Winter in Southern California can be a bit warm at times. Like today, it was sunny and 70 degrees most of the day. I decided to take full advantage of the day by doing some much needed clean-up in the front yard. I have several Iceberg roses in the front yard and while I realize that to some, Iceberg’s are more a flowering shrub than a real rose, I find the abundant blooming pattern and ease of care to be an ideal rose for my busy life. I mean, after all, I work full time and try to keep domestic bliss by doing all of the cooking and most of the cleaning. Anyway, back to the front yard. I like to prune the roses by cutting each branch to within about 2 feet from the base. It’s nice to remove some of the branches that are small and spindly. I also make sure that when I cut the branch I leave a little eye (the small piece that peeks out of the base of a leaf). The eye needs to face outward, not inward for the next growth to grow gracefully. I like to remove all leaves on the bush—this often takes care of problems later down the line, like rust and mildew. I spread a layer of compost around the base of the roses and spray with Volk oil, which is supposed to keep insects at bay.
I also trimmed my Lace Cascade (a climbing rose related to Iceberg roses). I have the climbing rose trained to go over the wooden beam that frames the entrance walkway to our home. I remove all of the leaves and trim all of the dead wood. I cut back the small branches that grow off of the main stalks, to within 3 inches.
There is a pepper tree in the front yard that my husband and I will be pruning within the next few weeks. All in all cleaning up the garden in Winter, if you aren’t living in snow, always feels good. I think the garden reflects ‘winter’ in spirit if not with a fresh sprinkling of snow, by its starkness. I guess I have to look for winter where ever I can.