Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cleaning the Roses

The weather this weekend was sunny and clear and the snow even melted back so rather than stay indoors and clean the bathroom I decided to do some yard work.  There's one chore I've been putting off throughout the summer.  Cleaning out the rose bushes.  During the early summer our roses looked like this.

Large shrubs full of dark pink roses, they are really quite lovely but also severely overgrown.  The worst part is that they are harbouring wild raspberry canes.

If you look at the top of this photo you'll notice the curly canes sticking out of the bush.  Those are wild raspberry canes.  It's a lot easier to see them now that the leaves have fallen so it was a good time to get in there and do some pruning.  The raspberries are easy to identify as the canes are a bright brown and lack the large thorns of the roses.

Can you spot the raspberry canes among the roses?
But what to cut the canes with?  The reason they've probably taken hold there is it's impossible to get into the rose bushes without scratching ones body parts to pieces.  I need something with a long handle.  oh no, here we go again, another tool from that store that shalt not be named.  I seem to be obsessing about tools lately.

This handy thing is a raspberry cane cutter.  How perfect.  It has a telescoping handle for getting into hard to reach places and has a hooked blade on the end. (my apologies for the slightly fuzzy photo)

Just hook the blade around the cane and give it a good swift tug.

An hour later I had a pile of raspberry canes and a much nicer looking bunch of roses.  There's still plenty of work to be done pruning roses but that can be done in the spring.  I'm just happy I finally got around to this job as I've been putting it off for so long.  Who would have thought I'd be here at the end of November cleaning out rose bushes!  Just proves there's always something that can be done in the garden.


  1. The perfect tool from L.V. one of my fave stores too! We have inherited a huge amount of raspberry bushes behind our new home and they don't look like they've been tended to in years and years. Guess I'll be investing in one of those new tools also:)

  2. This is the perfect time, with the leaves down, to see inside thickets and brambles and woods and get to work. You've done a nice job and made me feel very virtuous and industrious just reading about it from my comfy chair inside!

  3. I've wondered about that cane cutter...thanks to you, I know what I'll be asking my longsuffering spouse for this Christmas. (Of course, he'll get to use it...)

  4. The landscapers that I work with use a similar tool when working with the thorny bunch. Glad you found one that works for you. Working around roses is never my favorite job. I end up with many holes in me.

  5. Jane - It seems wild raspberries are everywhere on this island! We actually didn't get any fruit this year as all our canes seem to be crowded among weeds or roses. I'm hoping at some point I'll be able to separate a few and see how they grow.

    Laurrie - The key is that I only stayed out for an hour! My fingers were freezing at that point so I gave up. There's still plenty of work to do on those roses but I think it'll be more comfortable come spring.

    Jodi - While I was happy working with this tool I do have one reservation. I'm not sure I'll be able to sharpen the blade when it gets dull. The blade is thin and curved which would make it difficult and I see LV sells replacement blades so I have a feeling they're made to replace rather than sharpen. It's a small thing but it bugs me.

    Gardenwalk - I generally don't mind a few scratches but in this case I would need to walk right into the middle of the roses to remove the raspberries which could be serious trouble. A long handled pruner was desperately needed. Long handled tree pruners would probably work well too.

  6. Very cool, my dear! I too am a "Lee Valley Tool Girl" Lol! :)