Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tricks

As I get older I begin to wonder at what point a dog becomes too old to be taught new tricks, and in learning new tricks, does this enforce the fact that I'm possibly not TOO old?

It's not something that troubles me a great deal (the thinking about the above statement) but I do love learning things, and unfortunately for those around me (taking after my mother) I am all too keen to share any new found knowledge with anyone who is too afraid to tell me to shut up.

OK, so, I don't know where this came from, but hear me out......

I have some rather scrappy looking rose bushes (I hesitated before typing the word "bushes" because they are far too spindly and scrappy to be given such grand nomenclature) - so I have rose plants in my garden.  I only have a few of these roses, and generally I'm not much of a fan of their gaudy, temperamental and fragile blooms...... but.....

Somewhere down the line, perhaps in an article I might have read in a magazine or a newspaper or from a TV programme or something.... I have it in my head, that, when dead-heading the roses, you shouldn't just take off the failing bloom, but should go back down the stem to the nearest "knuckle" and snap it off there.

Now, I don't do much gardening.... I prefer the garden to be full, even if that means letting the weeds run rampant.... the majority of my gardening is just keeping things moderately in check..... I DO however prune the roses every year, and since I moved in here they have definitely improved with the annual secateur based attention that they receive.

So.....

This year.... apart from cutting a few "suckers" from the roses (a term which loosely refers to "blind" shoots that come from the plant - i.e. non flowering), I've made the effort to apply this new piece of knowledge, about snapping the dying heads off at the first knuckle, to encourage multiplied growth.... 

Snapping the flower heads has been quite simple.... a bit like breaking the woody part of an asparagus spear at its base.....  grab the dead flower head and feel for where the stem wants to break and simply snap it off.....

(note to my cousin Jo - the snapping of the heads from the roses is in no way comparable to the unbridled whacking of red hot poker blooms)

The results.... well.....  I think it's a bit early in their first season to properly call it a success, but look at this:

an example of the "knuckle" at which the heads freely snap off

Even an untidily snapped head has promoted ruby red new growth

10 comments:

  1. Until I read this post I thought that "suckers" were people from down south. Perhaps you should retitle your blog given your new expertise in gardening. How about "Titchmarsh Fox", "Capability Fox" or "Rosie Fox"?

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    1. Surely I'm much more "Geoff Hamilton" than all that?

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  2. It is important that you achieve a ragged tear, as advised by rose expert W C Fields who said 'Never give a sucker an even break.'

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    1. I can hear the drum roll and cymbal crash from here!

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  3. Always the thing to do AF - it keeps the bush in a reasonable shape. You are never too old to learn.

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    1. new tricks all the time..... am looking forward to more blooms than ever.... and I'm not even going to mention the success of my budbleia this year!!

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  4. Garden plants you say eh? Flowers and suchlike, what? We had a garden back in Poonah, but it was mostly given over to Class B medicinals and a little tea. Never planted roses. You can't smoke roses and they make foul tea. Gardeners used to use an awful lot of elephant shit as I remember, reckoned you couldn't grow decent shit without it. Made the tea taste like pachyderm buttocks. Rarely drank the stuff myself unless we were out of gin. Made damned sure we never ran out of gin.

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    1. I'm all for a bit of mother's ruin!

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  5. The roses look wonderful. You're going to have loads of blooms!

    May I just alter your words a little...

    "I do love learning things, and unfortunately for those around me (taking after my father) I am all too keen to share any new found knowledge with anyone who is too afraid to tell me to shut up."

    There. It's exactly about ME, now.

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    1. I'm enjoying your edit..... common ground.

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