This evening being very pleasant (and me utterly ashamed that my roses haven't been deadheaded in so long), I grabbed the pruning shears and went at the roses.
While I'm at it, thinks I, I'll take out the neighboring Dierama flower stalks that — while quite interesting in a Piet Oudolf kind of way — are actually getting quite annoying.
Well, the Dierama was getting tangled up with the Gaura, which has been reseeding itself all over the place (thanks a lot, Piet), so that should get cut back too.
Oh, and while I'm over there, the 'Apple Blossom' penstemon — not to mention the 'Midnight' — is looking pretty ratty, so let's shear those down. Out come the hedge shears.
This will be my undoing. Because now that I've got the shears out, I know that the 9 lavender plants must be cut back. They've been done blooming for a week, the bees have abandoned them, Toiya is complaining about them.
By the way, it's now 8:20 pm, and the light is fading.
One hour later, I finish sweeping up the carnage from my exploits. The compost bin (the big one) is now full, and I have been attacked by roses, mosquitoes and ants. It is dark, save for a few path lights. I am sweaty and sticky and hungry. And yet, I feel victorious, like a bull rider or an alligator wrestler or something.
This is the time of year when lots of Mediterranean and California native plants really could use a nice hard shearing back: lavender, rosemary, my old nemesis the Erigeron, even those ubiquitous California poppies benefit from some deadheading. So if you've got a spare hour, grab your shears, and join me in some power gardening.
(If you dare.)