Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Trimming Hedges, Climbing Roses and Passionflower Vines

This past weekend I spent time working in the front yard and did more work than I usually do for the day. I started off with mowing the lawn, trimming the lawn with the weed whacker will wait 'till next weekend. I trimmed up the roses as I do every few weeks, cutting back their excessive upward growth above the shape of the rose bushes. The flowering of the roses has basically stopped now. I've fed the roses before blooming time and feeding makes no difference in terms of the length of flowering. It makes me long for the grandiflora roses we had in our Petaluma yard, they bloomed all summer long. With well established roses trained up on the fence there's not much else to do but keep them trimmed and wish they'd flower more during the season.

I used the hedge trimmer for the first time this weekend, it was pretty easy to use but can wear on your arms and shoulders after a while. Usually my husband trims the hedges but he was working on our the overgrown back yard flower bed which needs to be taken apart and redone. Since my husband was busy with the back yard flowerbed I decided to tackle the overgrown passionflower vines myself. Once it hits June here on the coast our passionflower vines on the front yard fence go nuts and grow out a good foot or more. I plugged in the hedge trimmer and trimmed the vines back a good six inches, shaping the vines on the sides and trimming back the growth in the front. I have to do some work under the vines since the passionflower vines always have small seedling vines growing at the base of the growth from its rampant seeding. A little trimming underneath will help clean up the edge at the bottom of the vines.

Next I took on the hedges that surround our front yard. The hedge is comprised of privet and boxwood shrubs with the privet most predominate in the mix. The hedge is squared off and needs to be cut to match the slope of the sidewalk in front of our house. During the late spring stems of the privet grow up higher than the hedge line and have to be cut back to keep the general shape of the hedge. This hedge is a fairly aggressive grower during the summer so I decided to cut back the beginning growth to keep it in shape. I've found that if you do not trim back the privet at least once or twice a year to shape it can get out of hand fairly quickly. The stems of the hedge were harder to trim compared to the lightweight structure of the passionflower vine. I did manage to trim back the current growth this weekend but I will need some lessons from my husband on shaping the hedge by trimming back more severely later on in the season. In Victorian times hedges like this one were popular used as a fence line around the Victorian home front yard. I'm not too fond of the hedges, I'd prefer a wrought iron fence so you could see the yard better but once again the hedge shrubs are established in the yard for many years so hedges it is.

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