Wednesday, April 29, 2009

End of A Weeping Willow - Spring Storm

*Update July 11, 2009
Today another storm took out a tree and branches at the BRG (pictures).
*Update August 21, 2009
August 20, August 9 storms
April 25 2009 Storm:
On the east side of the Gardens, where Godfrey's Lane borders the park, the grassy meadow is scattered with picnic tables among the weeping willow trees. The sudden, violent windstorm that hit this area Saturday, April 25, took out one of the tall willows. I found a Before picture that I took a year and a half ago, so you can see how the tree used to look.

Weeping Willow Before
Note the position of the house on Godfrey's Lane in the background, and the smaller weeping willow just behind the tree in the foreground. I never used this picture as I didn't like the garbage can in the photo. Now, with the demise of the willow, I am glad to have it.

Weeping Willow After the Storm

Here's how I found the willow on Sunday morning after the storm. When the wind had started blowing hard the afternoon before, I noticed some people still sitting around the picnic tables, but I went running for cover, and left the picnickers to fend for themselves.

Close Up Center of Trunk of Weeping Willow

This is the interior of the fallen half of the willow tree. Though it had looked pretty solid when upright, you can see it was rotten to the core.

Interior Willow Tree Trunk Upright

Here's what the interior of the still-upright willow trunk looked like. Just the day before, I had made a comment about how lovely the willows looked in this half of the garden; another gardener responded that willows were brittle, and in a storm, the last place that you'd want to be is near one; they fall down easily and dramatically. Gives a whole new interpretation to The Wind in the Willows. Think of that as an alarm to clear out :-)

Weeping Willow Cut Up

I'd sent the above pictures to Para, who arranged for the fellows in Forestry to come cut down the tree. I am only sorry I didn't get over to the gardens to video them felling the tall bit. In a few hours (less?) the tree is ready for chipping and hauling away.

Weeping Willow Stump

This is all that's left of the stump and branches. Some good chipping to be done here. But the willow's demise makes for guilt-free planting of trees more suited to shading a Rhododendron Garden, and there is a long term plan to add more rhodos and rhodo habitat to this section of the garden.

The End of the Willow

And so, we say goodbye to a long serving shade tree, that sucked up water in a low lying area. Now to see what will replace it.

Update July 9, 2009
Yesterday, the city crew came to make wood chips out of the remains of the fallen weeping willow. (It had been so many weeks since the original willow collapse that I had wondered if the fallen tree was a new naturalization initiative.)

Weeping Willow Cleanup

City crew sawing and hauling tree remains to chipper. The head gardener decided not to use the remains of this tree as mulch in the BRG since it might be contaminated. Makes sense: After all, whatever killed the tree could kill other garden plants.

Wood Chipper Truck

I video'd the truck and small cat used to haul and chop the old tree sections into mulch. And since I couldn't get too close to the working men and machines, I used the zoom lens. Well, for that one really needs a tripod. Sorry the video didn't work out as hoped.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pruning Roses at BRG Mississauga

Spring pruning of the rose bushes in the new rose garden at Brueckner Rhodos is nearly done. The garden builder let me take a few pictures of his pruning technique so everyone can see how to prune roses correctly.

[Note: If you are looking for pruning rhodos, not roses, volunteers do not prune them But we DO dead head spent rhododendron blooms <- pics ]

Rose Bush Pruning the 'wrong' way

The rose bush in the picture above had been pruned in the 'bowl on the head' haircut manner, meaning all the branches had been trimmed down to roughly the same level, leaving about 15 separate branches. This method makes for a neat appearance now, but does nothing for the future health and vigour of the rose bush. Here's why.

To prune roses correctly, first get down and have a close look. Check for diseased pieces -- cracks, discolored areas etc. Healthy rose branches should be green, not brown or red. Rose branches with unhealthy areas should be pruned back to the green areas. In some cases, the entire branch should be cut out.

Prune rose bush below soil line

Carefully loosen the soil around the base of the branch, checking to see if it's separate or attached to another branch. Use clean pruning shears, and make a clean cut. Discard all prunings into the trash to prevent spreading diseases.

Rose Bush After Pruning

The original 15 stems of the unpruned bush are now only 5, and two of those are doubles. It looks kind of sad, right? As if you've destroyed the whole rose bush. But what you have done is sacrifice a few weak branches so that the strongest will not only survive, but flourish.

Update June 6, 2009 Rose Bush New Growth

This photo shows the new growth on the rose bush in the photo immediately above it. It's hard to believe how much lush new growth is now showing on these bushes!

Rose Bush Properly Pruned

The above picture shows a rose bush hard or severely pruned a few days earlier. Already the few remaining branches are sprouting healthy green leaves. The plant is putting all its energy into making the strongest branches even stronger. While you may see fewer blooms this season, chances are they will be healthy and large.

Update June 6, 2009

New Growth on the 'Video Star' Rose

If you've seen the video, this rose bush is the same one, and the one in the photo above. Rob is not happy with a few of the 'iffy' branches that he had debated on pruning or leaving, but overall, it is looking pretty good!

Rodent Damage (Mice? Squirrels?) to Rose Bush
Over the winter, rodents can snack on rose bark and cause a lot of damage, that will look like the white parts on the rose bush (above photo). This rose plant is one of the most severely damaged.

Close Up of Damaged Rose Branch
The picture above shows the interior of a rose branch that has been damaged over winter. Look at each stem that you prune; most of them will show the brown color that tells you this is not a healthy stem. Occasionally, you may prune a 'good' stem, so really look at each cutting to check your proficiency.

Here's a short video of how to prune roses that was taken at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens yesterday.

Pruning Roses
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Thanks to Rob for sharing his expertise. And his time! With hundreds of roses to prune and nurture in the new rose garden, many hands can make light work.

Today's unseasonably hot weather will have the forsythia, azaleas, rhodos and other early bloomers popping their blossoms.

If you'd like to volunteer, come by weekdays and ask for Para or Joe. They will let you know what needs doing, and where it needs to be done. Rest assured pruning roses won't be one of them :-)