I have a chapter on this blog about gardening, and a large chunk of my “Adagio Life” is taken up with gardening – most of it with keeping things alive with the hose or sprinkler these days, given we are in the middle of a drought, however we won’t go there this time! Given that, you might think I’m an expert gardener but I’m not. I’m a “stick it in the ground and wait and see” and “google is my friend” gardener. I’m also not good with remembering the names of plants – they are usually known to me as “the one with the little purple flowers” or similar. However, I love gardens and gardening and have huge aspirations for mine. I’m also proud of my garden because there was nothing here by way of plant life when we moved in six years ago. Now I have several large gardens, a pond, a fernery with a fountain, and I’m in the middle of constructing another large water feature arrangement in my front yard.
I’ve mentioned previously about gardening lessons I’ve learned. About three years ago I established four separate rose gardens and have recently added three other gardens containing standard, climbing and a weeping rose, so have learned some lessons where that venture is concerned as well!
I’ll leave a full description of my rose gardens for another day – likely when they are all blooming as at the present time they are all fairly bare after a massive prune. I purchased them all as bare root roses from Treloar Roses and the images on this post are courtesy of Treloar and are some of the type of roses I purchased (special mention to the Garden Delight which is the most stunning beautiful apricot-coloured rose!) As an aside, I cannot praise Treloar Roses highly enough, for both the service provided and the quality of the roses.
Planting and caring for my roses has been a huge learning curve. These are just ten lessons I’ve learned:
- Some roses just want you to water their roots and don’t like their leaves in a moist atmosphere at all (the bush roses);
- Some roses do want a regular good spray of their leaves and flowers – the weeping;
- Some roses like a bit of both – the standard;
- They are not thirsty plants but a good drink a few times a week is recommended to keep them happy and flowering their little hearts out;
- Aphids and thrips are a flipping pain and seem to develop an immunity to some of the readily available commercial grade pest killers. If you find yourself out there every other week with the rose gun then it’s time to call in the big guns, so to speak. You absolutely cannot NOT get rid of the blighters because they are voracious chompers and will have your roses looking tattered in no time;
- Unfortunately if you have roses on a grand scale like I do, lady bugs cannot keep up with the aphids.
- The hose on jet spray is a good temporary measure to get rid of the blighters until you can get to Bunnings to get a rose gun or take the time to spray with the rose gun – but this might not be a problem if you only have a few roses. It takes me about an hour to spray all mine.
- Dead-heading and removing rose hips as often as you can is a good idea as it gives the plant more energy to produce more flowers.
- Keep an eye out for unusual growth and remove it – for example one of my Rose Professor Sieber plants has a tendency to sprout these clumps of spindly leaves. I have no idea why or what it is, but I get rid of the growth when it appears and the plant looks happy again.
- A massive prune – cutting each plant right back – is highly recommended at least once a year. I can generally tell when my roses need one, as they do start to look tired and the flower growth is not as prolific.
As mentioned, all of my rose trees are a bit small and bare at the moment – bare of flowers anyway. However, I was pleased to see recently that each one now has lovely shiny new leaves and evidence of budding. Of course when you see new growth you have to expect the advent of those buggers, aphids and thrips – yep, and that’s been the case with mine. You don’t have to peer too closely to see them, that furry coating is unmistakable. Can’t stand those critters. Yesterday morning I blasted each plant with the hose as I didn’t have a rose gun at the time, then I toddled off to Bunnings to buy one as soon as I could. Spent an hour yesterday afternoon spraying. Even the ones that don’t usually get aphids were hosting some. I’d say the drought conditions were putting the plants under a bit of stress, and a good “feed” with Seasol is in order. Anyway, problem solved.
Another general gardening lesson I’ve learned is patience is a virtue! You live through the times when the garden is bare or affected by the weather because you know eventually it will establish and recover, and your vision will be realised. It may take a year – like in the case of my large water feature presently under construction. You definitely don’t garden expecting instant results. However, to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.