Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Day in the Garden

As a gardener, I am a pretty solid beginner. I love to read gardening stuff in magazines, but my garden strategy comes pretty much from reading the tag on the plant and figuring out where to try it. So, imagine my delight when the rose bushes I planted last spring have bloomed so gloriously after our long, rainy winter.

I used to fear roses (thinking them fussy and difficult) and I didn't really like the idea of a having a bunch of thorny bushes with little kids playing in the yard. When we rented a house for a few years with a bunch of rose bushes in the sorely-neglected back yard (before we moved in, that is), I figured I couldn't make them any worse than they already were. So, I hacked away at them rather brutally to keep the thorny branches away from playing kids. I didn't do anything special at all to them. And they thrived.

The idea that I could do pretty much nothing special to them and they'd still yield such gorgeous flowers made me decide to give them a try.

I tend to be drawn to the full, fat, old fashioned ones that actually smell like roses. You should see the roses on my yellow bush.

And I even found these little rose trees that were grafted to have half white and half pink roses. They've come back beautifully this spring after a fairly vicious pruning earlier in the season.

The other one seems to be sort of cross-breeding itself, so the blooms are sort of white and pink together. Interesting, huh?

So, inspired by my success, we headed off to Home Depot this morning to get a few more things to fill in some bare spots. Roger immediately headed off to look at tools and pipes and such. But Caroline and I found some lovely bargains and came home and planted most of them before our energy wore out.

Here's a pretty delphinium ... on sale because it was a bit droopy, but I think it might come back...

We got a few of those, including some in a really soft white/lavender color.

And a few gerbera daisies, because they just make me happy to look at them.

I also moved a bunch of stuff around, having realized recently that just because I planted something in a bad place to begin with doesn't mean it has to stay there. I had one climbing rose with teeny yellow roses that I'd put back along the fence, where it didn't get much sun and it just wasn't doing much of anything. I've moved that to a sunny, prominent spot and we'll see what happens.

We have hard, clay soil that makes for pretty miserable digging no matter how much I amend it. So I decided to stop and plant the rest tomorrow. Here's what needs to be planted, still: two foxgloves, a small gardenia (I'm hoping I can get one to take even though I've read they need really good drainage), another gerbera daisy, and some interesting shrub with tiny pink flowers (some sort of mallow, maybe? I forget).

It feels good to have that leg-aching fatigue. Even Gemma was exhausted, after all that running and sticking her nose into new holes in the dirt.

I am looking forward to a long soak in a hot tub tonight!


  1. Wow, a mommy lawyer doing a blog on here! Very cool! Yes, and I read a few of your posts. Nice pictures!

  2. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Beautiful flowers! Your roses remind me how much I miss the rose that died in my garden. I guess it's time to plant a new one!

  3. There is a rose variety called something like mutabilis that has blooms that mutate from white to pink or the other way around. The bushes are covered with all those different colors. Could this be your rose?

  4. Lucky you to be able to grow Delphinium in your garden! It is too hot and humid here for them, so we must resort to Larkspur, which does beautifully but isn't quite the same.
    Sounds like you had a lovely day in the garden! Hope your soak was good too!

  5. Hi Diane: Lovely roses!! Check out David Austin Roses Limited.

  6. Beautiful roses! I live a few miles north of you, in Redwood Valley, and this gorgeous weather has had me out in the garden also. Soak in a hot tub? Sounds divine, if I could just un-bend enough to!

  7. Anonymous4:59 AM

    Instead of trying to amend the soil you have, you can build up. Make some planting beds with rock borders. Get some good planting soil by the yard and bales of good straw. break up the bales and scatter in the bottom of the beds to about 6" deep and mix in cow manure or well aged chicken droppings and cover with a good 3-5" of a mix of soil, peat moss and compost. You will have to add compost every year because the straw will break down but you can plant anywhere this way! You should see what we have for soil in spots in the UP! 2" of dirt and then solid rock!! Think of coastal areas in Washington and Oregon.

    teri....who gave up on roses because the Japanese beetles could strip them in a matter of hours.

  8. Your roses are beautiful!

  9. Spectacular flowers! Brilliant photography!!