People laughed when I mentioned my membership in the American Rose Society. I said, "I really am a member." Last night I began planning the 2015 rose gardens - note the plural. Mrs. Ichabod approved the Peace trifecta - the original Peace Rose, the Chicago Peace version found growing there, and Pink Peace.
I ordered the Peace roses from http://www.regannursery.com/
I ordered Double Delight from Jackson and Perkins - no relation - sigh.
|Double Delight - colorful and fragrant.|
Order early or forget it.
Gardening is a lot easier when preceded by a lot of reading. Yesterday, I spoke to my military veteran neighbor - Vet for short. He revamped his entire yard before I got started, but his roses were engulfed in weeds after he believed the line about "weed barrier" under his mulch. I explained Jackson Mulch, which is simply a layer of newspapers covered by wood mulch. "No weeding and no spraying."
Vet said, "I remember you had some fine roses." I added, "Only the best in the region - no spraying and hardly a weed pulled. Add some red wiggler earthworms." He thought of red wigglers as great fishing worms. I am sure red wigglers are ideal for fishing, but they are even more important for gardening.
All summer, everyone was giving me newspapers, including Vet. I was cutting roses and they were cursing weeds. Soon I will talk to Mr. Gardener about his rototiller dependency, the need for rotting mulch rather than whirling blades.
I ordered the basic seeds I needed. I was disappointed with the Harris Seeds website, so much that I gave up on them and went to Burpee. Last summer I was stuck with what was left, which is not fun. I had expensive little sunflowers, etc. Yesterday, Burpee had:
- The largest sunflowers.
- Silver Queen corn.
- Jack-o-lantern pumpkins.
- Bee balm - a great hummingbird plant. Butterfly weed - for Monarchs.
- Ever-bearing raspberries.
Some plants and seeds will be bought locally. The vegetable gardens will include:
- Spinach and garlic, already planted for spring.
- Potatoes and strawberries - in and on straw bales.
- Lots of tomatoes, various kinds.
- Three sisters - corn, beans, and pumpkins in the same plot.
- Edible pod peas.
- Borage, dill, and bee plants.
Last summer I spent time on mulching the areas to be planted. Bargain roses ($8 a plant!) began the process. We planted first, and mulched around them. Our helper was great in expanding the areas for the future, so eventually we had these areas mulched in advance for 2015:
- Maple tree rose garden (Mister Lincolns and JPIIs, red and white)
- Three sisters garden.
- Vegetable garden.
- Fence perimeter garden. Asparagus and gourds. Peas.
- Back area - for screening out the alley - butterflies, bees, and hummingbird garden.
I vowed to stop buying mulch, after a stint at Betty Ford, and began using autumn leaves - Creation methadone for mulch addicts. Rain-soaked newspapers and soggy leaves are an easy way to mulch, even in stiff breezes. My latest leaf/newspaper conquests are the dead tree and a nearby small tree, both to be used as props for Trumpet Vines. I will have three orange TVs running up one tree and three yellow ones on the other. Those will serve as our primary hummingbird feeders.
This is how the latest tree got mulched. Our neighbor with four daughters sent a Christmas card over with a bag of newspapers. Drizzle was falling and more was on the way. I spread the newspapers around the base of the small tree, then raked soggy leaves on top, to hold them in place and provide another organic ingredient for the soil.
I told Mrs. Ichabod that I went over and thanked that neighbor, telling her I already used the bag of newspapers. "You told her you mulched their card?" I said, "No, the bag of papers. I thanked her for the card." We don't mulch Christmas cards.
When I take out a few banana peels, coffee grounds, and tea bags to the compost, it seems like so little. Why bother? The Creation gardener does not stop to measure the individual effort but adds up the long-term benefits. As our helper said about a backyard full of leaves, "Look at all that beautiful mulch!" The organic materials are food for the soil, and soil teeming with life feeds the flowers, vegetables, fruits, bushes, and trees.
When a husband and wife raise their children, each day's activities are minor, trivial, routine. But over time, when the Gospel prevails and the Word of God is taught, the benefits accrue. Just as a healthy plant must bear fruit, so will a child, as John 15:1-10 teaches. Abiding in Him necessarily means bearing the fruits of the Spirit.