Summer’s end, but I’m not ready for the chill of winter yet. Nonetheless, I’m eagerly waiting for slightly cooler days so I can be in the garden for longer than a few hours. Although it has turned cool in the morning and evening in my region, the days are continuing to be fairly hot.
Sadly, there are few blooms out at present in the garden and those that remain are not perfect. The images of the last blooms of summer highlighted in this post were taken on Sunday and a few today but we had high winds, so there are not many left now. Garden plans are underway for the coming months, and without doubt, heaps of tasks await, but the garden looks so awful this week, it is hard to get started. What I need is some inspiration to get out and into to it again after a short spell. There is nothing like pruning overgrown plants to get one back into the garden so that’s my task before week’s end.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”Mark Twain
Although I may be out on a limb this year, I have decided not to wait until August to prune my roses and give them a good hair cut now in late summer. August seems such a long time away too long to look at the straggly roses so safer to do it now without the risk of frost.
“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade. ”Rudyard Kipling
I’ve read what all the experts say, and their opinions differ greatly, so I chose the weather report mode. If you don’t like the predictions from one weather site, you just take the advice from another, you would be surprised how they differ.
According to Australia’s legendary gardening specialist Peter Cundall from Gardening Australia, he reckons that roses flourish when trimmed back in late Summer. He is my chosen expert this time because it fits with my intuitive approach.
I prefer the simple pleasure of using branch-cutters (two-handled loppers) to cut back hard, every branch — young and old — to leave nothing but stubble.Peter Cundall
The last of my Summer roses are spent, and going by previous years, there will be another flush in April/May, so I thought why not get stuck in now and cut them back as there are very few blooms out anyway.
The prune I gave the lavender after flowering was a massacre when I cut right down to the hardwood, and although they looked like I’d killed them initially, what resulted is lovely soft new healthy foliage and plants that time will prove, was the right move.
There are no garden mistakes only experiments.Janet Kilburn Phillips
I’m a bit late as it is officially Autumn but because it is still hot in the afternoon I can consider it late summer. Roses can be pruned now by cutting back quite excessively all the old wood in the centre right down to just above the ground. The younger branches are cut off just to remove the tips ( like a good deadheading) to remove old flowers, withered blooms from rain damage and any immature seed pods and wimpy thin branches. Aso I’m checking for any water shoots that may have come up and cutting them out right under the ground.
If we accidentally prune roses incorrectly — even at the wrong time of the year — they not only recover, but bloom better than ever.Peter Cundall
The next bout of blooms will be in cooler times, and the lower temperature by then means that the rosebuds will open more slowly, and the blooms should last longer. As I found last year, they will also have a deeper, richer colour without the intensity of afternoon sun.
There are a couple of essential tasks to complete after a prune.
- Removal of all rubbish from the prune; leaves, branches and old blooms.
- Deeply soak each rose with water but not on the remaining leaves; directly into the ground.
- Add a product like Eco seaweed, Maxicrop or Seamungus and some sort of fertiliser like blood and bone, I use aged sheep manure from under the shearing shed.
I love tearing things out of the ground. I love digging and discarding. I love pruning. In fact, I love pruning so much that I once gave myself carpal-tunnel syndrome because I attacked a trumpet vine with so much dedication.Susan Orlean
I have procrastinated too long; the sun is up after another dark early morning, so time to get out into it. Bring on the end of daylight saving, so we have our mornings back. It is always a balancing act isn’t it ?We will have our morning light again soon but day’s end will be sooner and dark!
All content Di Baker 2021
All Images Di Baker taken on 14th and 17th March 2021 in my garden.
Title quote “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date” William Shakespeare and rose at the top is a Queen Elizabeth II Rose.