|Mr. Lincoln is the first new rose to bloom.|
Yesterday we enjoyed Team Jackson coming down South to Springdale for a home-grilled meal and dessert. Grandson Alex and I picked edible pod peas instead of making toad homes with clay pots. They went home with a vase of roses for our daughter-in-law.
The sky promised rain and the barometer reading suggested as much, but we did not get more than breezes and total humidity. Mrs. Wright came over to enjoy sitting on the front porch with Mrs. Ichabod to enjoy the rose garden. We now have last year's 8 hybrid tea roses and 8 KnockOut roses in bloom in the Main Rose Garden.
Our helper dropped by to mow the backyard. He said, "Isn't the rose garden great? Greg and I planted that." He loves the brilliant colors and the fragrance - as everyone else does. Whenever we open the front door, rose perfume drifts into the home.
Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Gardener get the roses they enjoy. The landscaper got some in memory of his mother. The mother of four little girls got a vase for Mother's Day, and our helper took home another vase for his wife.
I get newspapers from the neighborhood and use them as the first layer of mulch. Yesterday we used them all up to provide a grass free area. The soaker hose crossed some high grass and was almost shredded, so now it crosses the corn patch into Mrs. Gardener's roses - but over mulch.
Newspapers come from the parents of the four girls, Mrs. Gardener, our helper, and our house. Sometimes I hand roses to a neighbor and say, "Here are your newspapers back. I can always use more."
Everyone is involved in the rose gardens. We never could have won so much sunlight in the yard without our landscaper neighbor, who loved cutting off limbs from five trees. Most people do not understand that, but when the pruning bug hits, no cure is possible. I know enough to avoid chain saws, so I was happy to give him the saw as a gift for cleaning up the entire yard. One neighbor simply walked over and began helping with the mountain of branches.
Pruning is fun because it always perks up plants. I look for the wooden stick look of the dead cane to prune away from roses. I prune the crepe myrtle bush to make it bloom and take on the vase-like shape it has now - instead of growing into the mailbox and smothering it. Here is a fun article on crepe myrtle pruning, because the bush can become a tree.
Wait There's More
Three areas are just starting to bloom now. The front row of the main rose garden features red Veterans Honor Roses alternating with pure white roses - John Paul II.
Mrs. Wright's rose garden has the bargain roses, already blooming. They cost $5 each at the end of the ordering season. I planted them there so she can pick some any time she wants, from the sunny garden. Our shared fence in the back is good for peas, beans, and gourds, as they fruit.
Mrs. Gardener's rose garden was inspired by the wasteland that was our mutual fenceline. Her husband and I often discuss gardening. He kept saying that his wife loved roses but he did not feel he could do well with them. Our fenceline meant trimming on his side and more of the same on ours. Once I mulched our side, I thought, "We could line up roses all the way down and run the soaker hose among them." Mrs. Gardener approved it and her husband is very appreciative. He looked at the newly planted roses and said, "That is going to be beautiful."
They have a line of 16 roses running parallel to the fence, all mulched with cypress.
Their garden has all the Peace roses (Peace, Chicago Peace, Pink Peace), Mr. Lincoln roses, Barbra Streisand, Tropicana, and a few others.
Many Gardens, Two Faucets
My paternal grandfather was a rose gardener and inventor. My maternal grandfather graduated from the U. of Illinois with an agricultural degree, so my wife tells people, "He has it in his blood. He is a farmer." I add, "George Washington said, that of all his titles, farmer was his greatest honor."
I invent ways and borrow ways to make gardening easier. Watering can be a chore - but no more. I have rigged two faucets to water every part of the front and back yards, with a garden hose added for that personal touch. Soaker hoses go left and right at both faucets.
|God Invented Disposable Diapers|
Rain Barrel ICU and Bird Diapers
The giant rain barrels are overflowing with rain again. I have an iced tea (don't tell) container to dip water out and pour on needy plants. I credit rain water with rescuing a number of roses and starting some other plants that arrived rather dry from the gardening companies.
I now use the rainwater soak for all new plants.
Rain has usable nitrogen and no chlorine, so rain is the gentlest fertilizer and a great boost for the soil creatures that server as moving nitrogen containers. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "I was gentle as a nurse among you." I walk around the yard with my pitcher of rainwater and look for struggling plants to soak. I also pour plenty of water on new, dry mulch, to activate the soil creatures below and prevent the dry rice effect - soaking up moisture from the new plant.
When the rainwater runs out, stored city water is next. We had a dry spell, so I filled one barrel with city water and let the chlorine evaporate. I check for little swimmers - baby mosquitoes. They do not have time or opportunity to graduate.
The grackles drop their diapers into one barrel, and the didies float - like little white mushrooms. I dip them out on purpose and pour them onto the new vines.