Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Rose Garden

This story begins when we bought our farm.  While the majority of the place was a bit dilapidated and run-down, there was one little bright spot-and that was the rose garden.  The previous owner had filled the little plot chock-full with all kinds of beautiful, highly scented roses.  Now, I am not a rose person by any means and I find them kind of fussy, but I did appreciate that beautiful little corner.  Well, several winters later, the roses were sulky and a couple had died.  The cause?  Ash from the wood stove being dumped in the garden (by certain parties who are going to remain nameless *ahem*).
The embarrassingly rackety, early spring condition of the flowerbed, pre-pruning.

See, the problem with ashes is that they're very alkaline on the pH scale.  And roses like very acidic soil.  So the poor dears were in very alkaline soil and they obviously were objecting.
After some tidying up and pruning the roses

While walking past the poor dejected dears a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had a wild hair to fix that sad little garden.  It started with pH tests, phosphorus tests, potash tests, nitrate tests, and about a thousand more.  After realizing that that patch of soil was devoid of absolutely everything except for potash which, surprise, surprise, is derived from wood ashes, I got to work.  I dumped and dumped all kinds of manure-mainly sheep and horse because they're very acidic.  I got Miracid and about 10 other products.  Then, I heavily pruned all the rose bushes that were still alive.  And, ta da!  the bed looks much better.  Now, of course, this is a work in progress and it's going to take awhile to get the soil back to the way it was.  I still have a couple of tricks up my sleeve-dumping cheap, steeped coffee, fish heads for a nutrient blast, chicken manure (which is supposed to be the most acidic).

My last step was to order some new, old fashioned roses for the garden.  I picked four, all highly scented in a variety of colors, plus climbers that I'm going to plant to climb up the side of the little summer kitchen attached to the house.  The plants came yesterday and, oh, it looks so refreshing seeing that little bit of ground coming back.


5 comments:

  1. Oh...how very lovely! Roses are such elegant and dainty flowers...I've always longed to have them growing in my garden. Perhaps one day when we settle down I might be able to have the rose garden of my dreams! Wouldn't that be superb...? Well done - hope your roses reward you with many delightful blooms!
    Blessings and love - may you have a beautiful week!
    Kelly xx

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    1. Thank you, Kelly Anne! I'll be sure to post pictures when the roses are blooming. :)

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  2. Awesome! I have two rose bushes -- one white that's right by the front steps, and was here when we arrived, and one of yellow tea roses that "my children" bought me for Mother's Day last year, which we planted by the garage. I should probably do more for them than just pruning them and adding used coffee grounds once in a while.

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    1. I doubt that you need to do more than that if they look healthy. I mean, I'm sure the hard core gardeners would say differently, but if they look good, I'd say keep doing whatever you're doing!

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    2. Well, the first 2 years we lived here, the white roses bloomed like 4 times a year. Last year, they bloomed twice. So I'm thinking I should check the soil PH and see what they might need.

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