Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting Started Early

Rose pruning time around here is Valentine's day.  Well, it's been so nice and so warm and so enticing outside that I started early.

Every spring I go from bed to bed cleaning up each one.  Weeding.  Cutting down old or dead growth.  Pruning the roses.  Mulching.  Slowly I work my way around the garden, but it takes a while.  If I start too late in the year, it gets hot, the weeds are huge, and by the time I make it around the garden, it's too hot to work on my newest project (whatever that happens to be for the year).  So, I've decided that starting early is what I need to do, even though the weather at this time of year is unpredictable.

Some people clean up their gardens in the fall, but I wait until spring to cut down the old and dead growth because I'm an aggressive weeder.  If there weren't dead flower stalks sticking out of some of the flowers, I would think they were a weed and pull them up!  So, today, I came to the asters.  Their dead sticks with dried blooms were sticking up above green growth.  I didn't think I'd mistake them for weeds now, so the dead parts were cut off.

That's when I noticed something.


Asters blooming!  Looks like I'm not the only one getting started early!

27 comments:

  1. Asters blooming, I guess, because you are in Texas :-). Here the temperature is 17 F and everything is dead frozen. How do you prune your roses? Do you just prune out the dead and old branches? Or do you have something like cutting the top 1/3, etc? Different websites say different things. So, I would listen to your experience.

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    1. Brrr! 17! Rose pruning - that's a wide topic to discuss. I have a lot of different types of roses, and they require different things. (Hybrid teas are pruned much differently than old garden teas, which I don't usually prune much at all.) One thing I do is to not prune any shrub rose (except for the dead branches) until the rose is about three years old. That gives it time to establish roots, and me time to see it's form, etc. I'm aggressive with some and timid with others, depending upon what I want (usually how it should fit in its space). If you haven't seen Paul Zimmerman's youtube videos on pruning, they are good to see. He does an excellent job of explaining and actually watching someone doing it is helpful. www.youtube.com/user/AshdownRoses/featured You may have to prune more than I just because of your climate, too - harsh weather is not always kind to roses. Good luck. Start out slowly - you can always take more off later, and as the years go by, you will feel more confident.

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  2. Love this post...we here in North Central Florida like to do this same process, cause the results are the same, too hot too soon! Maybe I'll find surprises too...

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    1. I've finally learned that I can't take off all winter - but I can take off during the super hot months of summer! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Those asters are either really early or really late, since they are fall bloomers. Fun surprise to see in the middle of January :-) I'm still holding off a while longer on my major pruning, of shrubs and roses, but I am chomping at the bit to get to them. My little DIY project is keeping me busy and distracted from pruning.

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    1. Really early! They were completely dormant a couple of weeks ago when I looked around. I wouldn't cut off the dead stems then because I was afraid of mistaking them for a weed (yes, I'm a bit obsessive about weeding). I don't know why they decided to bloom! I wonder if I should be doing the pruning so early, but I hate feeling so rushed if the weather decides to turn hot fast. I just never know what to do, because I don't know what the weather will do!

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  4. So your asters are blooming.... This crazy winter is 'fooling' all of the plants/flowers/trees, etc... Our poor roses --which are supposed to be dormant now-- keep trying to grow. They think it is spring... Yipes!!!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Mine are budding out, too. I don't know if I'm helping them or hurting them. I guess this crazy weather is fooling me, too!

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  5. Today I pruned roses also, the climbers. As many classes as I've gone to on rose pruning, you would think I would have it down by now, but I am still a timid pruner. Fortunately the roses are forgiving! Your blooming asters are like my one clematis blossom...they are so confused they don't know if they are coming or going!

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    1. Rose pruning is a bit intimidating. I cut down some my flower carpet roses in the font probably a little too much- yikes! But they've been there for many years, so I figure their root system can take it. I'm beginning to like the older classes that don't require pruning!

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  6. Same here, we clear up fallen dead leaves in the autumn but leave most others till spring as they also serve to protect delicate new shoots and growth. We haven't started our spring clearance just, we will do soon though :)

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    1. Maybe I'm a bit early. But, I need the time to get some projects done before it gets too hot. And I refuse to start any projects until spring clean up is done!

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  7. Holley we are 2 like gardeners. I clean up in spring for many of the same reasons and to leave up food for critters...of course the spent blooms look gorgeous covered in snow. I started too late this past year and ran into just the scenario you write of...not this year...once the snow has melted, I will be out with my muck boots and warm coat. That aster is amazing.

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    1. I started too late last year. It was a mess, and working in the heat was not pleasant. I vowed this year would be different. It seems early to start, and maybe I shouldn't be pruning yet, but it mentally makes me feel better to get it all done!

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  8. I have noticed some budding around the garden as well. I hope it is not too early for them. I am hoping to get outside one of these 'warm' days and do some pruning and tidying of the garden....unless we get some huge snow storm...cross my fingers.

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  9. I guess that's part of what makes gardening such a challenge - the unpredictable weather! I hope I don't write a post later about the pitfalls of starting too soon!

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  10. Can't wait to get started on the rose pruning, but it's still a little bit too early on this side of the pond. Won't be long though.

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    1. I hope it's not too early here! I have been looking to see if there are any forsythias blooming, but I don't have one in my garden, and don't know where to look for one!

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  11. I too wait Holley, but the weeds are already showing up here with our crazy up and down temperatures. My roses stay on to keep the hips through winter. I like letting the birds and critters have a go at all the seeds and berries before I cut most of them down. It makes for more of a messy garden, but usually we are knee deep in snow so no one sees or cares anyway.

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    1. I just can't sit inside anymore. That warm weather is calling my name. Mother Nature may be playing a cruel trick on me, but I just can't stand to waste any days like today - 70 degrees today!

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  12. My goal this year is to make myself wait until April to cut back my roses - the past few years I've gotten too excited too early and pruned, then had a couple of inches of die back afterward because the temps were still too low. Cute little aster!

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    1. I did that one year, too. Did I learn? ;0

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  13. ohmy :o reading through your posts I am having a deep sinking feeling. I listened to someone's advice and cut my Duchesse DeBrabant way back today. Now I am sure I killed her!
    Asters, my climbing Carolina Aster is still flowering, I guess it did not get cold enough as of yet for it to stop.

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    1. I doubt you killed her. She'll probably grow back just fine. Don't worry if she doesn't bloom as much, but you never know - she may bloom more! :)

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  14. Flowers are very forgiving - she will bloom - watch! :-)

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