It’s October 1 and I’m Thinking About Spring

Yes, it’s October 1 and all I can do is think about spring. 🌷🌸🌹

So, I am going to take advantage of the fact that it is Thursday and do a #TBT post about spring and blooms and such. It will make me feel better about the coming roseless seasons.

My spring was ushered in with a trip to the Garden 2 Blog event and P. Allen’s Smith amazing rose garden and so many wonderful rose friends. Ahhhh….

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And learning from the man himself…

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Then there was the Biltmore International Rose Trials and more beautiful roses and wonderful rose friends!

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Me and Mr. G surrounded by New Dawn and her beauty and fragrance!

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Me and Chris VanCleave all dressed up for our official Rose Chat picture.


Remember the rugosas?

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What about Open Garden Day for my Master Gardener friends and neighbors? That was so fun!

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Well, this is a stretch since it wasn’t spring, but how can I leave out Mr. H and his momma coming and our special flower crown day in the garden.

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This picture just steals my heart!


Okay, I have had my “moment” and gotten that out of my system, now let’s go to the orchard and get a caramel apple! 🍎

HAPPY FALL!

🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁


 

Next post will be about fall rose care … I promise!

😉

Rose Buzz: Fireworks

Rose Buzz_7_whiteI am going to be doing some traveling in May so I have been taking advantage of every moment of good weather to get the roses on their way to a spectacular growing season.

The existing roses have been trimmed, fertilized and prayed over! 🙂 The new bareroot roses have been soaked in moo poo tea and planted.

Of the new ones, there are 4 beautiful new roses from Star Roses and Plants that I am trying this year. I am very excited about these beauties and can’t wait to share them with you…

 

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A good moo poo start...
A good moo poo start…

Many of the Hybrid Teas and Floribundas had to be cut back to the ground 4 weeks ago but they are coming back strong!

Gertrude Jekyll was cut back to about 3” from the ground and baby look at her now. She is ready to grow. And, if you know anything about this rose you know that when she’s happy you are happy. She is gorgeous! Classic old rose form and very likely the most fragrant of all the David Austins.

Gertrude Jekyll getting ready...
Gertrude Jekyll getting ready…

Here’s one that surprised me today…. The Queen of Bourbon rose appears to have a bud! This is the first “bud” in the garden so far. Exciting! Read more about her here.

Look closely. Yep, it’s a bud…

First bud on the Queen of Bourbon...
First bud on the Queen of Bourbon…

The frost came this week and those that were a bit taller like The Generous Gardener … had a bit of burn. I’ll just trim and she’ll be fine.

Late season frosts are not our friends...
Late season frosts are not our friends…

Next week the temps are going to soar into the mid 70s, so we could have an early bloom cycle!

ROSE FIREWORKS

Since I am that person who counts down the days until spring—starting the day after Christmas, I am looking for ROSE FIREWORKS when spring finally comes. My old garden roses and the rugosas are happy to oblige. They are very predictable “spring fireworks.”

Look at these Rugosas! Hardly a bit of winter die back. Lush, green and on their way.

Rugosa starting out strong...
Rugosas starting out strong…

Here’s a peek over the garden fence…

Yes, the garden is waking up and we expect FIREWORKS soon!
Yes, the garden is waking up and we expect FIREWORKS soon!

What’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Any FIREWORKS to report? 🐝

Bloom Thyme: It’s Coming Back!

You’ve been with me as we counted down the days until spring. It is here and just when I thought that winter had taken away all the pretty things forever, they started coming back. This week was a week of big change in the garden … from dark and dreary to beautiful rebirth! Take a look…

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Lovely little violets from Uncle Tony’s garden…
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Test roses from Star Roses and Plants… so excited! I’ll keep you posted!
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Star roses getting a dunk in Moo Poo tea before planting. 24 hours in moo poo tea will work wonders!
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Cistina Plum… lovely!
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Rugosas are getting ready for their fireworks!! Only a few more weeks!
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Rhododendrons always make me think of trips to Roan Mountain!
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Daffodils are bringing the sunshine in!
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The first and very fragrant lilac! Many more to come!
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Sand Cherry. LOVE IT!

