In the movie Singing in the Rain… they looked so happy dancing and singing in the rain! As happy as those scenes looked, I will confess I am not all that happy with all the rain we are getting and getting rained on again and again. While gardening in the rain poses some challenges, the horrible weather that some of my gardening friends around the country are having is much worse with tornadoes and even snow storms.
When I heard the rain was coming again this morning I went out to take some pictures (and got soaked yet again) and was struck by how good the garden smelled. I do love the smell of rain! Did you know that the smell of rain has a name — Petrichor. I read a Reader’s Digest fact that tells us the “why” surrounding the smell of rain.”Water doesn’t smell like anything, so why does rain produce a pleasant aroma after it falls? Well, it’s because of a molecule, called geosmin, created by soil-dwelling bacteria. When rain falls, it creates air pockets, which contain small amounts of geosmin. The rain traps and then releases these air pockets, dispersing geosmin into the air, where it’s free to travel to human sniffers.”
As much as I want to be working in the garden and can’t… I am learning how little my plants need me. Many are thriving from all the bounty from above. And, we are quickly moving to the jungle stage as the roses and peonies begin to open.
So here is BLOOM THYME for this week…
Rugosas and Peonies… oh the fragrance in this spot!!!
I forgot I had this beauty! Fun surprise as I absolutely love it!
Therese Bugnet has been amazing. If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably tired of seeing her picture! 🙂
I live in midwest farm country and would ask that you say a prayer for our farming families. They have not been able to get in the fields to do their spring work. Since it is now so late, they run the risk of having no crop this season. The forecast for the next week is for rain each day.
Friends, stay safe and dry and enjoy all the beauty around you . . . AND carry an umbrella! ☔️😉
Wednesday was that rare spring day in December and I was home all afternoon!! I could not wait to grab my sassy Bog rose boots and get busy. My boots were all clean and ready for service! (They are not clean now.)
There was so much to do as this fall was extremely busy for us and I was not able to put the garden to bed as I usually do. But, I had this glorious day! I suppose the tasks at hand would be daunting to some, but I just couldn’t wait. Just being outside in the garden sent my happiness meter over the top. I could have conquered the world! Sort of. 🙂
There were roses to trim.
I only had time for a few. Giving them the tender care of cleaning up the world around them, trimming the long floppy canes and mounding up some extra soil and leaves around them was a labor of love.
Sticks to pick up (We have loads and loads of sticks!)
Leaves to rake and stack around some tender roses. More long canes to secure.
This is one of my most favorites, Peggy Martin. The rose and her namesake bring me much happiness too. Look at all this growth – she is still going strong, but I know that when the real winter gets here, she’s a bit tender and needs some help. Last year I did not get to see very many of her gorgeous blooms as there was so much winter dieback due to the late cold spells we had. But when she shines, she shines. Remember this image from two years ago…
I saw a post on Facebook that Chamblee Roses has a new crop of Peggy Martin Roses. If you want one, go to Chamblee’s website here. Better hurry, they go fast!
What, other than your family, sends your happiness meter over the top! Do that soon!
And, by the way, did you realize it is only 82 days until spring? I have a stack of garden catalogs just waiting!! There goes my happiness meter again.
Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful Bloom Thyme Friday!
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….
The garden chores this week have been to continue PRUNING and to start FERTILIZING the roses, to continue to pick up leaves and debris and tour the garden centers looking for treasures to add to the garden! These tasks are made all the more fun when I’m surrounded by so many pretty early spring bloomers…
I bought two of the award winning (and fragrant) Dee-Lish roses from Star Roses and Plants at Dammann’s Garden Center a couple of weeks ago and they started blooming in the potting shed while I was away. Remember when I left for Cali it was SUPER cold. Today it is 74 and sunny!
Sargent Crabapple Trees
…a feast for the pollinators!
Creeping Phlox and purple mini iris.
