|Peace and Mr. Lincoln remain all-time favorites.|
Yesterday I found another triple rose bloom on a Mr. Lincoln plant. When I wedged the thick stem into the bud vase, some space was left for more roses. I added one white John Paul II, one Pink Peace, and one Peace rose. The additional roses are the second level of blooms, so Mrs. Ichabod has six roses in one bud vase, four stems.
Roses have been the most fun plant to watch during this Year of the Rabbit. Since others in the neighborhood grow roses, I can compare results. They have failed to provide a thick mulch layer and to prune aggressively.
Roses only need three kinds of care:
Mulching keeps the soil moisture constant and feeds the soil creatures. They do the tilling and fertilizing while building soil structure.
Pruning keeps a plant from going to seed, so constant cutting of blooms and removal of dead wood will activate the bush more than anything else. Aggressive pruning spurs growth - the plant does not need to be spared to develop. KnockOut roses, for instance, quickly regain their height after being cut back 50%. As the roses reach their height, they garnish each stem with roses.
Watering gives the soil creatures the moisture needed to grow and thrive, and it also feeds the soil microbes which are the interface between soil and plant roots.
Lacking on my list are spraying, rototilling, and chemical fertilizing.
Spraying for insects, mildew, and blackspot will harm the roses far more than help them, so the best gardeners remain organic, tacitly bowing to Creation.
Rototilling is a disaster, borrowed from early colonial plowing, when woodsy soil was opened up to become farmland. That era is over, so sell the tiller and let the creatures large and small handle this work God's way.
Chemical fertilizer is a contradiction, making the soil less fertile in the long run. Most of the inorganic fertilizer sinks down into the water table. There is no stage where a rose needs this. Instead, fertilizer will harm the development of good soil and reduce the abundance of microbes that manage the soil by capturing nutrition and holding it in the root zone. If rototilling is good, carpet bombing the garden should be even better, since more soil is moved at once.
|John Paul II blooms as fast as dandelions.|
|Pink Peace combines vibrant color, fragrance,|
and rapid blooming.