Pruning the roses

Iceberg rose (29 Apr 10)

Iceberg rose (29 April 2010)

A few days ago, I was wondering when to prune the standard rose in my little courtyard garden. My Iceberg had flowered well, its sheltered location having protected it from winds and rain, and I was reluctant to cut away flower buds. When I was young, it was not unusual to get out the secateurs in June, but it seems July is the month when most roses are pruned nowadays, according to the Yates New Zealand website.

That evening (21 July), our region was shaken by a series of earthquakes, the largest of which measured 6.5 on the Richter scale.

Rose pruning seems to cause angst for even experienced gardeners. For a couple of days, though, my angst was focused on whether Wellington would get another, bigger shake-up.

Yesterday, I got out (misty drizzle notwithstanding) and snipped the bush into shape. “Even if you did no pruning, the roses would survive,” says the Yates guide. After all, roses growing in the wild never got pruned.

“Roses do, however, respond really well to pruning. They flower well on the new growth that pruning stimulates and, after pruning, they’re neat and tidy and look as if they’re comfortable in the garden.”

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The image, dating from 29 April 2010, is one of a number of shots captured in a friend’s garden.

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