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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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Best time to tame a rose

Question: When is the best time to prune roses? I have a bush that needs trimming, but don’t want to damage it by pruning at the wrong time.

If the rose is out of control, it won’t hurt to get out the clippers now. This advice comes from Annie Owen, a Master Rosarian and member of the Nashville Rose Society: “If the bush is overgrown, this is an okay time to prune it back, as long as it gets plenty of water.” In fact, if you reduce the size of the bush, you reduce its need for water, she said.

This goes for most types of roses, even those with finicky personalities and special fertilizing and spraying needs, as long as they’re healthy. If it’s a Knockout rose, no worries at all. “If it’s a Knockout, you can’t kill those things,” Owen said.

The Nashville Rose Society offers these pruning guidelines: Use sharp bypass pruning shears, which will make a clean cut without crushing the stem. Start by taking out older wood, along with any dead or dying canes. Remove any canes that rub or cross each other, or any twiggy, unnecessary growth. Make each pruning cut about ¼-inch above an outward-facing bud eye, where the leaf is attached to the stem.

Rose enthusiasts who winterize their prized roses will do more severe pruning in the fall. To begin the winterizing process, stop fertilizing roses now to allow the plant to slow down production of new growth. Early in October, stop cutting the dead flowers and leave the rose hips in place. In late November or early in December, cut the canes back to 2 to 3 feet, and place a mound of mulch around
the bush. This will hold them until spring, when you should prune lightly again to get new growth.

For general good advice on pruning and anything else that has to do with roses, visit the Nashville Rose Society’s Web site, www.nashvillerosesociety.com.

It’s too hot to garden, but all is not lost over at Turning Toward the Sun.

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