Gurney offered Fragrant Cloud roses for a big discount, so I ordered two. Why only two? I am bonking my head like the Roman Emperor who lost so many legions the attack of Herman the German.
Fragrant Cloud is one of my long-time favorites. The German name is Duftwolke. The blooms are abundant, a dark pink or brick red - also called dark coral-red. Colors vary by location, and so does fragrance. Bred when roses were pretty but almost without perfume, Fragrant Cloud is potent enough to fill a room with its aroma.
Best of all, Fragrant Cloud blooms prolifically. I planted my first by a downspout and felt that was the key, but the blooming was built into the DNA.
First of all, I unwrap the bare roots and drop them into the rain barrel, which is full to the brim. Roses love to remain hydrated, and shipped plants are going to be a little dry. The soak should last an hour or two.
They are immersed into plain old rainwater. Lacking that, I have a barrel ready with tapwater aged several days. That lets chlorine gas out of the water. But relax, I have two barrels full right now.
I do not:
Add fertilizer to the water during the soak or before planting or after planting. Fertilizer is mostly useless and kills the action that takes place at the root hairs, the swapping of useful chemicals, the plant giving up carbon credits in exchange for water, nitrogen compounds, and whatever else it needs.
Fungi need the carbon and gladly (yes gladly) give up what the plant demands in order to get the carbon. Fungi send out filaments to dissolve organic elements and ship them to roots.
Fertilizer, after killing off valuable microbes, will sink into the water table to pollute it. The stores and gardening centers will say, "You need more fertilizer, sprays, fungicides, and this new insecticide - which will kill everything in your yard. Just don't let children play in the grass later. OK?"
Second, I dig holes in the lawn. Grass is over-rated, but sod makes perfect compost, right on the spot. My approach is to dig the holes in the lawn where I want more plants, then mulch with newspaper (or cardboard) and top that with shredded wood mulch.
We have decided to expand the Memorial Row in the main rose garden. We first planted two Queen Elizabeth roses in memory of Bethany and Erin Joy. They are doing well already. When our rose-loving neighbor died, someone suggested planting a rose for her. So we ordered a Fragrant Cloud for her and another one for a Jewish family friend who died a Christian. We wish we could tell her daughter about that, a college classmate of ours, but the daughter died instantly in a freak accident when walking in a park. Life is fragile.
We are expanding the Memorial Row to include Christian Bruce Wenger, our son's godfather and a great friend.
Third, I pull the roses from the soak and trim the roots. Some roots are broken in shipping. Others are just too crazy long to fit in the hole. Pruning the roots will only encourage more growth.
I make a tepee of soil in the hole and pop the rose on top of that little mound. That helps reduce the chance of a void without soil. I fill the hole with loose soil first and pack in as much sod as I can, grass side down. These turf pieces will rot into the soil with a perfect mixture of decaying grass (nitrogen), root remains (carbon, etc), soil microbes, and earthworms.
Fourth, I prune the new roses and water the soil and the plants daily. I had one shipment that looked pretty beaten up and dry, warm from the boxes, a bad sign. I soaked them in rainwater first, and then pruned everything off the top and bottom parts that looked bad to me. These roses took off faster and better than any others I planed. Lesson learned - pruning the tops and a good soak are essential.
I learned from Phoenix how the wind can dry up the new roses. The rose companies told me to cover the planted roses with paper bags until the leaves popped, showing the roots were growing and sending up water. The wind and sun are not so harsh here as they were in the Valley of the Sun, but I still water the plant itself all summer - as needed. I water the new plants daily for a week.
Last, I mulch the plants to turn the surrounding lawn into compost. Newspapers or cardboard will shut down the effect of sunlight growing the lawn. That also locks up nitrogen enough to shut down weed production. However, 14 inches of rain will dissolve newspaper into soup, which we all experience in this area last summer. Normally, the newspaper holds for an entire season. I put shredded wood mulch on top, which is an ideal medium for birds feeding, for spiders, and for encouraging fungi in the soil. The creatures of rot that feed the plants enjoy the darkness and moisture afforded them by an umbrella of newspaper and wood particles. Sawdust works too.
|Mr. Lincoln is shockingly inexpensive, a prodigal producer|
of great, fragrant roses.