Cruel To Be KindThursday, September 14, 2006
In mid November when I partially prune my roses and in March when I really go at them I hum along Nick Lowe's Cruel To Be Kind. It was in the late 70s, when Nick Lowe came to Vancouver with his band Rockpile, that I first saw him perform and I enjoyed his songs. I instantly liked Cruel To Be Kind even though I tried to ignore the lyrics which sounded a lot like S&M.
You've gotta be
Cruel to be kind in the right measure,
Cruel to be kind it's a very good sign,
Cruel to be kind means that I love you,
Baby, you've gotta be cruel to be kind...
But now I know that the song is the perfect song to prune roses by. In the past I have been reluctant to be as coldly vicious as Brad Jalbert (from Select Roses in Langley) taught me to be when pruning roses. And, every time, the roses did not perform as well. I learned my lesson and my roses have performed well after heavy pruning.
I am tempted to fertilize my roses in mid September. One thinks that after the wonderful display they gave me this year I should reward them with some food. But this is not so. If I fertilize them now they will grow and as soon as the early frosts hit Vancouver the new and tender growth will not be hardy and it will wither. Such kindness could even kill them. Nick Lowe is right.