Puttering and project progress

I pruned all of my roses within the past three or four weeks, and right away they started growing new shoots that are now developing blossoms. It amazed me how fast they grew. I remembered reading that you should cut spent flowering canes back to just above a five-leafed stem. When I looked at the five-leafed stems on each cane, I saw that some had a tiny pink nub on the cane immediately above the leaf-stem. And some did not. I pruned each cane back to one of those little nubs. By two days later I could see them starting to grow. I thought this was so cool! So I made the leap of logic that it's better to cut back to a five-leafed stem with a nub than to one without. This was easy to do on three of my roses (yellow 'Graham Thomas,' 'Fourth of July,' and an unknown red one) because the growth nubs were pretty obvious. But on the white 'Honor,' a hybrid tea rose, the flowering canes were much longer and had fewer five-leafed stems; and the canes did not show any nubs at all on the few five- and three-leafed stems they did have. Most of the leaves on this rose appear on other, non-flowering canes. I decided to cut most of the spent-flowered canes all the way back to their point of origin, thinking maybe new flowers will come from the leafier canes.

I've spent two evenings this week working on the site for a new patio, which Tom and I started digging on Sunday. It's a semicircle shape right in front of the shed. We moved the soil to a spot where we don't want to preserve the grass, and it will soon be smothered with a load of wood chips from a treecutter, I hope. The patio site now has its fabric liner down and its edging installed with stakes. Tonight or tomorrow we'll start shoveling in the crushed rock. We are so lucky as to have five friends coming tomorrow afternoon to help us move the flagstones off of their pallet, up the slope and onto the patio or near it. The delivery forklift could not make it up that one last grade to the top level of the yard, so we will get some really good exercise. We would have anyway with all the shoveling and stonelaying, let alone having to carry the gravel and stone up a three-foot elevation gain.

Last night I was supposed to have a guitar lesson, but it was cancelled. So I spent time puttering in the yard. Among other things, I planted three Russian sage plants behind the cherry tree, uphill of it a little, where the water tends to run off. That's one of my new favorite plants. I think its flowers are an unusual shade of purple, sort of silvery periwinkle blue really, and with their lacy-looking spikes, silver foliage, and nice medium height, plus their liking for lean soil and little water—I'm thinking I might use these in bigger areas, similar to this. Paghat says it can be propagated by stem cuttings. I'll try it.