The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Getting Rose Fever as Spring Approaches.
Three Authors Featured Are My Facebook Friends

Veteran's Honor, above, and Mr. Lincoln
are two great, fragrant roses.

One reader asked about growing roses and what kind of food was good for them.

In general, roses love eastern sunlight, especially if the afternoons get too roasty in your part of the country. Roses on the south side will get the most sun and heat, which can be too much. But that depends on the setting, trees, and so forth.

Roses are very tolerant of cold, so bare root roses ordered on the Net will arrive in cold weather and thrive. They love rain and flourish in the cold, rain-soaked early spring that many flowers abhor. My roses stayed green into January, when many other plants were bare of leaves and taking a long nap.

Shrub roses grow very well - KnockOuts.

They were converted to organic gardening.
This book is essential for understanding the soil.


Food for Roses
The chemicals they sell as fertilizer for roses - or any other plant - are detrimental to soil microbes and larger creatures. Therefore, they are bad for roses and all other plants.

The goal is to have soil undisturbed and mulched with:

  • A newspaper layer and wood mulch. Jackson Mulch.
  • A cardboard layer and wood or leaves. Jackson Super Mulch.
  • A compost layer - for those who love to haul heavy loads all over the yard.
Last year I bought shredded cyprus mulch at Lowe's, to place on top of a thick layer of newspapers. Our torrential rains dissolved the newspaper and weeds burst through. Normally they do not. Weeds can be covered with more mulch, which we did, and that turns them into wonderful compost on the spot. The same thing happens when covering lawn with Jackson Mulch.

Do not rototill the lawn to put in roses, unless there is other way. They are the biggest hoax since the flu shot.


Earthworms
My other poorly kept secret is red wiggler earthworms. They are the ideal compost or mulch worm. They cannot turn sand into fertile soil, but they will mix organics ideally - in the root zone, the top 12 inches. Other earthworms help too.

I buy earthworms from Uncle Jim, who also offers a degree in earthworm farming.

My landscaper neighbor told me to cut back my shrub roses - the KnockOuts. I told him, in early spring, "I already cut them back 50%." They were back to chest height. 

I listened to his advice until he began asking for mine - summarized as no poisons, no herbicides, no pesticides, no insecticides. But earthworms and Jackson Mulch.

The flower fly, or hover fly, is your best friend.


How Plants Are Fed
The key rose feeders are the fungi, bacteria, and protozoa that achieve a balance in the soil. The rose root hairs offer carbon to fungi in exchange for the chemicals and water needed by the rose. The root hairs determine the swap. Fungi cannot produce carbon and must have carbon to grow.

That is why we leave the soil as undisturbed as possible. God will fix whatever you wreck with your 20 horsepower rototiller and Agent Orange fertilizer, but if you keep that up you will have weeds and pests and a big bill at Lowe's to pay.

Jessica was trained in insecticides,
but learned to use beneficial insects and their hosting plants.
Her book is excellent on this topic.

Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Toads
When I walk Sassy, I look for rotten wood that has fallen from old trees. I try to look normal and casual as I walk home with lumps in my hand. Neighbors pretend not to notice.

The wood will shelter and help feed toads, who eat slugs and other pests, raising baby toads who stay around for the water (shallow pans) and the feasts. I create watering pans just for the toads. They were finding water anyway, but I want this to be a toad spa for the Jackson Rose Farm.

Spiders love to nest in roses, because flowers attract aphids and other pests. Let the aphids have their meals on the first flowering. Here they love white and light colored roses. My favorite Peace and John Paul roses were eaten alive on the first bloom, but I did not spray. I did not even try to flick aphids away. No, they were food traps for beneficial insects that feed on aphids. Kill the aphids, kill the beneficial insects and all the spiders. That also drives away all beneficials, like the toad and rove beetles. 

On the second bloom the roses will be almost 100% perfect. Some attacks may take place later, but that will be very much limited by the beneficial insects, spiders, and toads. I often pick the best white roses just above a very tough spider's web.

Sharon Lovejoy is a delightful author
with a lifetime of experience.