I posted about Purple Splash roses being revived by rain, which is always effective.
Several events got me interested in rugosa roses. One was the mother of Almost Eden talking about old roses and hips, using them for wreaths. However, my initial investigation found them being offered for a princely sum on the Net, about $30 each.
|Every rose flower tries to turn into a a rose hip - seed pod -|
packed with Vitamin C. Some roses have very large hips.
Chewable Vitamin C tablets taste just like rose hips.
But I also heard about this group of roses being large and shade tolerant. I was thinking about which dominant plants could be featured in the semi-shaded Wild Garden, and I had my answer. They would block the back alley view, provide hips for birds and wreaths, and shelter for birds.
I checked out Direct Gardening, which has various roses and plants for deeply discounted prices.
|Rugosa bushes are fragrant, tolerant of shade and salt spray.|
|Textured leaves make them rugosa wrinkled.|
Rose growers are a bit wary of such low prices, but I read they replace roses that do not grow, just as the big commercial sites do - Edmunds, Jackson and Perkins. So - what about the price?
Six for $10! They threw in some bonus plants, too.
When they arrived, the bare root roses were little sticks with roots on them. The other plants were a bit stronger and more vital looking.
I put everything into the rain-barrel and made sure they were immersed. They remained soaking almost 24 hours. The hosta starts began to sprout. The balloon flowers also began to grow.
I looked closely at each rose stick - they were covered with buds!
Mrs. Ichabod was struck by how they revived overnight in rainwater. "Do people know about this?"
I said, "Roses are often soaked before planting. After I received some bad-looking roses from California, I soaked them in rainwater for a long time and pruned the canes and roots. They leafed out faster than any roses I planted before that time."
I went on to say, "Some people add bleach to water they use for soaking." Mrs. I - "Oh no!"
"And others add fertilizer, in another attempt to kill all soil microbes." Mrs. I - "Pathetic."
|The cardboard collar is handy for protecting small plants|
from weeds, clover, and foot-traffic.
Small Plant Protection
Nobody beats me in stepping on plants, so I have learned to set them off when they are in high traffic areas. I open up a cardboard food package - empty of course. Each one is a single piece, almost square, often with scoring to make the central hole easy to fashion with fingernails or scissors.
I make a ruffled clergy collar, without the ruffle, to pass over the plant and block most of the weed growth. The Elephant Ears were trying to grow in the front yard, and the clover were ready to take over completely - one example. The location was out in the sun where anyone might walk and injure the new plant rising up from its bulb.
In the Wild Garden I had brown sticks among brown leaves in the semi-shade. I made the collar weed-blockers and kept them in place with small logs on each side. On our walk today Sassy and I saw a familiar pile of logs. I picked out a light, rotten log and took it home for one of the collars.
To make a reasonably straight line, I tied twine between two screw hooks and stuck them in the soil.
I was about to dig into clay. "Oh, clay is so heavy and hard to dig, especially when the soil dries out."
But this clay was covered with cardboard in the fall and garnished with 60+ bags of leaves. This cardboard and leaves mulch proved so effective that hardly anything grew through the layer.
Underneath the mulch, in spite of the dry weather and no watering in the Wild Garden, the clay soil was soft, damp, and filled with red wiggler earthworms. I did not have to deal with digging through a tangle of grass roots - the sod was composted by the lack of sunlight, the abundance of soil creatures, the engineering and management of the Creator.
Covering the Wild Garden in the fall was a matter of getting cardboard boxes from Goodwill, laying them down on 1/2 of the backyard, and weighing down the cardboard with various logs, weights, garbage pails, boards from an old desk. Caution - autumn winds will try to recycle the cardboard into neighboring yards until it is wet and soggy from rain.
|Rugosa roses are simple but aromatic.|
Many prefer the old roses.