With the new year approaching I'm reminded of my favorite side of the pruning season; beginning new plants from cuttings. What seems like a mountain of useless debris, the pile of pruned branches, has always held so much promise of new life for me. Dozens of new plants can be had from the prunings, and perhaps you should keep this in mind. If you'd like a simple primer, turn to the Vintage Gardens website and go to our Plant Care page in the green menu bar. Select Rose Care, and you'll find our photo essays of pruning, which take you through several very different rose shrubs and how we prune them. The second series is Pruning a Medium Sized Shrub Rose and Making Hardwood Cuttings. This will get you started. The old gardener's method is to stick those prepared heel cuttings directly into the ground under the mother plant. A year from now you can dig up those new babies and give them a home!
This year I lost my dearest companion, a Rat Terrier named Tyccho. He was an indomitable trapper of gophers, the sourge of my garden, subterrannean vegetarians that delight in the succulent roots of roses. I lose about 50 to 100 plants each year to gophers, but Tyccho managed to catch more than 100 gophers each year. When I lost him, I wondered how I could ever replace him in the garden. A few months later I adopted a new Rat Terrier, Virgil. He is just six months old today, but two days ago he caught his first gopher, and yesterday a young roof rat. There's more than a promise of roses for the coming year, on this last, cold night of December.
Happy New Year to all of you!