The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The First Days of a Bare Root Rose

"What have you got against grass?"
our landscaper neighbor said.
"My wife said, get rid of the grass
and plant roses," I responded.

When bare root roses arrive, I cut off the plastic wrapping and drop them into the rain-barrel, sphagnum moss and all.

Day One - soaking in rainwater (or else water stored for several days) and picking out the best place for the roses. I soak all potted plants the same way, because they also suffer from some dehydration and stress.

Warning - do not plant in a conveniently open place in the back. Such areas make for easy planting and later neglect. Besides that should be the wild garden where weeds have equal rights and creatures swarm, bite, and justice - provide feed for birds.

 Bride's Dream bloomed under the maple,
as the other $5 roses did.
Almost five years ago, the same area was
a tangle of weeds, junk, and maple suckers.


Day Two - If the intended area is hard clay, it should have been soaked thoroughly on Day One. Desert clay, hardened by the sun, will be easy to dig a day later, if soaked on Day One.

I aimed at the lawn I mulched with cardboard and shredded cyprus last fall. That soil was soft from spring rains and the composting effect of shutting off sunlight from the turf.

I paced off where I wanted the new roses and began digging. The Shasta Daisies are at the end, so they will be pleasant beneficial insect plants to help patrol the roses against pests.

Mr. Lincoln is a show-off for vertical growth and fragrance, so I expect pedestrians to pass out from the aroma.

Important for bare root planting - do not be afraid to prune the canes and roots. The ones I pruned the most one year were also the first to pop new, green leaves. That mean the roots worked overtime after being challenged by all the pruning. I prune off the end of every cane and cut off crossing canes. If a rose does not fit the hole I dug, I cut off long roots in addition to broken ones. Budding rosarians need to overcome their timidity about pruning. Read John 15:1-10 - prune the deadwood, prune the flowering/fruiting branches.

I saved the twine from the roses and put those pieces on the large Crepe Myrtle bush. A few hours later I caught a bird grabbing one for her nest. Why did they gather the fragments after the Feeding of the Five Thousand? To show that nothing is wasted.

After the Day Two planting - set up the sprinkler for all the roses. Some used to say - fill the hole first with water. Baloney. That yields a muddy mess that is hard to re-do when something goes wrong. The 24 hour soak in rainwater is a bonus for each plant. The sprinkling afterwards will dampen the canes, which is important in drying breezes. In the first few days, the rose has to overcome dehydration and produce solar-energy soaking green leaves.

This gentle sprinkler action will also settle the soil, so air-gaps can be closed by shoveling some fine soil or mushroom compost around and on top of the base.

This looks better than grass to most people.


Day Three - inspect each planting and add soil where needed. I keep extra bags around for this, so I am not scooping up hard or lumpy clay for those little gaps. I expect a good, long rain. If not, I will sprinkle again.

Roses in the desert taught me how easily the canes dry out. Since then I have been careful to give cold showers to all plants and to make sure the rose canes are well watered.

Calladiums show off their color in shade,
and hog peanuts add nitrogen to the soil.
I leave hot peanuts alone because they are legumes.


Fourth Day - The green leaves popping out are a good sign, and that can take a shorter or longer time. Individual varieties of roses vary in how they respond.

New leaves and cane growth are usually red, turning green rapidly. I will look for more parts to prune on new roses, because cutting intensifies growth. I do the same with Crepe Myrtle. Both above and below the soil, a little attention motivates a plant.

I always mulch plants because that holds in moisture, prevents wind erosion, and builds up the soil creatures, from the tiny microbes to the larger earthworms and moles, giants in comparison with other soil creatures.

The soil = soil creatures. Soil can be sterilized and plants will grow, but they are always stunted and more vulnerable to disease.

Before spring really warmed up and dumped inches of rain, the entire front yard was brownish grey. Now the rose bushes are budding and some may be blooming for the First Sunday after Easter. Mrs. Gardener's question is now answered - I do have plans for the front yard.

A neighborhood teen came over to clean the sticks from the rose garden (two large garbage bags) and mow the lawn. I was not sipping lemonade on the porch. I bought 15 bags of shredded cyprus mulch and cover the last bit of front lawn, after renewing the cardboard recently placed there to thwart the grass. That area is where the four Crepe Myrtle sticks are sporting leaves and starting to grow.

Our helper tried to throw away lumps of wood under the big Crepe Myrtle. I said, "Bob thinks my yard is strange, but I ask him how many roses he has. The wood feeds the fungi in the soil."

The Queen of England has endless resources for her garden, and hers is managed the same way - no toxins and every measure to promote fungi. That seems very odd to those who do not know the power of fungi in the soil.

Easter Is Not Like Spring - But the Lord of Life Gave Us Spring
Some compare the rebirth of life in spring to the Resurrection of Christ. But those plants that die do not come back to life. Instead, people should consider the incredible complexity and dependencies within one garden, all stemming from the engineering and management of the Creating Word.

Daisies always seem to be hosting a party for
various beneficial insects.

Following my own advice, I put the new Shasta Daisies where I would see them all the time and tend to their needs. Some see an attractive plant already sending up new flowers to add to the display. I bend closer and see the beneficial insects that land there for food.

The plant’s glossy dark green leaves have small teeth on their margins and create good habitat for predatory bugs like assassin, damsel, and spined soldier bugs. The nectar and pollen from the flowers is preferred by some species of parasitic wasps, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, soldier beetles, ladybugs, and syrphid flies. (And Tachinids)

Walliser, Jessica. Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2383-2386). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Purpose for Them, Purpose for Us
The rationalists of Harvard and UOJ like to slice up the Gospels and create their own dogma from one tiny part of the Bible. As the UOJists always say, "We have Robert Preus as our father," like Matthew 3:9

The Bible is a unified truth, so one part does not contradict the other. In the same way, the divine purpose abundantly clear in the garden is just as true for us - and applies as well.

As Gerhardt asks in his hymn:

4. Should He who Himself imparted
Aught withhold From the fold,
Leave us broken-hearted?
Should the Son of God not love us,
Who, to cheer Sufferers here,
Left His throne above us?

5. If our blessed Lord and Maker
Hated men, Would He then
Be of flesh partaker?
If He in our woe delighted,
Would He bear All the care
Of our race benighted?
"All My Heart This Night Rejoices"
by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676. The Lutheran Hymnal, #77.