Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

When and how to trim and protect your roses

Rose trimming was always a point of confusion in my house.  My mom always meant to trim the rose bushes in the spring; but, if she had more time in the fall, she would deem the fall the appropriate time of year.  Then there were those ever-more-common instances where she was frustrated by the size and legginess of her rose bushes in the middle of June and she would begin to chop, leaving the yard riddled with bright pink blooms.

This process seemed a bit too haphazard for my regimented lifestyle.  But a quick google search proved my mom was not the only one with rose trimming issues.  Every other gardening website had a different suggested date for when to trim rose bushes.  While not everyone agrees on the subject, it is safe to trim in the spring, before the rose pushes out new growth.  Some experts suggest looking for the forsythia’s bloom as a sign for when to trim.  This is a great visual reminder.

To trim the bush, remember to use sharp instruments, so your cuts aren’t ragged.  Cut at a 45° angle and remove all woody, spindly and otherwise dead-looking branches.  Prune from the base of the plant and move your way up.  Be sure to remove any leftover leaves from the previous season.

Whether you are a fall trimmer or a spring trimmer, roses need to be trimmed in order to thrive.  To make sure your roses continue to thrive all year long, protect them with  American Rose Society Endorsed Liquid Fence® Deer & Rabbit Repellent.  The scent-based formula will stop deer from taking that first nibble.  And you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful roses all summer long!

Surviving the slush

Surviving the Slush…
We are in the slushy middle of winter in the Northeast, and my garden is buried under almost 2 feet of snow.  Along with digging out of the slush, I’m digging into the reserves of last summer’s crops and slowly emptying my freezer.

I like to look at my freezer reserves as preserved good memories of last summer, rather than get depressed by the lack of fresh bounty.  I get to enjoy, chicken corn soup from the sweet corn I husked in July and blueberry sauce from the blueberries I devoured by the handful in August.  Of course, the frozen stuff doesn’t taste quite as good as the fresh stuff, but there is nothing like enjoying the bounty of the summer on cold winter days.

Even if you don’t have my squirlish tendencies and haven’t stored your summer produce, frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good choice this time of year.  Scroll to the bottom of this post for my recipe for Lemon Pound Cake with blueberry sauce.

Thinking of planting blueberry bushes this spring?
Bumper blueberry crops can be achieved even in areas with heavy deer populations.  Spray the plants with Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent.  If you are planting new blueberry bushes this year, be sure to promptly apply the repellent after planting.

And because Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent is safe to use on edible crops, you can even apply after fruit appears.  Just be sure not to apply it immediately before harvest.  Because you’ll want to protect more than just your blueberries, buy the Liquid Fence Repellent 40 oz. Concentrate with Sprayer.  The 40 oz. concentrate will cover 10,000 square feet.  That’s enough to protect your shrubs AND blueberries from deer and rabbits!

Lemon Pound Cake with Homemade Blueberry Syrup: Makes 5 servings

8 oz package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 325°F.  In small mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.  In a larger mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer.  In the mean time, combine the lemon zest into the granulated sugar. Add the sugar to the butter mixture and continue creaming.  Add the lemon and vanilla extract, and eggs one at a time, beating for about one minute after each egg.  Scrape down the bowl after each egg.  Slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder.  Don’t over mix!  Pour into a greased and floured 5”by 9”loaf pan and bake for 60- 75 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Homemade Blueberry Syrup
2 cups of cleaned frozen blueberries
1 ½ cup of sugar
½ cup of water

Dissolve sugar into the water.  Add the frozen blueberries.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened.  Strain blueberries, if you like fruit-free sauce.  Or keep them in for added flavor and texture.  Serve the syrup warm over the pound cake.