Beautiful Roses In Virgin Soil

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I think this is the busiest summer I have ever had in my forty years in the rose garden! After having dealt with a double-whammy move: all our earthly goods AND our roses, spring was very late to arrive. I think it showed up around the middle of May to stay. After a couple of 90 degree days, the soil finally started to warm up!

Many square feet of virgin gardens…

When our friends from the school came to carve up the new gardens, they exposed five million years of weed seed that had been patiently waiting to sprout all at once when the soil hit 55 degrees!!! This happened at the same time my roses were waking up and needed pruning. Here’s a dilemma…which to do first? I opted for chopping weeds with my sharp hoe. As the weather was hot and they wilted as soon as I hit them, I decided to leave them on the garden to return their nitrogen into the soil. Then, I would prune for a few hours. The next day, more weeds popped up! And, the whole process began again.

Purslane, anyone?

Did you ever spot purslane in your garden? I have never had it in any of my gardens before now. It looks like prostrate tiny rubber trees. I’ve heard that it has a peppery flavor and some folks put it in salads. Left unchecked for a couple of days and this weed really takes over! There are some big slate squares under the rose arbor and in a few days, they sprouted in the cracks and were well on their way to covering the rock! Other favorites in the fast-growing weed category are chickweed, mouse-eared chick weed, ground ivy (UGH!), crab grass, and another fave, nut sedge. I have very nice, heavy farm soil in my new gardens and I think the nut sedge grows 3” a day! It’s important to grab the sedge near the base of the plant and pull slowly and steadily so you can get all the little tubers at the ends of the roots. Otherwise…

They’ll be back!

Unless you get every little piece!! So, I added another regimen to my weeding and pruning: laying down mulch. The roses, having been transplanted, were still short when we started mulching. Bob helped with this, too, as the little weed-buggers seemed to be endlessly sprouting. We got down a few inches of double-ground pine bark and went through six yards of mulch in a big hurry. We now live very close to the Massachusetts border and found a wholesale mulch place that would deliver for a reasonable price, which saved us a lot of time. Within a couple of weeks, we ordered five more yards and finally!!!!! The weeds in the rose gardens have slowed down. (There are pre-existing perennial beds here…they haven’t been weeded yet.)

Beautiful roses…

After all this, I have just finished dead-heading our first flush and many of my roses have started to bloom again. After all the worry of moving my lovelies, I’m thankful now that spring did arrive so late here in Northern Connecticut. At our home in Windsor, the south side was in dense shade all summer because of deciduous trees and tall white pines. The gardens on the east side got about six hours of sunshine and about the same on the west side gardens. When we transplanted, the soil was in the forties so there were no white feeder roots yet. They went from cold soil to cold soil. When they finally woke up and stretched out, they decided they loved their new location! They are in full sun most of the day with southeast, due south, and west exposures. The colors are much more intense and they are growing well…and, even with all the extra work this year with all this virgin garden soil, I thank Heaven every day that all my beauties are here with us in this beautiful place we call home.

Meet Marci Martin

Marci Martin fell in love with roses when she was a little girl, and the love affair goes on. She has been growing roses for…

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