After having been neglected for two years, I pruned the roses hard and dared them to grow back. I didn't care if some of them died. I had no attachment to them whatsoever. They looked like diseased thorny stalks. It took hours to trim them all back. I wasn't sure why I bothered, however, I remembered that when they were cared for, their blooms were pretty. I guess I hoped that I could return them to that state.
One of the reasons why our roses are doing well is from the use of compost tea. At first I tried to add composted dirt around the base of the plants, but our chickens scratched it all away. Then I discovered that the former owner buried a pipeline watering system and placed open spouts next to each bush. My new technique is to pour the compost tea, or the liquid nitrogen food, into the open holes. With this method, the plant may be fed and watered about a quart every four days. I'd like to mention that I have outwitted our chickens and I am very pleased about that.
My friend at Wonderfarm gave me a book by Pam Peirce called, Golden Gate Gardening: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Food Gardening in the
Recipe For Compost Tea
"With very little effort you can turn manure or hot compost into a wonderful liquid fertilizer to add before or as you water plants. Put some manure or compost in a large bucket and fill it with water (may cover to shield odor). Use about 2 cups of solid material per gallon of water. Let it sit in the pot for three days or more, stirring it a couple of times a day. Every 2 weeks or so apply the liquid around your plants. When the liquid is gone, pour the slurry in the garden in an area between plants and start over."
I realize that in Austria and in many places in the United States spring is just beginning. My cousin in Colorado noted on her Face Book that it was snowing. I'm sure there's still snow around the mountains of Anchorage too, where Mr. Green Jean's Dad and his sister's family live. My brother and sister in Oregon said there are finally spring blooms there, and that their weather has finally warmed.
It's hard for me to imagine it being cold elsewhere, since our first spring blooms occurred here in February. (Our bees keep me abreast of blooms and pollen bursts.) All of our fruit trees, except for the cherry, have finished blooming and it feels to me like spring is over.
Soon our hills will turn from ones that look like the land in Ireland to their dry yellow counterparts. But our roses will still be blooming throughout summer, and I plant to continue to appreciate their color in daily doses. Remember the post that I wrote: To trim or not to trim? I'm thinking that roses are year round in the Bay Area, especially since we aren't getting winters like we used to. There just doesn't seem to be a cold enough time to prune them back. Well, I did a little test. The roses that I didn't trim this winter are all blooming right now. I know so very little about caring for them, but I'm learning to appreciate them slowly.