Personal Gardening (Part 4)

So at this point in my 2020 COVID gardening, I was happy with the progress, but I wanted more ROSES. Just adding two this year? Not enough! There was a sewer pipe in our yard just on the other side of the sidewalk going to the gate on Long St. 

It looked ugly and our kids ALWAYS tripped on it when they were playing in the yard. I told my wife, "You know, for their safety, I should probably do something about it this year. What about a new garden bed to incorporate it?" Her response? An eye roll with, "Fine." 😊

So I outlined a garden bed to connect from the pergola garden bed and hug the curve of the sidewalk to the edge of the fence, making sure to incorporate the sewer pipe. I started digging up the grass, loading it into a wheel barrow, then dumping it on a tarp in the garage to be dealt with at a later date.

After completely digging up the grass, I added Master Nursery Bumper Crop garden soil and manure.

I started to put down weed barrier, and pulled up the edging I put down on the pergola garden bed and bent it 180 degrees to connect it to the newest garden bed. 

Weed barrier and edging down along the whole length of the newest garden bed. 

Now, usually I'm not a fan of weed barrier. But you'll notice I'm using it extensively in this yard. There are SO many VERY aggressive weeds in this yard and trumpet vine shoots that continue to pop up EVERYWHERE despite my best efforts to pull them up and dig them out. I really prefer not spraying weeds (I TRY to stay organic as much as possible in my yard). So with the number of garden beds I'm adding in addition to the existing ones, with the extensive weed problem, and with my lack of time during non-COVID times, I cannot spend every day in my yard weeding. So despite some of the negatives of using weed barrier, in my case, I felt the "Pros" outweighed the "Cons," and I opted for adding it.

I decided for this garden bed, I wanted to add roses I had at our previous home, so that I'd have all of my "old roses" (even if they weren't my specific plants from my old home) in addition to adding many more. I ordered the following David Austin Roses: Molineux, Olivia Rose Austin, Boscobel, Munstead Wood, Charlotte, Lady Emma Hamilton, and Bishop's Castle. 

When they arrived, rather than an "Olivia Rose Austin," I received a "Roald Dahl." I called them to ask if I could send it back and have an "Olivia Rose Austin" sent to me. They said, "You can keep it, we'll send out the correct rose to you too." Sweet! 

Always a happy day to see these boxes arrive!

This is how bare root roses arrive - short canes with big roots - they're sent in a "dormant" stage, but I routinely find them with new buds already when they arrive.

The roots need soaked for a minimum of 2 hours before planting. I'm impatient, so I only do 2 hours. However, I know many people prefer to leave them overnight. I personally haven't noticed much of a difference. The important thing is to water them regularly once in the ground until they are established.

Measuring out the distance apart for each rose. I've gone with 30" apart for each rose. Far enough apart that they won't crowd each other, but close enough that they'll form a NEARLY solid hedge once fully-grown. 

After much internal debate, I've decided the order I want to plant the roses in and I've put their garden markers in place so I remember as I dig and plant.

Before digging, I measure out an 18" x 18" square and cut it out of the weed barrier. Yes, you will still have to weed. But this "lets the soil breathe." While the weed barrier doesn't PREVENT water from going through, I still have to think that this allows more water to penetrate into the ground near the roots. But also, by measuring it out to 18" x 18", it gives you an outline of how big to make the hole. 

I dig 18" x 18" and then I make sure it goes 18" down too. You want the soil to be broken up and loose so it's easier for the roots to grow. After the hole is dug, I take a spading fork and break up the soil below the hole a bit too.

I sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi on the roots (over the newly dug hole). This encourages root growth. I put the rose in place, fill the hole up with soil and pack it down gently; making sure the dirt is slightly mounded with the angles running away from the rose. This helps make sure there isn't water pooling around the base of the rose when it rains or when you water it.

Three roses down, four to go!

All roses in place, the bed is mulched, and the roses are watered. They don't look like much now, but believe it or not, in a couple months' time - they'll be 3' tall and blooming.

Stay tuned for part 5!

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