We are now well and truly in the thick of winter and I am feeling it. I have to make a confession right now…I am not a winter lover. However there is one upside(or perhaps downsider, depending on your viewpoint) to winter, there are plenty of tasks to complete in the garden!
Probably one of the most important tasks to do during the month of July, if you are a rose grower, is to give your roses a strong prune. There are varying suggestions when it comes to pruning roses. Some say to remove approximately 1/3 of the plant, some suggest removing up to 2/3 of the plant. I myself lean towards the 2/3 suggestion simply because I have found that the harder you prune the rose, the better they seem to grow back and also the more control you have over the size and shape of new growth.
Roses are very hardy plants, regardless of what you may hear. As long as they have sufficient water (the main cause of rose death) they can survive some very harsh conditions. My Grandad (a non green thumb) once ‘pruned’ his mums roses by mowing over them. Not only did they survive…they thrived. They grew back far better than before. The moral of this story? Give your roses a strong prune this July!
A few pruning tips. Try and prune in the middle of the day. This gives the plant time to adjust to its new hair cut before dealing with the cool of night. Also, when you are trimming a stem, try and make the cut at a 45 degree angle. Your roses will heal better and have more ability to fight of disease if you do this.
Now we are done with talking about roses another issue that you may face in the winter is frost, especially if your go through a cold, dry spell in your area. When overnight temperatures drop down to close to 0°c your plants may experience frost. To help limit frost damage the best tip I can give you is to make sure that your garden beds are sufficiently mulched. This works because it helps keep more heat in the soil, which enables your plants to better regulate their own heat. They may still suffer from frost but if they have access to heat from the soil, the plant cells themselves should not freeze and therefore your plants will be better off.
Other than this just try and keep on top of the weeds that are bound to be growing in your gardens and lawns. This is a never ending task in Winter. Try and get rid of flowering weeds in your lawn as soon as possible so as to limit the spread of the weeds as spring and summer draw near.