I think I’ll pay up now. Last year I waited too long to clean out the rose beds nearest to the house. By the time I got in there – tearing out overgrown vines and bundles of stubborn weeds – I kept getting caught in the prickly rosey bramble. That clean-up effort took much too long, and I ended up with way too many scratches. Sad to say, I looked like I got into a fight with a cat – and lost.
So this spring, I suited up, with pruners, rakes, and my sharpest hoe in hands and headed out to tackle the same rose beds. You see, the challenge lies in keeping the English Ivy thriving on the old well and training it onto the side of the house without it invading the rose bed below. (Good luck to me on that.)
It took 3 afternoons to get this job done, starting with the pruning of the roses –Bonica roses in the inner and back part of the bed for height and Fairy roses all along the front for width. I cut them back to the main shoots about 12″-18″ above the soil level. This may sound extreme – and yes, at the moment the beds do look barren, but believe me, the roses come back bigger and healthier than ever! The more you prune plants, the more heartily they’ll grow back.
Once they’re cut way back, I can get in there, and with my hoe and small iron rake, I can chop up the viney, weedy ground. Then the rest of the work is done on my hands and knees – pulling and yanking the Ivy’s runner roots and clumps of weedy grass. I feed the roses 1 cup of Rose Tone that I sprinkle in a circle around the base of each plant. With a hoe, or my hands, I lightly work it into the soil. It’s a good idea to feed them every 4-6 weeks. I top off the soil with a coating of pine bark mulch.
(*Mid-season if my roses get black spot or beetle attacks – I spray them with an insecticidal soap.)
Bottom line – now’s the time to get out there and clean out those beds. May sound like a lot of work today, but the results later in the summer are so well worth it!