Well, I have come to the end of a 20-year-long era–my Smith and Hawkins boots. Remember Smith and Hawkins? Hope you were able to visit one. We had a beautiful Smith and Hawkins store in Indianapolis. I can’t tell you how many dates Mr. G and me had there. He always knows the way to my heart. Even in the dead of a dark, cold Indiana winter, it was spring at Smith and Hawkins. I bought my first REAL garden boots there, actually Mr. G bought them for me. (TRUE LOVE!)
The first pair lasted 10 years and the 2nd pair is coming up on 10 years. The second pair was bought at Target who carried a few things from the Smith and Hawkins line for a while. Seriously, these boots really should have been replaced last year, but I held on hoping that whoever decided to close all the Smith and Hawkins stores, would come to their senses and open again!
Here are my beloved boots in better days. Standing by the door ready to go at a moments notice.
The first issue in the replacement process is giving them up.
The second issue is their replacement. So many options.
I have made a decision to buy these beauties. Are they over the top ???
Time will tell if I have made the right decision—I ordered online. But, I do like the look of them. What do you think? I probably should have sent out an APB to all of you to ask for recommendations, but I am hopeful. Just in case, if you have a suggestion please leave a comment!
Today was the last day for the boots and we made it a doozy!
My plan was a bit “ambitious” for a day with time constraints and “old” boots. But we did it … all I had planned and more!
I guess you could say that these boots (and I quote my good friend and Rose Chat partner in crime, the Redneck Rosarian) are “worn slap out”!
Here’s picture of me and my boots a few years ago… TIRED. DIRTY. HAPPY.
It is no surprise to you that gardening is one of my passions. Digging in the dirt is practically a magical experience for me. And, watching my garden spring back to life is almost cause for dancing in the streets. 💃
This week it has officially started for me and I don’t even want to sleep. Now if the weatherman would just get the memo and bring us more sun! Don’t you agree weekends should always be sunny!
While I love most plants and shrubs, roses are at the top of the list. History teaches us I am not lone. Roses have been at the top of many plant list and have become the world’s most beloved flower. The rose is steeped in history (I have roses that date back to the 1500s in my garden and they have some stories to tell!) and the rose is our National Floral Emblem. Personally, I think everyone would be happier to have roses to pick from their own gardens or patio containers! We are always encouraged to “stop and smell the roses.”
Today I want to tell you about two organizations that have contributed to my joy of growing roses and most definitely to my knowledge!
THE AMERICAN ROSE SOCIETY
Through the American Rose Society (ARS), I have rose friends from all over the country that enrich my rose hobby. This society exists to promote the culture and appreciation of the rose, through education and research to members, to local rose societies and their members and to the public.
Most ARS members are home gardeners who enjoy growing roses and want to expand their knowledge of rose culture. Starting now gives you all winter for learning and getting ready for spring! If you are not ready to take on a full membership, give it a try with the cost effective TRIAL MEMBERSHIP and see what you think.
FOUR-MONTH TRIAL MEMBERS RECEIVE:
Free advice from Consulting Rosarians.
Free or reduced garden admissions, a $25 value after just 3 uses.
Free online access to five quarterly bulletins, a $45 value.
2 issues of American Rose magazine, $16 value.
Discounts of up to 30% at merchant partners.
A four-month trial membership is valued at $86 for only $10!
For FULL MEMBERS, one of my fav ARS member benefits currently is the monthly newsletter. I am the editor! To see a sample of the newsletter, read on here.
In this organization I have met wonderful people of all ages. We are all at different stages of the gardening experience and have different passions. Some are into just growing while others with the competitive spirit, enter the most amazing blooms and arrangements in competitions! Some members have 1 rose and some have 500 roses. One of the greatest perks is getting to visit member’s gardens. This group has some amazing gardens!
But it is so much more…
We spend time enjoying all things “rose” together. We learn, we laugh, we celebrate successes and we deal with failures & issues together. It’s not just roses that keep us together, over the years–we have become family and you are welcome anytime!
This year we have members coming from Marion, Kokomo, Bloomington and most of the surrounding burgs!
Our 2017 year started off with a bang in March, as Dr. Mark Windham gave a program on getting our gardens off to a good start and gave us the latest on his research with Rose Rosette.
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 have two beautiful Dee-Lish roses waiting patiently in the Potting Shed as I type. 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.
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!