Roses need a good spring pruning

The next meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be on Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at SIGN on North Street. It will be the famous “Iron Gardener” event — where three gardeners have a limited time to create a planter each with mystery plants that they won’t see until the event begins! Lots of fun! Everyone is welcome!

A bouquet of congratulations goes to one of our members, Glen Tymiak, for receiving a Volunteer Recognition Award recently. Glen has tirelessly given of his time and talents in a wide spectrum of church, cultural, and community activities over the years, including our horticultural society. His hard work, dedication and enthusiasm are inspiration to us all!

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Glen, we are so very proud of you; this award is so well-deserved! Congratulations!

Until recently, the weather has been on the chilly side, so some tasks might still be waiting in the wings. Pruning our roses may be one of these tasks. I know some eager gardeners prune their roses in the fall, but someone told us once that we should wait till spring, in case there is some winter die-off.

We should prune when the danger of frost is past, or when we see new buds coming along. Don’t be in too much of a hurry, because sometimes the branches are still alive but they are just slow to get started.

It seems like an intimidating job, at first, but take your time. Clear away any dried up leaves (throw them in the garbage, not the compost, in case they might be diseased). Once that is done, make good clean cuts and clip away any branches that are very obviously dried up. These go into the garbage as well.

Now we should look for branches that are too crowded or rubbing against another branch. These should be removed, as well as any branches that look weak or struggling. We want the rose’s energy to go into vibrant, healthy stems. It is good for the centre of the rose to be open for sunlight and air circulation; so we can be a bit brave and cut some stems to make this happen.

Cutting remaining branches requires a bit of study before you get snip-happy. Look carefully at the stem and then trim half an inch above a bud that is facing outwards. Why? Because we want our rose’s stems to grow outwards, not inwards towards the centre of the bush. Makes sense, doesn’t it!

For the best job, use good sharp snips, and remember to cut the branch at an angle so water will run off the stem and not collect, possibly causing future problems. And wear good sturdy gloves: rose thorns are very sharp!

Did you sign up to get free seeds from Cheerios to attract bees? If so, good for you! If not, be sure to plant some flowers for the bees anyway. Kudos to Cheerios for teaming up with Vesey’s to distribute more than 520,000 sunflower seeds packets to help the bees. One in three bites of food that we eat is possible because of the bees and other pollinators, so please be sure to plant at least one row of flowers in your garden with the bees in mind.

And remember, the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society Spring Plant and Bulb Sale takes place on Friday, May 24 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Parkland Mall in Yorkton. There will be a good selection of plants at great prices, and gardeners on hand to chat with if you have any questions. Don’t miss it! Visit us at www.yorktonhort.ca, and have a great week!

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