Light at the end of the tunnel?

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 …

  • Moje Hammarberg
  • Rosearie de La Hay
  • Hansa
  • Theresa Bugnet

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?

I hope you enjoy every minute!

 

 

Mother Nature’s Curve Balls

I am fully out in the garden today — this will be our first weekend in a while without snow… yes, Mother Nature has thrown us some curve balls.

RECENT WEEKENDS:

March 25: At the end of the day we had 10″ of snow.

April 1: California has the weather and my little loves…

(It was snowing in Indiana.)

Beautiful Boy #2

 

Beautiful Boy #1

My daughter’s beautiful garden…

And, her ‘Easy Does It” rose.

April 9: NATURE’S WELCOME HOME FROM CALI

(Thankful Mr. G’s welcome was warmer!)

BACK TO TODAY…

Yes, I am out in the garden and while the heart of a gardener is optimism, I am a “bit” discouraged at some things I’m seeing. At the top of the “oh no” list is that my beautiful New Dawn rose on the arbor looks like it has some major winter kill — I mean major. If you don’t remember the one I am talking about, it’s this one…

Is it wrong to ask for prayer for a rose?😉  (Asking for a friend.)

While I would appreciate a miracle for my rose, there are so many more important things in my life and yours. Life and nature do throw us curve balls from time to time, but the Original Gardener (Genesis 2:8) has it all under control. He is very good at what He does. My life has taught me that when He closes a door, He opens a window.

AND, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS… MAKE LEMONADE!

Here are the best lemons ever. My beautiful daughter grows these outside her kitchen door! If you want to read more about LEMONS, ROSES & SWEETNESS, click here  for an article I wrote about our family’s lemon life.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned, there are so many more spring things to come. Things like new roses … I have to tell you about all the new roses I am testing in the garden this year! Oh I can’t wait!

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY🌹

SPRING ROSE CARE

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.

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1. PLANTING

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!

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A good moo poo start...
Bare roots soaking in Moo Poo Tea…

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


2. PRUNING

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! 😬

MOST of the time, the forsythia plan works.

Tools of the trade…

You will need protective gloves and a sharp pair of pruners. My choices are Bionic Gloves and Barnel Pruners from Wendy Tilley, owner of The Rose Gardener Garden Shop and Harlane Garden Labels.

Different types of roses have different pruning needs. Read more about pruning here.

The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild from last summer. Amazing David Austin!


3. FERTILIZE

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.


4. WATERING

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.


5. MULCHING

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!

Let’s grab our wagons and go gather some blooms!

 

Bloom Thyme Friday

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:

Daffodils

 

 

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…. 

 

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!