Gardener's Grapevine 2014.02.26

This past week has been a whirlwind of weather changes. This has certainly been a crazy winter and it makes me wonder what this coming summer will bring.

Until the rain this week we had snow pretty much covering the entire trunks of our crabapple trees and I am curious to see if it will affect the trees. I spoke with the tree expert at Anderson’s in Toledo and he seemed to be positive they would be OK because they are dormant. I hope so, because Art and I have always loved our trees. They are beautiful in the spring when they bloom.

I read a recipe on the internet this week for pickling crabapples and I intend to give it a try this fall. Some of the trees along Clark Street get some very large crabapples and it’s a shame to not utilize them. The squirrels sure eat a lot of them and the lion’s share hits the ground for us to clean up with the leaves.

I am also anxious to see how my roses faired in the subzero temperatures. I have many rose bushes, both climbers and traditional bushes. The climbers will certainly lose many, if not all, their canes as they do not do well at all in subzero temps. It is normal for some canes to not survive every year, and I prune these out in June when the plant has had enough time to complete its awakening for the summer. Roses wake up in stages, and it is not a rapid process. An impatient person could easily prune a cane that is merely a late riser.

I can easily see that clean-up from this winter is going to be a lot of work for everyone. At the church today I was looking at our landscaping and noted that it has a lot of sticks and debris that will  have to be cleaned up once the snow evacuates.

Usually I go outside in March and prune back all my lavender so it will bush out and be beautiful in the summer when it blooms. All the experts I have encountered  recommend pruning it back to about three inches in early spring, prior to a complete thaw. For our area it is normally mid-March. This year I don’t think that will be the case unless mother nature gets a big hot flash. We still have an enormous amount of snow out there and there is talk of more. Let me be the first to say, yippee!

Art gave me a beautiful miniature rose bush for Valentine’s Day and it has not been doing very well. It is very pot-bound and about to get a new home. I don’t understand why greenhouses leave plants in pots until they are so root-bound they can’t possibly survive long.

I told Art long ago that sending me cut roses from the florist on Valentine’s Day is foolish as the prices go up just for that day, so give me a rose bush I can plant outside and I will have many more roses in the future. It just makes more sense to me. That doesn’t let him off the hook for other times of the year though, because I am like most females and love to get flowers. Flowers make everyone’s day brighter and much happier.