Sunday, February 15, 2009
My hands at this moment are showing the effects of several days’ dealing with prickly things. The most recent is the cactus in our new window boxes. Having read here that one box fell, their creator came over yesterday (on his day off) and fixed them with screws. They will now be there as long as the wall they’re attached to.
So today I planted the little cacti, most of which survived with their thorns intact. Some will grow to 15 inches, some to six. I have no idea whether they will like their boxes and grow at all, but we will see.
On Thursday, a young man came to help us cut back the roses and perennials that sprawl among our flower beds. I helped him, of course. Yanked up dead verbena (didn’t know those have invisible prickles, but discovered it when I tried to grip something else afterwards); cut back several large cramoisi superieurs; disentangled a great quantity of dead climbing rose where it had grown around the fretwork, on the back porch, in its effort to pull the porch down.
We cut back the rose itself a couple of weeks ago, and have been waiting for the long canes to dry out, so they’d be easier to remove. They are intertwined with long canes from what we call our “fried egg” rose, Mermaid. The only way to tell them apart was to let the severed ones dry out a bit.
Problem is, I don’t wear gloves. I know that’s strange. I tell people that the reason is, if I do wear gloves, I can’t feel what I’m doing. I know that they think I mean that I can’t feel what I’m gripping, or cutting, which is true. But that’s not quite it.
Wading into a rose bush with a pair of clippers in mid February in our part of Texas means you will be lopping off healthy foliage, bursting with life. I hate that. Yet, if I don’t do it, the rose becomes so spindly that it is vulnerable to a variety of unhappy things come summer. So I take my cutters and begin. And when I am snagged—as I will be inevitably more than once—I feel that it’s only fair. I should share the pain. It keeps me mindful of what I am really doing, and reminds me to take no more than is absolutely necessary. To prune the rose with care.