Apple Cider With Cinnamon Sticks 300x200 1

Hot Spiced Cider Recipe

Russell Nursery’s Homemade Hot Spiced Cider

 

A flexible recipe that can be made for as few or as many servings as needed!

 

Mix together in a suitably sized pot:

 

2 parts apple juice to 1 part cranberry juice

Add a couple of cinnamon sticks

& a few cloves and allspice berries, either loose or wrapped in cheesecloth. 

 

Bring to a soft boil, turn down the heat and simmer for a couple of hours.

 

Best served warm with ginger snaps.

Enjoy!

Rose Pruning 3

Winter Pruning of Climbing Roses

Winter is the best time to prune modern repeat climbers as all the old leaves need to be picked off anyway, so may as well prune at the same time. (Once blooming old roses and ramblers are best when pruned in the summer after flowering)

The key to climbers is to train the canes as near to horizontal as possible. A good structure of horizontal branches dramatically increases the number of flowers. Climbers that are allowed to grow straight up will have flowers only on the tips of the canes. Newly planted climbers won’t need much pruning the first year or two. Just tie in any canes that have developed over the summer and cut side shoots back to about 6 inches.

The rose in this picture would have most of its flowers at the top.

The rose in this picture would have most of its flowers at the top.

To prune an established wall trained climber, start by taking a critical look at the plant’s structure.   Identify two or three of the oldest, less productive canes for removal or cutting back. Decide which of the newly developed canes you want to keep and where they would be best tied in. Look for dead wood, weak thin growth and awkward branches.   Try to make a plan before you start cutting.

Once you have your game plan, start by cutting away what you don’t want. The oldest branches can be cut at ground level, or at a low point where you want a new branch to form. Keep an eye on where the buds are and make the cuts just above buds that are pointing in the direction you want new growth to go in.

Cut out thin weak growth, dead wood and awkward crossing branches. Leave the side branches on the remaining canes for the time being.   Tie remaining canes onto the supports, spacing them evenly to get good coverage. Now prune the side branches, or laterals, growing out of these canes down to 3 or 4 buds. Cut just above an outward facing one.

Rose Pruning 3Remove any remaining leaves, an important step in disease control.   Lastly, rake up any fallen leaves off the ground, lightly fork over the soil around the base of the plant, apply a couple of inches of compost and you’re done.

The steps for pruning a rose trained over an arbour or similar structure are pretty much the same. Try to train some of the branches in “S” curves up trellised sides or wrap them around the support posts. Be sure that the branches over the top of the structure are tied down securely to prevent wind damage and to promote good flowering. Cut back side branches to two or three buds.

Red rose 2

See how this Don Juan Rose is tied to the top of the arbour, producing many side branches and lots of flowers.

Ready to transport

Sharpen Your Shovels, it’s Time to Transplant!

By Brian Russell

Established woody plants (trees, shrubs and conifers) are best moved when they are fully dormant. In our climate, this means November, December, January or early February. In theory you can move just about anything if you have enough determination and manpower (or womanpower!)

The tree in these photos is an Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ that has been in our roadside planting for almost 25 years.   It has long been too big for the space and rather than cut it down we decided to try to move it. It was a big job that required several people, a tractor and a sturdy trailer.   Hopefully it will survive the move and settle in to its new home in the garden of one of our staff.

The spade must be sharp to cut the roots

The spade must be sharp to cut the roots

It’s important, and a lot easier, to use a sharp shovel or spade because you need to sever the roots cleanly. A dull edge will leave a lot of damaged, torn roots, making it much harder for the plant to re-root. Use a coarse flat file to hone a nice sharp edge on your spade. If you have access to a bench grinder, all the better. If you are planning to do a lot of transplanting, you might want to keep one nice, sharp, clean garden spade just for transplanting. The ones with a square edge and a short sturdy handle with a “D” shaped grip are best.

Severing-roots

Starting to severe the roots

Before you start digging, tie up the branches to get them out of the way and to protect them from breakage. You can use rope or twine as long as it is reasonably soft and won’t damage the bark. Almost any large shrub or small tree will be easier to dig and maneuver into its new home if the branches are wrapped.

Clear away all the leaves and debris around the base of the plant and then start slicing your way through the roots, angling inwards as much as downwards. You should be digging at an angle so that you will end up with a cone-shaped root ball. The rule of thumb for determining the size of the root ball to dig is as follows: allow ten to twelve inches of root ball diameter for every one inch of trunk calliper.

Close up of root severing

Close up of root severing

For small plants, you might be able to dig a nice root ball out with just six or eight “slices” of your razor sharp shovel blade. For larger plants, you will need a larger root ball but the shovel’s blade won’t be long enough to get all the way under the plant the first time around.

Tipping the tree to cut the final roots

Tipping the tree to cut the final roots

First, dig a full shovel depth all the way around the plant and then get a helper to use another shovel as a lever to lift, very slightly, the partially severed root ball so that you can get in and slice the remaining roots. At this point it’s not usually possible to use your foot on the shovel anymore because it’s so deep in the soil. Just push it in by hand and slice through the rest of the roots until the plant is ready to lift.

Protect the root ball by lifting it carefully onto a tarp and dragging the tarp to the plant’s new home. Ideally it should be replanted as soon as possible to minimize transplant shock. If you can’t plant it right away then you should wrap up the root ball entirely with burlap (or an old towel or part of a bed sheet) and secure it tightly with twine. Treated like this, it can be heeled into a holding bed and kept there for weeks or even months before it is planted out again.

Ready to transport

Ready to transport

When replanting, ensure that you are planting at exactly the same depth: no higher or lower than the original location. Add bonemeal to the back fill soil to stimulate new root growth, water in well to dislodge air pockets, untie the poor thing and prune off the broken branches (there will surely be some).

Tree-on-way-to-new-home

The tree all ready for the journey to its new home!

A significant portion of that plant’s roots stayed at its former location, and the roots that remain will need to receive more moisture than usual, with mid to late summer being the most critical time. You won’t really know if the plant has survived the transplant process for at least a full year. Treat it like a new planting and pamper it a bit more than usual. Mulching will help, and so will building a little soil ‘donut’ or basin around the plant where you can put your hose on “trickle” three times a week.