Trimming bushes and cleaning out flower beds is an early Spring/late Winter project for us. One of the first sunny days, I like to turn on a podcast, grab my gloves and clippers and get to work.
I start with the rose bushes
I like to start with the 3 rose bushes we have planted. Our oldest rose bush is over 20 years old. I like to cut it down to about 3 feet tall, by the end of summer it reaches about 7 feet tall, give or take a few inches. We have beautiful, yellow roses from May to October and even this year I had roses in December. My husband always worries that I cut it back way too far each year. This rose thrives with a significant hair cut.
I cut off all of the dead, non productive branches. These branches look old and dried out. I also cut off any new, unruly shoots out of the bottom of the bush. By the end of summer, it will shoot off even more new growth from the bottom.
As I mentioned above, I cut it from 7ft, down to 3ft. I try to groom it so it has a more rounded shape. Do not be scared about hurting your rose bush. They are very forgiving and hardy. Trim off what you are comfortable with. I suggest starting out with trimming off a little bit and seeing how your rose bush reacts. Your rose will be around for a long time, so experiment with it a bit each year.
If you are still unsure or not comfortable, you can do a quick Google search and look up what rose bush you have and how to care for it. You can also contact your local plant nursery and see if they offer any classes.
moving on to trimming bushes…
I then moved over to the other two roses in our side flower bed. I bought these two at our local drug store. They were two dried out, very sad, twigs and showed signs of living. I paid a whole ten cents a piece. I had no idea if I could get them to grow, let alone thrive.
One is very susceptible to disease and I get so angry at it every year. Last year, I had had enough and cut it down to the ground completely. Thinking I killed it, it shot up more shoots and has a lot of new growth. I am going to let it grow and bloom and see if it will come back healthier. If not, I am pulling it out by the roots and moving on. It is the most frustrating and stubborn plant I have.
The other one is a beautiful pink rose and grows healthy and happy every year. I took a gamble and it paid off and I get beautiful roses all summer. I prune this bush down to about 3ft tall each year. It also benefits with the yearly pruning. I cut off any old and non productive branches, giving the bush nice air flow and keeps from putting energy into branches that do not produce roses. I also keep the trunk of the bush trimmed up and the new shoots cut down, as I want all the energy to go into producing flowers.
trimming bushes and Other perennials in the front flower bed
I have two other bushes that require a good pruning each Spring and I am not sure what they are called. I have had them about 13 years now. They stay green all year round and get a nice hint of red in the fall. These bushes love a hard prune. By giving them a hard prune in the early Spring, it encourages them to add a lot of new growth during the summer. I encourage you to do a quick Google search and research the perennial bushes that you have on your property and give them the proper prune if that is what they require. It will help keep them happy, healthy and thriving.
Weeding and cleaning out the flower beds
Weeding is not my favorite chore, but it is a necessity to keep the flower bed looking great all season long. We have a huge issue with Buttercup and it is extremely invasive! One small piece of root left in the soil after pulling and it grows a new plant. Needless to say, it has found its way into our flower bed. I will see how this year goes and if I cannot get it under control, I might have to tear the bed apart next Spring and put all new soil into it.
Once I am done weeding and trimming bushes, I go to our local wood company and pick up a truckload of naturally dyed red bark and spread a thick layer on the exposed soil. This helps keep the weeds down all season and keeps my work load in the flower beds to a minimum. This helps free up time that I get to spend in the vegetable gardens.
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