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Our interest in gardening is centered very much on producing food for the table, but it is certainly not restricted to that. We have a lot of flowers in the yard as well. Many of them are in pots lining the yard, and these have now gone into the greenhouse for the winter. (With a freeze warning we cut what was left of the tomatoes and these are hanging in the greenhouse to ripen as well) But the driving force on the flowers is mama’s roses.

Mama was in her 90’s, and one of the ways we enticed her to come live with us was replacing the roses she loved so much where she lived. We did it with a variety of brand new roses from Jackson-Perkins on the front and back of the house. Mother and I tended those roses for several years. After she passed at the age of 96 we were facing moving to a location with more space. As an extra precaution, we hired a professional landscaper to prune, dig up, move and plant those roses. We wanted to take no chances with mama’s roses. (Actually, to be truthful, I wanted someone else to blame if the roses didn’t live.)

I have to admit it scared us to death as he cut them way back beyond what I would have done and when he planted them he planted them bare root where I would probably have tried to do it with a root ball. We held our breath as we tended them over the winter but began to breathe a little in the spring when they started putting on leaves.

mom's roses3.jpg We worked the beds, fed the roots, and they all burst out in flowers. We found some confidence that they were going to make it and even added a “Peace rose” that mama had wanted but been unable to find. Then summer hit in full fury and the plants quit blooming in the 100+ degree temps. We got nervous about them again but we kept them well watered, and when the temperatures broke the roses lit up again.

We are pruning them very little for the winter as we are still trying to get some size on them again. We mulched them with wood chips early in the season and mulched them again with mounded straw as fall began to turn to winter.

An added bonus was discovered as the landscaper prepared the roses to transplant. He found several small elm trees growing up in the middle of them. They were maybe two foot tall and we told him to keep them. At our new location, we planted them along the west side of the yard and two years later those little darlings are twelve to fifteen foot tall.

Because of that we have found more seedling elms growing in the garden and we are letting them grow to plant in a couple of areas where we could use some more trees. We did have one huge elm on the property and planted a couple of head high fruit trees in front but after we utilize a few of these young elms I know we will reach the point where we will have to begin fighting them as we fight weeds, or maybe pot them and raise some seedlings to sell or give away.

As the roses go dormant we’re leaving the last of the flowers on to become hips (seed pods). This signals the rose bush that the season is over and it is time to go dormant.

Life is full of such interesting surprises.



Jackson & Perkins Roses

Better Homes & Gardens rose care

Pruning roses

Spring rose care

Preparing roses for winter