UPDATE ON CONTAINER ROSES
Last year I grew more roses in containers than ever before. They overwintered in the dark, only lightly warmed garage. They have been out of the garage for almost a month now and they are looking great! They were fertilized yesterday and I expect I will see great things soon. They are still located near the door of the garage — just in case we get bad weather. Our last frost date doesn’t come until May 10 so I am going to keep them close by for a couple more weeks. When we get past the frost date, they will go back to the deck and spend their summer wowing us!
Rose Bed in Front of Potting Shed
… they’re coming back!
Well, break time is over… Mr. G is power washing the front porch. I better go check on him and see if he needs a drink!
With spring coming so early, this week in the garden has seen some ups and downs … especially where weather is concerned. Highs in the 60s and lows in the 20s. BUT, my time in the garden is just like always — PURE PLEASURE. If it’s cold, I just put on more clothes. LOL
My Chanticleer Pear is blooming beautifully. The daffodils are putting on quite a show and most of the roses have been given their spring hair cut.
The garden centers continue to get in more and more beautiful plants. I am on the lookout for some new companions for the roses so I’m going quite often. 😉 You already knew that, right!?
HERE THEY COME!
My bare root roses arrived from David Austin. It just so happened that my roses were delivered on the same day as a great rose friend’s roses were delivered and we chatted back and forth all day about our excitement. So nice to share the fun!
The roses were promptly opened, unwrapped and given their Moo Poo Tea 24-hour soak. On a beautiful afternoon they were planted just in time for rain (and the hail) to fall on them. Not a bad start. Hail I could live with out but… not so out of the ordinary with an early spring.
Even the David Austin boxes are beautiful.
New roses I’ve planted so far…
Olivia Rose Austin (David Austin)
Michael Marriott said that this rose might actually be the most outstanding of all the David Austin roses. Now, that is saying a lot. I now have two of these lovelies and will be reporting back! I am almost giddy about this rose. These roses were a lovely Christmas gift from the kids in Cali and that makes them all the more special to me.
Gertrude Jekyll (David Austin)
I have rarely been without a Gertrude Jekyll in my garden but my last one became a weak bloomer after about 12 years and I decided to take it out and start again. The bare root plant that David Austin sent is one of the most healthy plants I have ever seen! This rose is going to be one for the record book I am just sure. If you are concerned about planting a bareroot rose, my good friend the Redneck Rosarian just did a video about that … watch here.
Contrary to popular belief, roses are simple creatures with basic needs like…
SUN: You’ve heard it said over and over …. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Pick a spot with 6 – 8 hours of sun!
WATER: All living things need water. The best tip for watering I can give you is—water deeply. Shallow watering leads to shallow roots—which leads to plants that are more susceptible to dry conditions. Send those roots down deep!
NUTRITIOUS SOIL: This is the most important part! Good soil is the best gift you can give your plants. Roses don’t like like “wet feet,” (Neither do most other plants!), so drainage is key. For those of you in my region (midwest Zone 5) you are probably dealing with clay soil. Amend clay soils with compost and aged manure.
DEADHEADING: To keep your roses blooming throughout the season, remove spent blooms.
FERTILIZER: We ask a lot of roses … Be your best self and bloom all season long, so they appreciate a boost! For shrub roses the best time to fertilize is the spring. For hybrid teas and floribundas, they will appreciate some fertilizer in early spring and mid summer.
MULCH: 2-3″ of mulch helps retain moisture and provides a weed barrier. It is one of my fav parts in the process as it adds the finishing touch in the garden!
GOOD COMPANIONS: We all benefit from good companions. They truly help us be our best self and in the case of roses, many of those companions play host to the good bugs they need to fight the bad bugs lurking about!
YOU! Like in all good relationships, there is no substitute for time together. They like to show off for you and the more you visit the more you will recognize what is working and what is not! Maybe this is the year to take a selfie of you and your roses and post it on social media. That will surely prove how much you love them. 🙂