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To prune or not to prune, that is the question.

Spring is on the way and we only have a few weeks left before we can officially say Spring has arrived. For now winter looms on and, the weather dictates the time spent out gardening. The days swing from bleak, foggy and cold to chilly, wet and windy. In between are crisp cold mornings and glorious hours of sunshine. In this area, that is the norm for winter; a sunny day after a heavy frost. The extended rainfall this year, though, has significantly altered the climate in our region, but it is a pleasant change to have such a lush green landscape.

The dilemma is always in deciding the best time to prune the roses? There is no sense in doing this once the foliage is out, and every rose bush has begun to come out of the mild dormant period. My aim is mainly to eliminate any dead or diseased branches, and foliage after such a wet winter.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Alan Watts

Rosarians advise pruning roses when the last frost is over in cool regions. How one can know this is a mystery, so I’m hoping for the best and have decided to get on with it and start pruning.

Time has passed, after a few frosty mornings and now all the pruning is complete, and all roses are cut back, and sprayed with lime sulphur solution, with more weeding to do this week. I just hope we have no more severe frosts this year.

The garden finally does look bare, with hints of spring growth and fresh foliage emerging. The French lavender is in bloom along with only a few odd rose blooms and the surrounding paddocks of canola coming into bright yellow flower. It is a definite bucolic country landscape with sheep grazing in the yard and bright green pasture to roam in.

Days like these remind me of why we have strong high fences even though it looks so much nicer without them.

Gardening is always more or less a warfare against nature. It is true we go over to the ‘other side’ for a few hints, but we might as well abandon our spades and pitchforks as pretend that nature is everything and art nothing.

Shirley Hibberd

Preparations for the new season roses are underway, and my main order of bare root roses arrived today from Wagners rose nursery. I always find new rose deliveries exciting, given that they are usually ordered during the previous summer months. It is such a long wait for their arrival, and I’m looking forward to planting them out at last, and seeing my garden plans unfold.

In the meantime, back to inspiring artworks by painters who love flowers, and gardens. Today’s artists are Kent R Wallis and Susan Harrison-Tustain.

‘Constance Spry’ – Floral Painting – Watercolor on Arches

Susan Harrison-Tustain is an Internationally acclaimed New Zealand watercolor, and oil artist born in 1956. In her collection she paints, amongst other styles, specific roses and florals, and is one of the few artists that actually name the roses that she has painted.

“I love to see people responding to my work and to hear the viewers of my paintings say they can smell the roses or feel as if they could reach into the painting and touch the aged leather bound books as they emerge from the shadows into flickering candlelight”.

Susan Harrison-Tustain

Another painter who captures the beauty of garden landscapes is the American artist, Kent R Wallis who paints in a romantic realistic, and impressionist style. The scenes are inspiring, depicting the gentle calmness of fleeting moments in the garden, and countryside.

Down at a Garden Spot -Kent R Wallis

Garden Behind the Barn -Kent R Wallis

Kent R Wallis is from Utah, USA and was born in 1945. He was a self-taught artist who, in 1975, Wallis returned to his love of painting and drawing that he had enjoyed as a hobby years earlier. This pursuit was to create more meaningful free time and sharpen his creative skills, and he went on to be the full time prolific artist he is today. He is a member of the Northern California Society of Plein Air Painters, the Society of Plein Air Artists of America, and the Society of American Impressionists.

 “What really excites me is a special colour mixed with sunlight. I paint fast enough to capture this beauty. I do not look at painting as an intellectual effort. My approach is more feelings than an intellectual process – I only feel my way in admiration of nature I am not proud of my success … I only describe what I see … But if the country turned away from impressionism, I would still continue to write to reflect the purity and color of it all. That’s all I do.”

Kent R Wallis
Newton Village – Kent R Wallis, Oil on Canvas

I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land.

Julie Moir Messervy

Header Image Old Rambling Rose – Susan Harrison-Tustain

Content Di Baker 2022

Images of the garden and roses by Di Baker 2022

Artist paintings by Kent R Wallis and Susan Harrison-Tustain

Susan Harrison-Tustain

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