Sunday, 15 July 2018

These roses are for burning

I want to hold a Bonfire of the Vain Roses. It's now pruning time so sharpen your secateurs and loppers, there are some  cutbacks to be made. Don your thickest leather gloves. Wear some eye protection. You maybe squatting or on your knees a lot, so do some stretches first to get your body into shape. After you've cut the last of the remaining blossoms from your rose bushes and given them to your girlfriend (it does not have to be Valentines Day) or your mum,  here are the rest of the instructions.

First - Cut out all the dead wood. Roses always die back on the stem if they are not cut back to a bud. The wood goes all black and won't grow another shoot unless you cut it back to the green. So, do away with it! Serves no purpose except to trap bugs and tender flesh.

Second - Cut out all diseased wood. All spotty, scaly, sickly looking stems (or canes, as they can be called). You want to stop the rot.

Third - Cut out all damaged wood. Anything that's got a gash, is half hanging, split, or looks like it's torn or chewed. You want healthy stems that will grow straight.

Fourth - Now left with growing stems, cut out all crossing inward stems, you want ideally a vase shape if it's a bush rose, a ball if it's a standard, and against the wall if it's a climber. Stems that cross will just become a tangle, choose to keep the healthiest thick, young stems and cut away old ones or ones that are thinner than a pencil.

Fifth- Shape and prune to an outward facing bud, ideally third one from the base. New healthy shoots will grow from the crown, but the stems left will also grow and these will become in time your fresh rose buds. Some roses can grow very leggy and high and out of reach of your nose, so you want the roses to be at a level where you can see, smell and appreciate them.

Now you have all your rose prunings. If you want to grow more roses, you can also take cuttings from healthy stems. But otherwise, now you have the fun part - fresh kindling for a bonfire.

For that you need some matches, maybe some marshmallows, and a fire pit. And maybe we can chuck  in some bad paranormal romance books in as well. Goodbye Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey.  Sayanora Hunger Games. Ciao Da Vinci Code. Avada Kedavra, Harry Potter.  While you are enjoying the warmth of the fire, my boss will be running around tidying up the mess you made with a hoe and cursing under his breath. Get out the pea straw mulch and blanket the roses with it before he can micromanage any further.