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This week has been busy in the garden and our recent weather has everyone eager for spring. Visitors and staff have remarked on how great the garden looks and have stopped to admire the early flowering bulbs like the crocus coming up in the Thistle Terrace lawn. We have been working hard this winter to get things ready for the upcoming year. Last week, one of our oldest Catalpa trees and a smaller holly (Ilex opaca) on the South Lawn were professionally pruned to take care of some broken limbs damaged in recent storms. Two California Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) trees by the grape arbor are being removed this month because both trees are diseased and have been officially deemed hazardous. The lean of one tree has become a major concern for visitor safety while its neighbor lost most of its canopy last year during an August storm. We will be replacing both trees in the near future.
Late winter is the time to prune rose bushes. Pruning practices vary depending on rose species and location. We cut back our floribundas and hybrid teas in our knot garden to reduce their size in relation to the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’) hedges. The remaining rose species around the property are pruned to remove dead wood and to reshape them like our moss, damask, and china varieties. We also apply lime sulfur spray to our roses to get a jump start on our rose maintenance program.