President’s Message

President’s Message

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Hi All,                                                                           

It’s that time of year in the garden. In other words, it’s time to handle everything to do with pruning. Gardening is my business. The two most frequently asked questions are:

  1. How to prune.
  2. Dormant spray.
  1. There is more than one way to prune a rose (cat lovers be at ease). This paragraph focuses on roses as design features. Discussing gardens is a standard between my clients and myself. Recently, the two most requested forms of pruning are close to walls in a fan shape and shaped as a bonsai. The rose bush in the photo isn’t a climber– it’s Tamora, growing in Beverly Glen as a smaller and more manageable climber. It’s at the home of a client and now friend for 30 years this December. There is a wire support grid that’s difficult to see in summer. The pruning on this rose is about 1/2 completed. Wednesday is the day to reposition canes and to do the last bit of pruning. A few of the roses I’ve grown as small climbers are Sugar Moon, Firefighter, and Abraham Darby.

I’ve come to understand that the two main divisions in pruning are 1. Exhibitors 2. Home gardeners. Exhibitors handle roses in a way that promotes show quality blooms. Home gardeners want to be able to pick bouquets of fragrant blooms and also to just enjoy the visuals of roses in their gardens.

Other types of pruning are: a winter prune, finger prune, summer prune, pruning for an event, shovel prune, staggered prune, and rotation prune. Pruning for an event is handled 50 days before the occasion in the warmer months. My business counseled my client that her two St. Patrick roses were to be pruned in October for a late December bloom. Her relatives were arriving from Toronto, Canada in December and they would be delighted to see roses in bloom. There had been some wind damage but the blooms were appreciated.

An article on staggered, and rotation pruning appeared in the newsletter of the Honolulu Rose Society. A staggered prune would be pruning 1/2 of a rose bush and then pruning the other 1/2 of that bush a few weeks later to encourage a more continuous bloom. My goal is to have roses in bloom most of the year. An example of a rotation prune would be a garden of 10 roses where roses 1,3,5,7.9 be pruned first and then 2, 4, 6 8,10 a few weeks later.  The rose in the photo is the last Tamora of this season. It was on the top of a cane.

The lady of the house sent the photo of Tamora in the blue vase. The photo struck me as both a remembrance of summer and the hope for a bountiful spring bloom.

In Japan roses shaped as bonsai are another art form that can be entered into competitive rose shows. The photo of the rose growing on the rock was taken at a rose show in Japan. The rose growing in the chamber in the rock is my first attempt at bonsai. The rose came without a name tag. It may be Cineraria. It’s established in its container. Now comes the fun part– shaping and trimming. The wire I prefer is vinyl coated copper aka household electrical wire. This wire isn’t as subject to storing heat as bare wire and it comes in many colors and thicknesses.

  • The hope for a bountiful spring brings up item 2, dormant spray. My approach is to apply a dormant spray a week or so before pruning and then after. Over the last 30 years I’ve seen clouds of rust spores dispersing into the garden (not in the gardens I care for). I’m not able to see the spores of mildew, black spot, etc. The largest cloud was instigated by a fellow jamming rust infested canes into a trash bin. I’m sure that their spores are lurking and just sheltering, waiting for the cool months to pass.

This year I’m mostly using Neem Oil through a hose end sprayer. Fairly large gardens can be sprayed with this device as it handles the task in a very few minutes. Where do fungus’s winter over? On roses’ rough surfaces like bud unions, where leaves attach to canes and need dormant season attention. Roses should be defoliated. Other surfaces with porous openings can harbor spores and should be be sprayed. Surfaces like concrete walls, brick, wooden fences, shaggy barked trunks, rough leaves of trees and shrubs, mulch, etc also need attention. I spray all of the above a week or two before pruning to knock back spores, and eggs of insects.

David Bassani, President
December, 2022