Showing posts with label mulch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mulch. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Springtime Outside Chores

Another great balmy spring day when I've  spent another  three hours clearing the rose beds of overwintering mulch and clipping the dark wintry branches  already spouting buds from the winter weary  roses. I did all this and filled three big cart loads which I run up and down the hill to dump,  increasing my caloric burning. This was the third day of my activity in the roses and I have nearly completed the project.  The front hosta beds are cleared and the front flower box cleaned awaiting its spring plants, will it be geraniums, pansies or some other  spring combination this year? 

Most of my  roses are now ready for the final  a more careful close up trim,  and removing all vestiges of the mulch we pile on them for winter protection;  here in Minnesota many people do not grow roses because they do not  know how to prepare them for winter.  Many, include me in this group, do not want to be bothered with the  preparatory Minnesota "winter dip" which involves digging a trench, tying, bending and binding down the rose bushes for the winter, burying them to protect from the snows.  Remember I was a California Rosarian and when we moved and when I heard that technique, I  knew there had to be a better way.  So I have dealt with this in two ways, first by foregoing the fussy  hybrid teas for hearty floribundas and grandifloras and over all changing the type of roses that I grow preferring those that have been hybridized right here across the river in Wisconsin by Bill Adler, father of the Knock Outs and the hearty old time rugosas which are naturalized on the wintry bluffs, old garden roses in general and those by Canadian hybridizers, as well as the Buck Roses being resurrected right down the border in Iowa. My winterization technique involves heavy  mulch which Jerry makes from all the fallen leaves that he shreds. This works well for us. 

 Now with spring  the mulch has already started to decompose and the earth worms are  very plentiful working their way up from the ground  into the damp decaying mess.  However, I scrape most of this off and work some into the ground as a ready made compost.  This is my  California approach to winterizing roses.  Any bush that does not survive does not get to keep its place in the rose garden and can be replaced by something else later in spring or summer.  After the careful barbering,  I apply a hearty dose of Epsom Salts and sit back and wait for  another couple weeks  until I apply a systemic fertilizer in anticipation of  blooms. 

I love my outside exercise and used to work longer hours at one time but now have to respect the arthritis in my hands, that demands pacing my activity despite early enthusiasm.  I still have shrubs and  perennials along the side of the house to prune and trim and then down the backyard.  Little by little progress is apparent.  I found I needed a sweatshirt today because the wind was just a touch chilly for a t shirt; it was a good thing because those thorns on the wintered  branches are quite dried and quite sharp so the long sleeves protected my arms from  massacre.  

This will be my first blog in a long time sans photos.  When I started this blog I did not routinely add photos but I do believe they add a lot.   I did not know the computer would call me this evening or I might have taken a couple photos of my massively laden cart, a big plastic thing that holds more than a wheel barrow is is one of my favorite sidekicks, today I commented that I wished it had a trailer then I could haul twice as much down the hill in a trip.  Jerry  reminded me that it was just the size for me to maneuver and besides, that gave my fingers a break from the tedium and kept the knuckles appeased. Maybe tomorrow I can add photos.