- Author: Janet Snyder
So, I'm waiting. The holidays have passed, my decorations have been put away, and the Rose Parade has floated into memory. This is usually the time that I begin cleaning up my pruners and preparing to prune my roses. How can I think of pruning when yesterday's high temperature was just shy of 70 degrees?
I enjoy the holidays, and when I'm putting away all the decorations, I've got the idea in the back of my head that I can start to think about spring. By now, we've usually been wearing warm coats all day, watching the rains fall on our sleeping gardens, and spent many days shrouded under thick, dark, grey cloud cover. This season, not so much. Except for a few chilly nights on the town, my warm coats have collected dust in the closet. My kids go outside and play during the day in their t-shirts and flip flops! Can it really be January, when it feels more like October or March outside?
Back to my roses- I have 25 rose bushes in my garden. I love roses, a love passed on to me by my mom, who also loves roses. My ‘Iceberg’ rose (Rosa ‘Iceberg’) falling over in a windstorm is what started me on my path to becoming a Master Gardener. I look at it and my head tells me it is time to prune it, regardless of the beautiful blooms it is still producing. My heart tells me to wait, give it a few more days; maybe we'll plunge in to a real winter soon. In the meantime, I'll go outside and just enjoy the extended display of my beautiful roses.
- Author: Trisha Rose
By 2009 the one remaining lawn is the main lawn with the traditional "need to mow and water" grass from the front door to the sidewalk. We begin planting a little garden next to the house with a row of Erysimum below our living room window. They look very tidy. We add some Euphorbia characias and I find the beautiful yellow blooms against the grey-blue foliage enticing.
During the spring of 2009 I attended a workshop at Solano College given by the Solano County Master Gardeners on the subject of "Propagation". The MG's are friendly and very helpful as they explain some basic how-to's of plant propagation, I'm hooked and submit my application for the Solano Master Gardener's Program 2010 term. As I sit through the series of lectures, I realize there are many options for gardening and soon begin to think seriously about removing the main front lawn and putting in a garden that is more interesting to use, uses much less water and give us a chance to experiment with different plant materials. So it is now 2011 and the rains seem to continue on and on. Finally it is May and our son has relocated nearby. He agrees to remove the sod and we are on our way.
- Author: Betsy Lunde
Thoughts while pruning roses against the fence:
I'm trying to remember why on Earth I ever planted these roses on this side fence. Here I stand, attempting to dead-head, removing the last flush of bloom this one rose (actually large green rose hips) and trying to think of a good reason to sacrifice my flesh in the pursuit of ornamental horticulture. Was it the promise of large, silvery white blossoms glistening in the sun after a dark during a dismal rainy winter? Or was it the promise of bragging about the sheer mass of dark green leaves hidden among blossoms? Or did I just fall prey to flower catalog "madness "as I and others do each winter and early spring?
At this time, bloodied and with even more tears in a favorite gardening shirt -- all shirts seem to end up as marked for gardening after the first tears and stains-- I'm convinced that this large, overgrown rambler (Rosa 'Silver Moon') hates me to touch it! It's proud that it grew 20 feet this year -- again, and wants no loving sniping from me, just admiration for another year of blooming and growing! I know I'll heal again just as I have in the past. Darn that "prickle-bush" as Bruce calls it!! It knows as do the other rambling roses in my yard that I adore them and will continue to risk flesh and clothing to make them look their best. I'm trapped in my backyard and I can't stop sniping!
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
Several years ago, my husband and I cleaned out the 3' x 40' strip of soil between our house and our neighbors. There were several roses that were salvaged, but everything else was removed. This buffer zone between houses needed soil amendments, irrigation changes and plants that could handle hot afternoon sun. My husband wanted color and I wanted scent, so we compromised. He purchased two crape myrtles in red and plum and I went shopping for lavenders. Knowing that lavender is a Mediterranean plant, has few problems (root rot, mildew and rust), required little water and LOVED the hot afternoon sun, made it an ideal choice. The flowers would be harvested to use for decorating and smell, a real bonus. Many of the plants located at the nursery would grow too large for this narrow strip. Searching through the plant inventory at a local herb farm, Gros Bleu Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) was found and it only grew to 13 inches. The plant marker also noted that it had extremely long flower heads and navy blue flowers. Eureka! My search was over and I have not been disappointed with my choice. They finished blooming last month and have been trimmed back to compact round orbs to keep them tidy and healthy, ready to fill out and scent our garden again next year!
- Author: Trisha Rose
A few years down the road and we both agreed that it would be nice to have some rose bushes. So we shopped for roses on the weekends and found spots in the back garden for our new treasures. Of course, we choose our roses by color, fragrance, and size. My earlier experiences with roses had been rather lucky. I had planted bush roses that bloomed and thrived in the East Bay climate with virtually no pests or diseases.
We were happy with our beautiful roses and as we ran out of room in the backyard, we decided to remove one of the lawn mow strips in front yard and plant some more roses. These new roses would benefit from the daylong full sun exposure with the south west orientation; something we were beginning to realize might be a problem with some of the shady backyard planting areas. We had a dedicated rose bed encircled with tree roses which were doing very well until I decided to plant a cute little fig tree in the vacant middle part of the bed. A couple of years later the fig had to go, as it grew up it provided a little too much shade and attracted the squirrels, much to the chagrin of our two large dogs. (to be continued on October 12)