We are definitely making progress! It has been a week of greening and flowering. The birds are loving it and have entertained me all day as I did my own brand of “flittering around the garden” … planting, pruning and even started fertilizing!
Here’s what’s going on.
One of Mr. G’s favorites — Creeping Phlox is blooming. Listen in, the birds are loving this morning too …
Roses that were cut back to the ground are coming right along! Whew! Thank goodness!
Still nothing miraculous happening over the arbor. Super. Sad. Face. 😕
Nasturtiums are soaking before getting planted.
Oh, here comes one of my spring favorites … Rhododendrons. 😍
Color me grateful, happy and blessed. And… tired — that good kind of tired that comes from time in the garden. Isn’t that the best tired!
Now, I’m going to go check on those Dogwoods. I hope they have been saying “no” to frost! Temps are still dipping way down at night!
From the look of the weekend weather report, there is light at the end of the tunnel. While I still am hearing from friends farther north that have snow, I am hoping our snow and plunging temps are behind us. Here in Zone 5b, our projected last frost date is May 10, so we will most likely get more “frosty” days but I sure hope not.
There has been a great deal of winter damage around here. Most of the roses (except the old garden roses and rugosas) will be pruned down to about 2-5″ from the ground. There are 3 or 4 that look as though they will not be back. We have been here before — although not recently! While the start will be slower and the bloom cycle will be later, history tells me most of them will be okay — in fact many might enjoy the severe haircut.
The biggest loss is the climbers. A shocking loss. One of which has been beautiful for so many years-New Dawn. You cried with me about that one last week. This week we are lamenting over another beloved rose… my Peggy Martin rose. Last year was the 3rd year in my garden and it was wonderful! I still see life, but it is at the ground and there is nothing above. 😦
Last year by the end of May she was up and over the trellis. Not gonna happen this year. But, it will be interesting to see how the recovery goes.
When I contacted my good friend, Peggy Martin, who the rose is named for, she said Oh, Honey don’t worry, I’ll “strike” you some cuttings. WOO HOO. These will be cuttings from the original Peggy Martin Rose in her garden. Can I just say, Peggy Martin is the best! If you ever get the chance to meet her as she travels around talking about old garden roses and her Peggy Martin rose, GO. She is a delight and a fountain of knowledge—dripping in southern charm. #nottobemissed So just as I said last week, when God closes a door, he opens a window. 🙂
Me and Peggy… standing outside a lovely open door!
Regardless of all that “climber” sadness, there are many things bringing me garden joy today…
The Trillium are back!
My baby snapdragons — started from seeds I saved from last year’s beauties — had some time outside today. Behind them is my grandmother’s pitcher filled with mint that has been living in my potting shed all winter. I love this pitcher! My grandmother was a great gardener. The pitcher is a simple item she used in a very ordinary life but knowing that it was her’s, makes it extraordinary to me.
The rugosas were little affected by the horrible winter. They are champs!
Here is Therese Bugnet Rugosa today….
Rugosas from last June…
Too bad this picture isn’t scratch and sniff. Oh the fragrance! If you have a bit of room in your garden or want a living fence — grow rugosas! Bonus: they are very disease resistant — require no spray, in fact, those thick, wrinkled (rugose) leaves can be harmed by spray! Some varieties that I grow are …
Rosearie de La Hay
All of these I would recommend.
It was a wonderful day in the garden. Spring is finally springing and there’s so much more to come!
I CAN’T WAIT!
What are some highlights of your garden this week?
When spring comes it’s time for gardeners to roll up their sleeves and get busy and I can’t wait!
Here are some tips that I follow for getting my roses off to a good start in my Zone 5b garden.
For early April planting, I buy bare root roses from online vendors (my preferred list here). When they arrive they are “bare roots” wrapped in wet newspaper. Very humble beginnings for a plant that will be so lovely later!
I immediately unpack them and soak them in a bucket of Moo Poo tea for 24 hours before planting.
Planting decisions are dependent on the type of rose…
Grafted Roses: Many hybrid teas, floribunda and grandifloras are grafted roses.
