The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Monday, June 29, 2015

New Roses Get Special Treatment

The garlic family includes garlic, garlic chives, chives, onions,
alium, giant alium, and wild onion.

The newest roses, planted in early June, are started to bud and bloom. Gurney's second sale of the year had the same promise - a variety with no promises about which ones would be in the mix. Given the 80% discount, I accepted the condition.

Almost half my roses are bargain roses, costing $5 - $8 each. Most Jackson and Perkins roses are $26 each. Some less glamorous companies sell for about $20. The bargain roses have included yellow, orange, red, pink, bi-color, and fragrant varieties.

Soaking the entire bush for several hours, before planting, is a great idea.

Planting involves pruning the roots and canes to bring them out of dormancy and having red wiggler earthworms in the soil. Roses can be planted in mulched soil, or the lawn can be mulched with newspaper and wood mulch after planting.

Red KnockOut roses are disease free, easy to grow, and productive.
They need pruning or they look like weeds.


After Planting
I have found that pruning each cane speeds up the leafing out process. When leafing is slow, I keep pruning the canes a little each day, but I also give them stored water - or even better - rainwater.

Those who want to protect their roses should sell their rototillers, dump their toxins, and plant garlic around the bushes. Garlic chives are even better, because they spread on their own through the rose bed. Insects do not like the garlic aroma, and rosarians believe garlic makes the roses healthier and more aromatic.

Young roses should be cane-watered every day for several weeks. Watch for droopy signs in the leaves after a long, hot sunny day. Early morning watering is better because roses that go to bed damp are more likely to mildew and attract slugs.

Some canes give up early and become dead wood. The sooner deadwood is removed, the better.

New roses are not going to bloom profusely at first, because the root system feeds the plant water and nutrition. Exponential growth in the roots will happen in time, affecting the strength and production of the roses.

When a new rose blooms, cutting off the rose and carrying it inside in triumph is a great idea. Or, hand one to a passerby. Pruning generates cane, flower, and root growth.

Those who plant KnockOut roses will see the bush produce a lot of buds early, then a lot of blooms. Take a deep breath and cut off all the blooms that start to age, after cutting several sprays to share and enjoy indoors.

No matter how diligent the pruning, some blooms will be hidden away, with three petals left, or even bereft of petals. Cut those off. Old blooms make the plant go to seed and go to sleep.

The rules for pruning are simple:

  • The cut can be any place on the cane - that makes no difference.
  • When in doubt, cut it out. Pruning causes fruitfulness.
  • If three buds are growing and one is in full bloom, starting to fade, cut that one off. 
  • Always prune dead and diseased canes.
  • A fast-growing KnockOut can be cut in half and it will grow back even more productive. My mature KnockOut roses have been reduced 50% twice and stand almost six feet tall.
  • Prune for shape and to build up remaining buds.
Watering
If I am doing routine watering, I water at the base with the soaker hose. However, I spray down all the plants all the plants every so often, sometimes when using the soaker hose. Each faucet has two soaker hoses and one ordinary hose. I use switches to vary the benefits.

The rule of thumb for water is one bucket of water per rose per week.

Reasons not to freak out - stay calm and blame Ichabod:
  1. Aphids happen. Many beneficial insects devour them. 
  2. Roses tend to mildew, depending on the kind growing. Big deal.
  3. Black spot is the price we pay for rose colors. Remove and toss the damaged leaves and canes.

Mulch
Weeds can break through mulch and grow on top of mulch. I leave dandelions alone because they are mining calcium from below, sheltering earthworms, and providing materials for birds. 

If grassy weeds are breaking through, I add another layer of newspapers and mulch - after trimming the long grassy weeds. Our helper came to plant garlic but said, "First I am trimming those weeds. The rose garden looks like a bad haircut." We paid attention to maple trees, another airborne tree infestation, and long, invasive grassy weeds. We threw away the grassy weeds, Most weeds can be added to the mulch.

Tiny but mighty - the flower fly.
Bee-like in looks, they be like - "Aphids will feed my babies."


Nurture the Beneficial Creatures
God created creatures to eat and be eaten. Whether we believe in Creation or not, every living thing "obeys the laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Except man.

The more we shelter and nurture the beneficial creatures, the less we have to worry about damage to our flowers and crops.

Here is a short list, which can be implemented a little at a time:
  • Welcome the birds with abundant shallow dishes for drinking and bathing. Food is secondary to water, but food will establish habits for stopping for a snack, staying for a meal. I always provide low perches to let them hunt for food. Suet is abundant for the bug-eating birds.
  • Think of the toads. They like logs, broken flower pots, and shallow water dishes for hydrating themselves. It's a numbers game - 10,000 bugs per toad per summer.
  • Plants with tiny flowers will feed and shelter beneficial insects - coreopsis, sunflowers, dill, Queen Ann's Lace, buckwheat, allysum, lace flower, pigweed, goosefoot, and ragweed. Many delicate flowers can be planted or sown for their beauty and usefulness.
  • Mulch is good for birds, spiders, earthworms, and all soil creatures.


Veterans Honor rose - a deep and bright red,
like a velvet pillow in the midst of the garden.
Long-lasting and fragrant blooms.