The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Roses Blooming - The Balance and Harmony of Creation.
The Three Three's

White KnockOut Rose.


Yesterday, three white KnockOut roses were in bloom, looking healthy and strong. Sassy and I walk daily by two yards where roses were growing last year. One was fussed over and saw weeds take over the rose beds, "in spite of landscaper's cloth and weed killers applied." No blooms were visible yesterday.

Another yard has two forlorn KnockOuts, one with bare soil around it, the other with grass surrounding it. Neither plant looked good.

Red KnockOut roses add swaths of color to the yard.


The three rules of roses are:

  1. Jackson Mulch.
  2. Water.
  3. Prune.
Jackson Mulch is simply a layer of newspapers with wood mulch on top. Other organic mulches could be used besides shredded wood, but that is handy, easy to apply, and low in cost.

Watering means making sure the roses are given the moisture they need, before they get thirsty. The old rule is a bucket of water per week, per rose, if it does not rain. Newly planted roses get watered every day for two weeks. All roses love a complete plant shower if it has not rained all week.

I add stored rainwater wherever I can, especially to roses that need a boost. Rainwater is best combination of pure water with usable nitrogen included, better than the vitamin water they sell at stores.

Pruning means cutting off dead wood and cutting the blooms before they fade and go to seed. Giving away roses will mean even more roses blooming. John 15:1-10 has the same advice for grapes and the Kingdom of God. Pruning activates the bush while letting the flowers fade will induce a resting cycle.

California Dreamin'


The three No's! of roses are:
  1. No tilling.
  2. No use of toxins.
  3. No walking on the soil.
No tilling means that the soil is not turned over, mixed, or osterized at any time. A fresh rose garden can easy be created by digging  the right number of holes, planting the roses, and covering the area with Jackson Mulch. That will turn the grass and weeds into composting soil, already loaded with soil creatures and some earthworms. 

No use of toxins means no spraying for insects, not even those "safe" oils, no use of herbicides or fungicides. All three groups of killing chemicals will slaughter the very creatures fashioned by God to take care of the pests. For instance, why do spiders love wood mulch? They set up shop where food is plentiful. Why mow them down with sprays, which will not prevent the next insect invasion?

No walking on the soil means preserving the fungal jungle created by Jackson Mulch. Those fungal strands feed the rose roots, so trampling them is not good for the soil's health. Most will lay down stepping stones to minimize damage.

Veterans Honor


The three soil amendments
  1. Red wiggler earthworms.
  2. Rainwater.
  3. Compost
Red wiggler earthworms should be introduced to a mulched rose garden because they are the best at using that vast banquet of food above the soil - Jackson Mulch. They love the shade, the perpetual sogginess, the infinite supply of food as God's Creation works on the wood, newspapers, dying grass and weeds.  Red wigglers are the most active in the root zone, reaching their maximum density if food and moisture are constant. There is much more to soil health than earthworms, but their population will tell us how the rest of the horde is doing.

Rainwater is collected and stored for later use. I use large plastic garbage pails that catch the runoff from the roof, which is much easier than converting downspouts. Rainwater barrels are perfect for soaking bareroot roses and little plant boxes before they are installed in the ground. Everything purchased looks damp enough, but they are thirsty and get a perfect start from an abundance of God's own liquid fertilizer - safe, effective, and free. Immerse - do not just sprinkle.

Compost is formed by Jackson Mulch but also gathered in the back of the yard. The fall harvest vines can go there, plus weeds, dead plants, autumn leaves, old straw, etc. Soil can be added now and again. I build mine with chicken wire, about 10 feet in diameter and 5 feet high. No turning is required. Keep it moist and the soil creatures will reduce it to the finest soil amendment, loaded with earthworms and earthworm eggs.

John Paul II