This means that a rose is created by being grafted onto strong, hardy rootstock, creating a “bud union.” Plant the bud union (knobby part just above the roots) 3” below the soil line to protect it from harsh winters we often have.
Own Root Roses: These roses were started from cuttings and are on their own root, so there is no bud union to protect. I plant them as I would any other shrub.
Soil: We ask roses to bloom for us all summer, year after year, so it is best to give them a good start by planting them in good, rich soil. Our neck of the woods has horrible gray clay soil so we dig BIG holes–holes much deeper and wider than the root system to allow for soil amendments and deep enough to protect the bud union. (At least 18″ by 18″.) To the soil removed, we add compost and a quality grade of top soil. Your roses will appreciate your gifts of more nutrients and better drainage and will reward you handsomely! You will never regret giving your roses a good foundation.
Roses Already in Leaf and Bloom…
If you purchased something from a garden center that is already leafed out and perhaps has buds or blooms, wait until the frost date has passed to plant them in the garden. In my zone that date is May 10. I will confess to occassionally planting a little earlier than May 10, but you have to be prepared to cover them if frosty nights come!! #notpatient
First tip: DON’T BE AFRAID TO PRUNE. I’ve made countless “mistakes” through the years and the roses always forgive and come back!
Here in the midwest, it is difficult to know when winter is really over and it is time to prune. For many years, I have let the forsythia tell me. When the forsythia is blooming, I start pruning. This year the temps have been up and down and there has been a lot of pressure on the forsythia. So use your best judgement! 😬
Once our roses are starting to grow, it’s time for fertilizer. Most any fertilizer will do—but do read labels carefully–too much of a good thing can be harmful! I use a combination of Moo Poo Tea,Mills Magic Mix and inorganic fertilizer on my roses. Fertilizer applications are about 6 weeks apart for most of my roses. Old Garden Roses and Rugosas are fertilized in the spring. Shrubs and Knockouts are only fertilized twice a season–spring and summer.
Once the fertilizer has been applied, you will want to give your roses a deep watering to get those nutrients down to where they can do some good.
A good rule of thumb is to water at the base of the plant especially if you are watering in the evening, as wet rose leaves are more susceptible to fungal diseases (e.g. Black Spot & Powdery Mildew). Although, if I am watering in the morning I give them a good all-over shower. This is great way to remove dirt and any insects that have shown up for the tasty and tender buds! I think roses appreciate a refreshing shower just as we do, just don’t put them to bed wet.
This is one of my favorite parts. Mulch is so good for your roses … retains moisture, helps to keep down weeds and gives the garden that fresh, finished look!
One thing to remember when applying mulch … when mulch breaks down, it uses nitrogen in the process, so add a layer of compost on top of the soil before you add the mulch layer then the nitrogen in the soil can be used by the rose. If you are working in an established bed and last year’s mulch is still there, leave it… it becomes a “compost layer.” Win. Win.
I can’t wait to see these early bloomers!
MY FAVORITE TIP…
My favorite tip is to visit your roses daily or as often as you can to enjoy their beauty and to get to know them. Getting to know them can be key in early detection of any pest or disease.
And, when you have beautiful roses outside, who can stay in!
Today it is sunny and cold. I love the sun, BUT it allowed that Groundhog to see his shadow and I was not fond of that. His prediction is that there is 6 more weeks of winter. I am pleading with spring to defy the groundhog and come up with a better plan.
With all that said, Groundhog Day is kinda fun. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
This weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: dachs) is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.
The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in central Pennsylvania, centering around a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most attended.
Yea, it’s fun to hear all about it and see them get dressed up and all … I just hope winter doesn’t go on and on and on until we begin to feel like Bill Murray. #groundhogdaythemovie 😳😳😳
GOOD NEWS: I heard today on Instagram from my friends @maplehurstgardens, located in NJ, that The Groundhog predictions are mostly wrong. #thatswhatimtalkingabout
LET’S SPRING AHEAD
While we are thinking about spring, I am wondering what are your favorite spring blooms. Here are two of mine:
Dogwood Trees (we have 5)
At just the right time spring will come and we will have the pleasure of watching our garden being reborn. And….