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. Read more

The Top Five Roses in my Garden


Garden Queen Rose

Garden Queen - a true queen among roses


The top five roses in my garden include 3 hybrid teas and two floribundas.

I’m sorry that this article is limited to only 5 roses but you have to stop somewhere and the list could go on and on.

If you asked me to choose another 5 favourite roses I could do so  with ease.

But let’s take a look at my top five roses for today only – because tomorrow I could change my mind as there are so many to choose from.

So here they are: Read more

Bougainvillea and Petrea make a Great Team

Bougainvillea  and Petrea Bloom together

Bougainvillea and petrea planted together make a great team and create a dramatic impact with their colourful display.   They are ideal shrub mates as they come into flower at exactly the same time.

Here is a lovely corner in my garden where bougainvillea and petrea are blooming together.

Both these shrubs like a position in full sun so they are perfect planting mates.  But best of all, they come into flower at exactly the same time in spring.  And they certainly give a glorious display with their mountains of red and purple flowers side by side.

Many gardeners are hesitant about planting these prolific shrubs as they think they are too overbearing for smaller gardens.  But it’s a pity to lose out on Read more

A Sky Blue Clematis in full Bloom

Sky blue Clematis flowersMy clematis is so completely covered in these sky blue flowers that you can hardly see the leaves.

I had no idea that any clematis could be so prolific. Well it is – and I can only gaze in admiration.

Last night it rained heavily and I thought the flowers would be scattered on the ground but by this morning after only one or two casualties it is as bright as ever. To prove it to you I took this photo – after the rain.

As you can see I planted the clematis in a large pot but I have trained some of the tendrils along the black wrought iron fence behind it.

Now this clematis has had a rather interesting history.  I bought it about two years ago as a young sapling with three plate-sized flowers.

It grew well and by the end of the summer it needed secure staking.  But then winter came and robbed it of every bit of greenery. It looked like a mound of dry sticks. All the stalks were dry and lifeless. So I cut it right down to the base and hoped it would survive. Read more

My Rose Pruning. A Success or Fiasco?

A Pruned RoseI have always pruned my own roses. I like to prune lightly and I always prune to an outside eye.

My roses have grown well and I always buy a few new ones each year so my rose bushes have grown considerably both  in number and in size.

Not surprisingly, when pruning time came around this year, the prospect of pruning them myself was a little daunting.

In the past, I have always spread my rose pruning over a few days – a system that made my job a lot easier. But the downside is that it affects the blooming time if you prune at different times. This year I didn’t want to stagger the pruning as I want to have a big flush of roses in October.

In addition to this, my Mr Lincoln has grown to an enormous height – about 17 -20 feet and the canes are not canes but veritable tree trunks. The thought of pruning this monster was more than a little daunting.

So these are all my reasons for deciding to call in: Read more

When to Prune Roses – A few tips

Pruning tools for rosesIt’s often tricky to decide what is the best time to start pruning your roses.

When to prune roses depends on so many things: the weather, the location, the variety of rose and so on.

But as a rule of thumb,  I generally wait till the end of July until the danger of late frosts is past. During July, you never can be quite sure of the weather.

The problem with pruning too early is that the new growth is very tender and frost can kill off all the baby leaf shoots overnight and that would be a setback for the rose bush, causing die-back and a host of other problems.

Optimally, it’s best to prune just before the roses feel the first growing surge of spring.  As you know, gardening has a lot to do with feeling! Read more

Proof that Gardening is Therapeutic

We gardeners know that gardening is therapeutic.  It isn’t news to us.  Gardens have always been places where you can reconnect with nature in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Gardens are stress reducing.

And as gardeners it comes as no surprise to us when the actual process of gardening is recognized for its healing quality.

Just recently BBC news presented a slide show of pictures called Seeds of Recovery.  It’s all about the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey that has started a gardening therapy project for recovering servicemen.

They have a green house, and gardening facilities where injured and recovering soldiers can feel the therapeutic benefits of tending plants and getting their hands into the soil.

Here it is: Seeds of Recovery