 

Wishing you a lovely week and a…

Sweet Peas_Bloom Thyme Friday

Overwintering Plants

When winter approaches I typically bring potted plants I want to save into the Potting Shed where there is controlled warmth and light (geraniums, mint, lavender, etc.), except for my large potted roses, they are taken to the garage (no windows). The roses go dormant and “spring” back to life in the spring. Because of “over crowding” in the Potting Shed, I took this pot of herbs to the garage too.

Last week I brought the pots out of the garage and couldn’t believe how well these herbs sprang back to life. They never lost their “green” completely and now they look almost robust! Today they are outside getting some sunshine and intermittent light rain. Let the thriving begin!

The roses left in the garage are doing quite well too.

I typically cut any spindly growth completely back and let the roses start fresh. But this one is recovering so fast that I may do minimal pruning and she how she does. Meet the “winter in the garage, in the dark version of the Coretta Scott King” rose. Anemic though she may be, I think we are going to start from here and see what she does.

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Coretta Scott King in the garden last summer…

Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King

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Happy Spring!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Sweet Peas

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Just the sweetest!

Around here the spring garden season kicks off with the planting of the sweet peas on St. Patrick’s Day! I know it sounds early but it works every time.

Sweet Peas are well named as they are one of the sweetest little flowers in the garden and I love to tuck them into bokays! They are a wonderful rose companion!

The Victorians, who also went crazy over bokays, used them too. With Tussie Mussies in hand, the Victorians used the subtle messages of flowers and herbs to convey not-so-subtle meanings. Sweet peas were used to convey departure, delicate pleasure and many thanks.

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As I write this I have in mind the many such “subtle” moments in the movie, The Age of Innocence, one of my favorite movies. If you’ve seen it, you know just what I mean… the costumes … the society … the flowers.

MANY THANKS TO HENRY!

The Victorians and I have Henry Eckford to thank for the lovely sweet peas we know today. He is credited with developing over 100 varieties of this dainty beauty.

PLANTING SWEET PEAS

Before I plant my sweet peas I soak them over night to soften the hard shell.

Like all plants, sweet peas prefer well-drained, fertile soil. I plant them about 1” deep and about 2” apart. Water them in and provide a trellis and you are done! They will do the rest!

We have the sweet peas trailing on some wire fencing that we added over the picket fence…

Climbing up...
Climbing up…
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Eckfords Finest!

Note the name on the plant tag… Eckfords Finest. Burpee has put together some of his “finest” varieties and you can find them on their website here.

VARIETIES I’M PLANTING

This year I have found several varieties at various garden centers as well as big box stores…
  • High Scent: Couldn’t pass this one up! Package says it is the most fragrant of all the sweet peas!
  • Mammoth Mix: These bloom early. Bonus!
  • Galaxy Mix: Large flowers!
  • Eckfords Finest: Just have to have this one!

ONE MORE THING ABOUT SWEET PEAS!

As sweet as the sweet pea is to look at and many of them have the sweetest fragrance … DO NOT EAT THEM.

TIME TO GET THE GARDEN PARTY STARTED!

Spring is truly just around the corner. Are you ready? What is your first task in the garden?

Sweet Peas_Bloom Thyme Friday

The Lion…

March is coming in like a lion! But, it is beautifully peaceful in the garden and the birds are loving it. So, I guess if you can’t beat them, you join them! Today I will enjoy the snow we have and the snow we continue to get for the rest of the day. Mr. G says it is a church, soup, movie and brownie day – in that order.

Hearing the happy birds chirping…

Yesterday I saw pictures of my friends in the south pruning their roses. No roses are being pruned here!

How are things in your neck of the woods today?

Bloom Thyme Friday: Now you see it. Now you don’t!

If you have been following my blog for a while you know that I have posted my fair share of pictures of my New Dawn Roses. They were spectacular last year (summer 2013).

New Dawn over the Potting Shed
New Dawn over the Potting Shed

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But you will not be seeing pictures like these for quite a while — maybe years, as the Polar Vortex and New Dawn did not agree on conditions fit for roses this winter. I have grown New Dawn for more than 15 years and have never had to do a hard pruning. But, this year I pruned all the way to the ground. Yes, to the ground.

