Gardener's Grapevine 2012.08.15

Written by David Green.

This past week has been a rather challenging one in my life. I have been a nurse for 25 years this year. I consider myself an old dog when it comes to OB/GYN, as I’ve spent most of my career in that area.

Our office switched over to electronic medical records this week and what a headache. After eight hours I was brain dead and it took all I had to drive home.  Change is hard and scary. I, as well as most people, like what I know because a certain amount of peace and comfort comes with routine. Such is the same in gardening.

A lot of gardeners do the same things year after year as it works for them and it’s their comfort zone. With the weather the last few years, and especially this year, we are all forced out of our comfort zones in the gardening world. I realized this with my peas. I read an article that said get your peas in the ground as soon as possible in the spring, even while the earth is still thawing. As global warming gives us hotter, longer summers, our pea planting is required sooner than ever. Next year I will try to get them in the ground in February or March.

At church today Judy Heiney asked me if it is too late to prune roses. I had to stop and think about this. The answer is “no.” Basically, in our area it’s OK through August and possibly early September. As the nights get colder they need to be left alone to get ready to go dormant in winter. 

Roses love to be pruned and even if it’s not done correctly they will grow back. It’s hard to kill them with pruning. First, make sure all your tools are clean and sharp. Dirty tools can give a rose a disease and that may very well kill it. I wash all my tools with Dawn dish soap, rinse them well and lay them in the sun to dry.

Prune from the base of the plant opening up the center to encourage good air flow. This will help avoid fungus and disease. Make a 45 degree cut ¼-inch above a bud nodule. Clean, smooth cuts are best. Ragged cuts stress the plant. Remove any dry, diseased, damaged foliage and discard it in the trash. Do not throw it on ground as it will damage or reinfect the plant.

When you stop pruning for the season, stop feeding also. The plant doesn’t like to go dormant on a full stomach. Speaking of which, if your potted plants are looking less than awesome it may be due to a decrease in food. Most potted plants are in soil that automatically feeds the plants for three months. So if you planted your pot in May, the food in the soil has been all used up. A good fertilizer will perk it up. 

The reason for the roses going crazy right now is due to the weather. They love rain and cooler temps. So do I, but until I get a handle on this new form of charting, don’t look for me to be blooming. A smile is about it.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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