a battle to prune them to shape (after letting them go vertical on the tripods) and get them against the fence and attached to the wire, but I'm really pleased with how they look now ... and they'll look even better next month.
This is Dr. W. Van Fleet, before his 'training'.
Here he is after ... trained to a fan shape, as horizontal as possible to encourage more flowers.
The pot ghetto survived winter pretty well. There were only about half a dozen casualties among the 150+ roses banked along the fence. Two of these are real disappointments. I lost Elegance (a Brownell climber) and Emily Gray (a yellow rambler). I expect that I'll have a bit of difficulty replacing these.
Voles killed Gertrude Jekyll. They burrowed in through the drain holes in the bottom of the pot, and they ate every one of her roots. If you've ever wondered what vole damage looks like, here's a rather extreme example.
It's pretty hard to imagine how many roses I have in pots, waiting for a spot in the garden. To be honest, I don't have an exact number ... I know it's more than 200. I haven't ordered any more roses for this year, so I hope to make some real progress on this. I have such great plans.
I worked out the edging for the newest bed, on the south side of the house. This spot needs some height, to mask where the old part of the house and the addition come together and to de-emphasize the garage door. To do this, I'm going to send three yellow noisettes up the wall: Reve d'Or, for sure, and probably Alister Stella Gray and Phil Edinger's Noisette ... maybe Marechal Niel. Along with the roses, I'm planting peonies that we took from my husband's grandfather's house (and have moved with us from house to house ... 3 houses now), some rescued double daffodils, and probably some rescued iris. This bed is bordered with Richmond cobblestones, which coordinate really nicely with our stone walls in front of the house.
The roses on the posts of the Arcade are all pruned and tied into place. This is one of the few two-people jobs around here. It takes one person (me) to prune the rose and gently wind it around the post, and another person (husband) to tie it in place with jute twine. After only a year in the ground, Parade and Heidelberg have already almost reached the top of their posts!
This is a photo from last year, when the roses were smaller.
I have started pruning the roses in the Rose Field. The climbers on the East Fence are all trimmed and reattached to their wires, and some of the ramblers on the North Fence are also finished. Most of the old European roses (the Gallicas, Damasks, Hybrid Chinas, etc.) are done, too. I pruned them down by 1/3 to 1/2, and I removed many of the suckers to control the size of their 'colonies'. It should only take a few more days to have the rest of the shrubs in the Rose Field finished ... then I'll turn my attention to the climbers on the arches of the Rose Tunnel.
Mutabilis, before pruning.
I was a bit distressed when I saw all this winter damage and dead canes.
Mutabilis, after pruning.
I cut out all the dead wood, and it looks much better than I thought it would.
See the new basal canes?
The weeds are getting ahead of me. Every year, I swear that I will finally win the battle ... and every year I fall behind as the weeds march across the rose beds. They laugh at mulch and herbicide, and I struggle to keep up.
I have to get serious about finishing my presentation for the Lynchburg Garden Symposium next month. The outline is almost complete, so the rest of the program won't take any time at all. The Lynchburg City Cemetery is such a special place, and I'm thrilled that they invited me to speak.
This time of year, it's easy to get dragged down by all the things I have to do. I try to take time to reflect and appreciate what I have already done, and to be thankful that I have the ability to do it.
(written by Hartwood Roses. Hartwood Roses blog)