Spring tips for roses and hydrangeas

By Rachel Hill - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Fri., Apr. 15, 2011
Gordon Kenneson talks about the onset of spring. Photo by Rachel Hill.
Gordon Kenneson talks about the onset of spring. Photo by Rachel Hill.

After what could arguably go on record as one of the worst winters ever, spring is finally in our midst and the time has come to think about gardening. It’s hard to know the best practices for pruning and planting, but Horticulturalist Gordon Kenneson had some answers on April 11, in a presentation to the Windsor Garden Club at the L.P. Wilson Community Center. 

Since spring involves so many topics, Kenneson said, he focused much of his discussion on the maintenance of roses, because there were so many rose enthusiasts in the audience and many of them had questions about the best way to keep them thriving in the coming months.

It goes without saying that roses are a popular flower and, according to Kenneson, they require faithful caretakers. Early pruning is necessary – they need to be cut back in the spring, not in the fall or winter. Kenneson also warned that not all stems are green, so you must be careful when cutting away all the parts that are dead.

When you do your pruning, the best way is to cut just above the bud, on an angle. This will prevent water from collecting. Pick a bud that is growing in the direction you choose and cut away the ones that cross each other or rub against one another, Kenneson recommended.

Also, a good time to transplant is soon into spring, which he said generally coincides with the Easter holiday. If you follow this rule of thumb, then you are less likely to have problems in the way of shock to the plant. Rose plants also need fertilizer five times during the growing season. Many people, he said, like the instant gratification of container roses, as well.

Kenneson also touched on the subject of blue and pink hydrangeas, which run a close second to roses in popularity. These, he said, are not flower-bud hearty plants. They thrive near a fence or up against a house. “Hydrangeas have on-years and off-years. The jury is still out on how to prune them,” said Kenneson.

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