Take a look.

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A clean canvas ready for new possibilities…
Don't mess with a girl with a sharp pair of Barnels in her hand!
Don’t mess with a girl with a sharp pair of Barnels in her hand! The bionic gloves and long reach Corona loppers sure came in handy too!

 

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Job done. Where’s my Coke?

Vita Sackville West once said, “I am not an armchair gardener. For the last forty years of my life I have broken my back, my fingernails and sometimes my heart in the practical pursuit of my favourite occupation.”

I think Vita could identify with the day I’ve had. 

It had been my experience that gardens are ever-changing and I am glad for that. If things were always the same, I most likely would get bored. So, this year we will focus on other plants. There are 3 clematis that also grow in this area and I am asking that they step it up this year! They need to be more than fabulous! I think they are up to the task. Henri I, Etoile des Violette and another one (whose name I can’t remember at the moment) … you are on!

I’ll keep you posted.

MORE  ABOUT SPRING…

How are things going in your garden this week? Anything that didn’t make it through the winter? Are you moving ahead with Plan A or are you like me looking for the positive side of Plan B?

Other than the New Dawn roses, things are shaping up nicely this week. The roses that had to be pruned WAY back are recovering nicely and doing very well!I am seeing some strong growth and am hopeful for June blooms!

Here are some of the bloomers in my garden this week…

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Daffodils we planted for Uncle Tony...
Daffodils we planted for Uncle Tony…

Bloom Thyme Friday

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Spring Assessment…

The Polar Vortex has come and gone, although I did see that there is a bit of snow in the forecast for next week. So, those of us who thought the weather might be stuck in winter mode can now relax and begin to enjoy spring and breathe!

This morning I was out early assessing the damage and trimming back some very black rose canes.

Here’s what I can tell you so far:

THE ROSES….

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Roseraie de la Hay

The old roses wintered the horrible weather just fine. I’m not sure they even knew we had a Polar Vortex. There are bud eyes (Bud eyes are swellings on the cane where the growth will start.) right to the very tips. Roseraie de la Hay, Harison’s Yellow, Rosa Mundi, Celsiana, Hansa, Madam Hardy and the others look amazing! No die back at all.

Peach Drift
Peach Drift

Drift Roses have had a little die back, as they normally do.

Knockouts will need to be cut back severely, but I always do that anyway!

Hybrid Teas and Floribundas will be cut back to around 4”. That is a few inches lower than I normally would prune them. Most years I prune them down to 12”.

David Austin roses did very well and just have normal die back.

The new roses on the amazing trellis Mr. G built, Francis E Lester and Peggy Martin, have had quite a bit of die back but they are out in the open and susceptible to wind, so it is not surprising.

Dr. Buck’s Quietness rose has no die back at all.

Carefree Wonder
Carefree Wonder

The Meilland shrub rose Carefree Wonder was another rose with very little die back.

I’m still not sure about my New Dawn and Zepherine Drouhin climbers but the Golden Gate climbers will be cut back to about 12”.

Fall plantings…

I completely covered the roses that I planted or transplanted last fall in mulch, and to my surprise when I pulled back the mulch to check on what was going on under the mulch, the roses were green to the point of leafing out. 🙂

THE COMPANIONS…

Daylilies, yarrow, daffodils and iris are all up and doing fine.

Perennial herbs are right on schedule.

Annabelle and Pinky Winky hydrangeas look amazing.

For lavender and many other companions, it’s too early to tell.

Bloomerang lilacs  look ready to rock and roll.

Dogwood trees, minus a few limbs that we lost in the heaviest of the snows, are loaded with buds.

To say I am pleased is a huge understatement. There were many bitterly cold, windy days that I feared the worst for the garden. So grateful for the blanket of snow!

And, if Rose Midge was eliminated in all that cold and ice… well, that will be something to celebrate too.

As more cold weather is coming this week, I’ll keep you posted. Fingers crossed that the temps don’t dip toooo low. But, I think I can safely say that the Polar Vortex was kinder to my garden that I ever dreamed!

My garden last spring…

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I hope spring is shaping up nicely in your neck of the woods and you are able to enjoy God’s handiwork! Is there anything more wonderful for a gardener to experience than the rebirth of spring!

