Late winter - it's time to prepare the garden for the coming season. The first chore for us is pruning the roses.
Our heirloom roses are very vigorous growers, so we need to match that with vigorous pruning. Since they bloom on old wood, we need to make sure to leave plenty of the long canes on the climbers to insure plenty of blooms this year. Modern roses bloom on the wood from this season, making pruning very different. The plant will begin to fill in once the weather begins to warm up.
Usually we would have done the pruning in February, between Valentines Day and Presidents Day. But we enjoyed a very wet and cold February this year - pushing our pruning day to the first week in March. I am sure it won't make that much difference to the bloom cycle. The main thing you don't want to do is prune too early. Once you prune a rose it begins to grow, and if we get a hard freeze after pruning you can get some cane dieback, delaying your May/June blooms.
Another difference with heirloom roses is the practice of a hard pruning after the plants bloom, in the spring/summer. Generally, we cut back most of the plants at that time, leaving the arbor, the Centifolia roses, and the China Rose until late winter.
I will let the photos tell the rest of the story -
Rose arbor, before we began. We have two roses growing on this arbor -
Carnea (Rosa multiflora) and Silver Moon.
Rose arbor, after. In the foreground are rose hips on the Rosa Mundi hedge.
Before - what a tangle of canes!
Before - lots of hips from last years Multiflora rose blooms.
After - you can see the sky! The sunshine was nice, but it was still a chilly day.
We managed to fit all the debris into two yard debris bins!
The rest of the garden is still asleep -
stay tuned as we begin to wake her up later on this month.