In gardens and in life it’s best when life gives you lemons, to make lemonade.
If you have been gardening for even a short time you know that gardens are ever changing. One of the strongest agents of change in my garden is winter. While I am a huge fan of spring. Sometimes the changes that winter pushes through while we are all comfy and cozy by the fireplace with our loves—are “chilling.” Such was the case this year. Our winter came late, was harsh, warmed up early and then really hit us hard. A few of my roses were not fans and gave up or decided to take their sweet time showing up again.
But it was not the roses that took the biggest hit. It was our Winter Gem Boxwood Hedge. Many of the plants in this hedge had been here 10 years, some only 6. Ironically, we loved them especially in the winter when the snow would fall on them. They are gone now … all of them. I cried. As I looked at the blank canvas, Mr G says he saw that gleam in my eyes. I will add a few things this year but will do more in 2019 as it evolves and I live with our new open space. No question, I will miss my hedge and may even plant another one. But, I’m gonna take some time.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:19. He’s always got a plan!
LEMONS TO LEMONADE…
Hope your week is filled with beauty and a tall glass of homemade lemonade, if you need a recipe to try, my recipe is here. Sure love making lemonade with my boys!
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!
This is going to be a day filled to the brim with roses. You can stop by for a few minutes or buy a $10 ticket and stay all day. The $10 ticket gives you entrance to hear all 3 speakers. I can tell you that this lineup of speakers is a Rose Dream Team.
Peggy Martin of New Orleans, LA 12:30 – 1:30 pm | Program: Old Garden Roses Peggy is the VP of the Heritage Rose Foundation and owner of the original Peggy Martin Rose, the rose that survived Hurricane Katrina.
Carol Tumbas of Bloomington, IN 1:45 – 2:45 pm | Program: Hardy, Sustainable Shrub Roses Carol is the former President of the Indianapolis Rose Society, a well respected rosarian and grower of more than 500 roses.
Gaye Hammond of Houston, TX 3 – 4 pm | Program: Earth-Kind Roses Gaye is a noted expert of the Texas A & M Earth-Kind Program and lectures nationwide about growing roses in no spray conditions.
The day will start with the Hamilton County Master Gardener Association Tea in the Rose Garden and rose garden tour.
Then you can go inside to the conference center to see an amazing display of roses grown in the Indianapolis area, ask questions of Consulting Rosarians and hear from our great speakers. There will also be roses and rose products for sale.
With your $10 ticket you get to hear all 3 speakers! A true bargain for these great speakers.
There is a limited number of tickets (because of seating capacity), so buy your tickets ASAP by contacting Monica at IndyMonica@gmail.com or 317.514.7284. Seriously call or email her today! I don’t want you to miss this special event if you are in the area!
For more information about this event and other rose society events coming up — like the Wine and Roses garden tour, read on here.
There are many things in my world that bring me immense joy and happiness…
faith . . . family . . . friends . . . flowers
This week in the garden the rose JOY by one of today’s outstanding hybridizers, David Clemons, is knocking it out of the park and giving me a great deal of pleasure. Every day this week as I visit this rose I’m thinking WHERE IS THE ROSE SHOW? I just might have “the one” this week. 🙂 Actually, earlier in the season one of my sprays of JOY received 2nd place at the Ill/Ind District Rose Show, but a 1st place would be very welcome!!!
David Clemons is known for naming his roses for thoroughbred horses, but for two special roses he chose to name them for special women in his life–his mother Joy, and most recently he named another of his beautiful roses, Tammy Clemons, after his wife. Don’t you just love that!
Joy, Tammy and many other of David Clemons roses (e.g., Whirlaway) find their way to the awards table at rose shows all over the country regularly and they are major standouts in the garden.
To see other roses by David Clemons … read on here. David’s roses are available for purchase from For Love of Roses @ forloveofroses.com. Take a peak at this site for the very best in mini and mini-flora roses. Richard Anthony, David Clemons and a group of other amazing hybridizers have beautiful roses for sale!
THIS WEEK IN THE GARDEN…
Here are some other things bringing me immense joy in the garden this week! (Click on any of the pictures to activate gallery feature for better viewing.)
I hope today life is bringing you joy in abundance!