Rose Pruning – My Crazy Experiment

Rose pruning timeWith the days getting shorter and autumn just around the corner I am now able to give you the report I promised about the results of my crazy rose pruning experiment.

You may remember that last winter I told you about my rose pruning effort and how I had engaged a professional rose pruner to help me.

The thought of pruning all my roses was a little intimidating at the time – but if truth be told I suspect that I was simply too lazy.

Well, pruning day arrived and the professional pruner brought some tools and some loppers and proceeded to lop off my roses in a most frightening manner.

All I could do was to stand by and watch helplessly – and hope that he knew more about pruning than I did.

I was wrong. I know now that I knew better. Much better.

At this point I can only refer to the lines of Elizabeth Barrett Browning because they explain exactly how I felt:

“High on the shore sat the great god Pan
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.”

I return to my story.

I had told him how high I wanted my bushes to be and he lopped them off to the required height and quite a bit more for good measure.

He didn’t even prune to an outgoing eye as this was regarded as last century retro thinking.

Oh well.  He was the experienced expert so I left him, made myself a cup of tea and peeped through the kitchen window to view the mayhem.

He finished the job in about an hour and a half – and to give him  some small credit – it would have taken me a week and a half to get my rose garden completely pruned.

OK so what were the final results of the rose pruning?

Well there was no major damage to report except for the massacre of my lovely “Double Delight” which took a real beating.  Such a beating in fact, that she still looks sad and hasn’t recovered her earlier vigour.

I can promise you that this pruning season I will tend her myself and prune very lightly indeed and only remove the dead bits. In another year she should recover.

But I’ll tell you one thing.  Never again will I let anyone near my roses.  Even if it takes me a month to prune them myself, I will do a few roses every day and get through the task my way.

A lesson learnt. Don’t presume that all so-called rose experts know a lot more than you do. Sometimes you as the garden owner have a better and more sympathetic understanding of your own roses.


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