|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.