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Daylight Saving Time, The Polar Vortex and Spring Chores

Okay if you are the geeky, grammar type like me and thought there was a typo in my title because I left out the S at the end of Saving, I have to tell you it really is officially Daylight Saving Time. I know. I know. It just sounds wrong. But, in my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with DST. I just love it. It allows me a whole extra hour of daylight to work in the garden after work, so I’m all in for DST.

THE POLAR VORTEX

The Polar Vortex has left us winter weary around here. We have had a record-setting 50-something inches of snow. And, even though it is still lingering, it is soon to be history! Warmer temps are coming and I am in full spring-fever mode.

First up this spring will be to assess the damage left by our winter companion, Mr. Polar Vortex. My quick tour of the garden last week encouraged me as I saw a great deal of green at the base of the roses I could see. (Some were still snow covered.) So, I think they are going to have a slow but sure start. Roses are not the “Prima Donnas” some think them to be.

Next on my list will be to use a weak mixture of lime-sulfur on the roses that were showing fungal disease last fall. This is something you do only when the roses are dormant. (You can read more about using lime sulfur from Paul Zimmerman on the Fine Gardening blog here.)

SPRING CHORES

I am often asked what I do in the spring to “all those roses.” So here are some tips that I follow for getting my roses off to a good start.

1. PLANT
ING

For early April planting, I buy bare root roses from online vendors. (Click here for a list of rose companies.) When they arrive they are “bare roots” wrapped in wet newspaper and plastic. Very humble beginnings for a plant that will be so lovely later!

Bare roots soaking in Moo Poo Tea...
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. Click here for a great video on planting bare root roses by Guinivere of Roses of Yesterday and Today.

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Planting decisions are dependent on the type of rose…

Grafted Roses: Most hybrid teas, floribunda and grandifloras are grafted roses.

This means that a rose is created by being grafted onto strong, hardy root stock, 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.

Own Root Roses: Roses that have not been grafted but were started from cuttings, so there is no bud union to protect. In the past I have always planted them as I would any other shrub (to the same depth as they are in the pot they were growing in), however, after such a harsh winter, I now plan to plant even the own root roses about 2″ below the soil line for some extra protection.

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. 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 start.

2. PRUNING

It is  difficult to know when winter is really over and it is time to prune, so I let the forsythia tell me. When the forsythia is blooming, I start pruning. All you need are protective gloves and a sharp pair of pruners. I must have been very good because Santa brought me a pair of Bionic Gloves and Barnel Pruners from Wendy Tilley, owner of The Rose Gardener Garden Shop and Harlane Garden Labels. Maybe Santa listened to our Rose Chat Podcast with Wendy. You can listen to Wendy too. Just click here.

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Gene Boerner Floribunda

Pruning tips for different types of roses…

Hybrid Teas: For hybrid teas, I shape, cut out any dead wood and remove the canes that cross the middle to create more air circulation in the center of the plant which can help control fungal disease. These roses I will cut back to about 10 – 12″ high to give them a strong start. If you are going to exhibit roses in a rose show, there are some other tips you will need and the American Rose Society website is filled to the brim with excellent information.

Old Garden Roses: To me bigger is better as far as old garden roses are concerned so I do very little pruning. For one-time blooming roses, do not prune until after they bloom! And, when you prune, just thin out old wood, remove any dead wood and spindly canes.

David Austin English Roses: Very little pruning is required as they don’t appreciate a lot of cutting, just remove dead wood and give them a light shaping. Except in the case of some of the ones that tend to get very tall, like Graham Thomas, I prune those down farther to keep them within bounds.

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Sunny Knock Out Rose

Shrub/Landscape Roses: These are so easy… Just shape to fit your space. I have several Knockout and Drift roses and I usually trim them back about 1/2 their size in the spring, but it is not required. I often give them another hard pruning in mid summer to refresh them into another spring-like bloom cycle in early fall.

3. FERTILIZE

After I prune my roses I apply 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 and Mills Magic Mix on my roses.

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 any aphids 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.

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My garden…

MY FAVORITE TIP…

My favorite tip is always 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!