Darcey Bussell

Rose Garden Finalists

I spent part of each day this past weekend pulling out weeds, stumps, seedlings, and old rose bushes in my yard. The weather was warm, for February, and sunny, and it was nice to get outside and enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine.

I am primarily focusing my attention on my front flower beds, since those are the beds that I am reworking this year. However, it is very important to remove all the other diseased roses from the yard before planting anything new. There was only one rose in my yard that showed no signs of disease when I made my rounds a month ago. Once I cleared away the car-sized rose bush next to it, I discovered why. It was almost completely dead. It had been growing in practically full shade with indifferent care for a while, so no wonder. At least I will be starting with a clean slate when I am ready to plant, with no lingering chances of reinfection, at least from my yard.

At this point, all the roses have been cut down to the ground. I dug out the ones in the front beds this weekend, along with several seedlings. One more day of work in that area should have the beds completely cleared. I am toying with the idea of renting a tiller. It would be useful to break up the existing soil as well as till in amendments such as manure and coffee grounds. I would also like to pretreat the beds with something rose-safe like Grass-Be-Gone, which will start the process of killing off the Bermuda grass and any weeds in the beds.

With the beds nearly cleared, it is time to make plans for the next steps. I have already selected my new roses and placed my order for March delivery. The winners were:

English Roses – Olivia Rose Austin, Princess Alexandra of Kent, The Alnwick Rose, Darcey Bussell, Queen of Sweden, and Redoute
Old Garden Roses – Zephirine Drouhin (climbing Bourbon), Kathleen Harrop (climbing Bourbon), Felicite Parmentier (alba), Alfred Colomb (hybrid perpetual), Boule de Neige (Bourbon), Duchesse de Rohan (Bourbon), Snowbird (hybrid tea), Marshmallow Fluff (polyantha), Yesterday (polyantha), and Braveheart (shrub rose)

You can see pictures of all my finalists on Pinterest.

Of these, “Yesterday” was a free rose from Rogue Valley Roses. I will probably not put it in the front bed, as I have already finalized my planting plan. It is a smaller rose, so I will pot it up until I can find a permanent home for it.

Due to the variety of Old Garden Roses that I selected, I placed orders from multiple vendors. I ordered Old Garden Roses, all own-root, from Rogue Valley Roses, Heirloom Roses, Roses of Yesterday and Today, and High Country Roses. The English roses came from David Austin, and are grafted on Dr. Huey rootstock. “Marshmallow Fluff” is coming from Burlington Rose Nursery, also own-root.

So with roses reserved and the ground (nearly) cleared, what are our next steps before planting?

  • We need to paint the foundation behind the rose beds. We already have the paint; we just need a warm day.
  • We would like to grade the far right end of the bed, to adjust for the slope in the yard.
  • I need to design and order an irrigation system. I am planning on using drip irrigation, on a timer.
  • We will need to purchase stone or brick for leveling and edging the bed, garden soil, rose food, Grass-Be-Gone, and mulch.
  • I will need to check my garden sprayer to make sure it is still operational.
  • I will need to purchase companion plants for the edging of the bed. I have selected Nepata (catmint) as it grows low, spreads easily but not invasively, and is low maintenance. Plus Simon and Isabella love it!

And that is pretty much it! The plants will be arriving in early March, and will be planted not long after arrival. Our last freeze date is in April, but I know from experience that Spring is well underway by then, so I am planning to plant a little sooner and monitoring the weather, providing protection for the plants as needed.

By the way, for those of you who might have been wondering, “Whatever happened with your heat not working?” Well, we replaced the control board ourselves, but that did not fix the issue. I finally gave up and called our heat-air-plumbing-electrical company to have them repair it. The control board replacement was indeed needed, and they said that we did it properly, so they didn’t have to replace that. But we also needed a new relay. The first repairman had mentioned this, but we could not figure out which antiquated-looking black boxy thing was the relay, so we left it alone and called in the professionals. However, the first repairman quoted us $458 for the repair, included both the control board and relay. We ended up paying $217, because we replaced the control board ourselves. The board cost $25. So we saved $216. And we now have properly working heat. Hurray!

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