2017, Design ideas, What to do in the garden

The Power of Potential


Christmas Eve. A magical day, even more so than Christmas, in some ways. Christmas Eve is all about potential. Christmas itself is still ahead, in its entirety, and none of it has been used up yet. It’s rather like the last few hours of work just before you stop and go on vacation. The possibilities are endless, with the thing that you have been looking forward to lying there in the near future, whole and untouched, ready to be enjoyed. if you have done your preparations right, you will soon reap your reward.

The winter ahead is a little like Christmas Eve, in that it is the preamble to celebration that will eventually come. Spring gives us a fresh start in the garden. The weeds we never got around to pulling up, the flowers we never deadheaded, and all the other chores that we put off have been forgiven. The garden can now be anything. Under the snow, the plants are storing up their energy for the season ahead, and while they rest, we can prune and tame them so that they will wake up looking better than ever. We can sharpen our pruners, look through the gardening magazines that we were too busy to open over the summer, and dream. By the time spring starts to stir, we will be poised to act.

Winter, while it can be a trying time for the gardener, can be a gift if you use it to rest and let your mind wander through the garden while it is free from the distractions of jobs that need to be done. Enjoy the blank slate… it is nothing but potential.



2 thoughts on “The Power of Potential”

  1. We can prune rose bushes in the Winter? It won’t kill then? How far back can a plant be pruned?

    1. Yes, you can. Right now they are dormant, and will probably stay so until spring. You don’t want to prune them when it’s still above freezing but about to get really cold (like in November) because they aren’t dormant yet and pruning them will tell the plant that it’s time to react by sending up new shoots, which will then get zapped by a frost and thus will have wasted the plant’s resources.

      As for how much… that depends a bit on the Rose. Rugosa roses (Beach roses) can be pruned almost to the ground and will come back just fine. Others you need to be a little more gentle with. A good rule of thumb is to not cut off more than a third in any one year. Prune to remove dead and diseased branches, branches that are rubbing together, and to make a pleasing shape. Make your cuts just above the place where a leaf stem joins the main stem, slanting diagonally away from it, for best results. I’ll be writing more about this in March… it’s easier than it sounds. 🤨 Merry Christmas to you, too!

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