Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I've got roses on my mind today, so I wrote an article on the Many Types of Roses for the Home Garden. It's an overview rather than an in-depth piece, but this leads nicely into a series I have planned on roses - planting, fertilizing, and most importantly, organic care.
The rose bed in the flower garden here at Seven Oaks is a destination when anyone steps into the garden. Now that the arbor is in place, it draws people to it as I hoped it would. Structures and vertical spaces in the garden tend to do that. The masses of red and pink roses along with the lavender growing along the hedges creates a strong scented area too that perfumes the whole space.
I'll enjoy it for a few weeks more and then the onslaught: Japanese beetle season. This season's great rains have really created an abundance in the gardens that is hard to repeat, but it's also caused the first black spot outbreak too. I was going to use my Neem oil organic spray BUT...you guessed it...more rain predicted for the week!
Enjoy your roses and enjoy my rose gardening article.
Monday, May 2, 2011
|Blaze, climbing rose, on the new arbor|
Hubby constructed the rose arbor that you see from scrap wood and a few leftover fence posts we had behind the garden shed. He used my dad's table saw and sliced two round fence posts in half, using each for the four corners of the trellis. The slats are constructed from pressure-treated 4 x 8 sections of pine that he also cut to size. We used a pickaxe to dig through the hard clay soil, then a post-hole digger to widen the posts. He didn't nail the pieces together first but assembled the structure in place to make it easier to move into position. We assembled it without nails on the floor of the porch to check the evenness of the slats, then marked the spots using a pencil.
|Three views of the new arbor|
I'm delighted with the arbor and it creates the perfect focal point in the garden. You can enter the garden on one of two pathways; a utility pathway at the far end, closest to the garage and where all the gardening tools are stored, or through the metal arbor where morning glories twine and bloom in a few weeks. But the eye is drawn right into the garden to the rose arbor, making it a destination. My little birdbath/butterfly bath, a resin cast with the three graces from Greek mythology around the base, is underneath. On the left if the second of two Blaze climbing roses I have in the garden; on the right, the new pink one without a name that John bought me for my birthday at Lowe's. Clustered around the foot of the arbor on the diagnonal are two red miniature rose bushes we rescued from the discount rack at Lowe's in March - Valentine's Day leftovers, I guess, really ugly things past bloom. They love it in the garden and are thriving and both have little perfect red buds on them today. To the right of the arbor is my birthday present rose from 2008, the salmon pink hybrid tea rose called Sonia, and beyond that, a Bonica floribunda. The Sonia struggles, but Bonica loves it out there.
|The no name pink climbing rose, this year's addition|
The entire rose garden is grown organically. I have to - it sits almost on top of my water well, where water from the house and our drinking water flows deep under the ground. I won't risk pesticides or chemicals there. Japanese beetles are the main problem starting in June. I use a Neem-based spray oil concentrate to fight them and hope for the best each year. The deer haven't troubled them so far (knock wood). I fertilize them using a rich compost we get from the local paper mill, and pine chip mulch applied in a thick layer cuts down the watering. Watering? That's whatever God provides in the form of rain. We do no supplemental watering in this part of the garden unless we're in a deep drought.
I can see the rose arbor from my office windows. As I'm typing this, a flock of goldfinches alighs on the top of the trellis. They seem to enjoy perching there. I hope insect eaters - particularly those with an affinity for Japanese beetles - enjoy the perch. And soon!
Monday, May 10, 2010
When I was little, my mom had two Blaze roses climbing a trellis next to the garage. I loved those roses but they were sacrificed when my dad used the garage wall as the fourth wall of his greenhouse. I have heard the rose hails from the 1930's, but a quick look online didn't turn up anything more than sales pages.
If you look very carefully, you can see more red peeking up from the miniature rose bush at Blaze's feet. I bought these Valentine's Day leftovers at Lowe's. They weren't in flower and were missing tags, but for $2 who's going to argue? They started blooming this weekend - all red. Now I will have a shower of red roses in that corner of the garden!
Monday, April 27, 2009
I was on the hunt for some new roses this weekend, but couldn't find either a Peace, Tropicana, or a nice yellow to add to my little rose garden. I have five roses (if you don't count the rosa rugosa twig that lived - I stuck in the ground on the edge of the woods - it leafed out!). I have two climbing red "Blaze" roses, two gorgeous salmon pink "Sonia" roses (today's picture is my Sonia from last summer), and one tiny pink "Fairy" rose.
Many people warned me not to grow roses in the country. I heard horror stories galore from local gardeners. I'd always wanted to grow roses, so I bought some roses at the local discount store (aptly named Roses - not kidding here) and off I was into rose gardening.
My roses are thriving. The leaves are glossy and green, except for Blaze, which has the ruby bronze leaves I love. They turn green later. I've got buds galore on the Sonia. The Fairy rose has doubled in size.
So what's my secret? Organic rose care.
My roses are planted in the flower garden directly over our water well. Because they're all so close to my drinking water supply, I will not use any chemicals.
So here's how I cope with all that nature throws at my beauties - my organic rose care regimen.
- Rose Defense neem oil spray: I bought this at Lowe's and it is my defense against block spot, Japanese beetles, and all sorts of problems. It is made from neem oil, an oil derived from a tree in India. It is like magic. Although you have to reapply it every time it rains, it is well worth it. It keeps away black spot, mildew and fungus diseases, bacterial diseases, and insects. And it lives up to its promises!
- Japanese beetle traps: I've heard so many people say not to use them, but if I didn't use them my garden would be gone. Some say they attract the beetles. I hang mine on the trellis and change the bags frequently and it does seem to draw the beetles away from the roses.
- Hand picking the beetles off the plants: If you're squeamish about bugs, skip this. I take an old spaghetti sauce jar and fill it halfway with a teaspoon of liquid dish soap and water. I walk among the roses and just flick the beetles into the soap. They can't get out of the jar. I empty the jar in the woods. This wouldn't make enough of a dent in the beetle damage without both the neem oil spray and the traps, but it does help a bit.
- Compost: Lots of compost applied to the soil helps keep my roses well fertilized without chemicals.
- Mulch: I put a very thick layer of mulch around the plants. Not only does it suppress weeds, but it also keeps moisture in the soil. Works like a charm. I use coarse shredded pine bark mulch.
- Companion planting: I use a lot of companion planting for insect control. Some say it's an old wives tale, but since there is no harm in it, and it seems to do something good, I do it. I plant marigolds around my roses and lavender. Lots of heavy scents going on there, but the results are few insect pests other than the omnipresent Japanese beetle.