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Archive for the ‘roses’ Category

This summer is turning out to be more of a maintenance year than actually doing a lot of gardening.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still growing a couple of veggies and have worked on weeding and putting new plants in my perennial beds, but it’s not the all out gardening of years past.  In the perennial bed close to the deck, I planted a Charles Jolly Lilac and a Miss Kim Lilac.  I added another peony (white) to complement the magenta peony that is already established.  The Russian Sage I planted a few years ago is doing good this year…..amazing what weeding and some water will do for plants!

The big garlic bed was a no-show this year.  I think the voles that tunneled in ate most of the cloves or at least enough of the clove so that they could not produce new garlic.  I still have some garlic that I planted in another area that is doing well, in fact, today I harvested the scapes off of them.  The bulbs should be ready to harvest in another month or so.  I think I will try to plant the garlic for next year a little earlier so it has time to sprout and set roots before winter.

I still have 10 roses that have survived from the rose trial several years ago.  I noticed today that a couple of them have flower buds and a couple have produced some blooms.  Yay!!  The lupines by the greenhouse are going gangbusters.  At the start of the season, the lupines were covered in aphids and I wasn’t sure they would make it through, but a little help from some insecticide solved that problem.

The research potatoes seem to be doing well in the grow bags.  This weekend when I was watering, a few of the potatoes look like they got scorched by something.  I am not sure what is causing that.  It doesn’t look like a disease.  It might be insect feeding from the lygus bugs that I found on the potatoes or maybe since the deer have been in the garden nibbling on the potatoes, they peed on the plants??  Who knows?  I’ll keep an eye on the potatoes and hope it doesn’t get any worse.

Last weekend I watered the peas I planted this spring and was really excited as they had flowers so I knew I would get some peas.  This weekend…….I think the deer got in the garden and had a feast on my peas.  The peas had been eaten down to about a foot from the soil level.  Rat b**stard deer!  The good thing about peas is I can grow some more into the fall so I should still have a harvest, albeit a small one.

My big achievement this weekend was getting the first raised bed built.  I still have to fill it with soil, but it is in place and ready.  I found the bricks at the store that have slots to slide boards into and also a 1/2 inch hole in the middle to be able to put rebar or similar through to stabilize the stones.  The bricks take a 2″ x 6″ board (I used kiln dried–not treated), cut to any length you want.  I used 5 foot lengths to make the sides and 4 foot lengths to make the ends.  I had to level the area since we do live on a mountain and things are on a slope, but it wasn’t that difficult.  Because I had to level the area, I used the bricks 3 high so the bed is 18″ tall.  I don’t have to put soil up to that level, but wanted a sturdy foundation for the bed.  I laid down chicken wire before putting everything in place to prevent voles and ground squirrels from being able to tunnel up into the bed.    And it looks really nice!

If you live in town, the bricks in the middle of the sides probably aren’t necessary, but since there are large mammals, like deer and moose, making their way through my garden, I wanted to make sure the bed would survive.  The added bonus of the rods through the bricks is that next spring when it’s planting season, I can get some bendable poly tubing and place it on the metal rods and use it to make the bed a small hoop house with deer netting or row cover to keep the critters from eating the veggies.  I think this raised bed will work well and I might even be able to get another one built before winter.

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So it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.  I figure I had better get caught up.  Last year’s potatoes were harvested early due to the fact that the ground squirrels or chipmunks figured out how to climb up the potato cages and get inside to eat the growing tubers.  I had a few carrots to harvest and not many tomatoes from the greenhouse.  But this is another year and another gardening season begins.

I had my first chance this past weekend to get out into the garden to survey what Mother Nature had wrought this winter.  The big snows have melted except in the shaded parts so it was easy to check out the garden.  The voles have been very active this year.  I planted the majority of my garlic last fall in a different area  of the garden and it looks like the voles have made a lot of trips through that area.  I hope they didn’t eat too many of the cloves that were planted.  I did not see any little green sprouts coming up in that area.  I have another smaller area with garlic and they have sprouted and are coming up nicely.  No vole damage in that area.

I weeded in the walls o’ water and around them (in the big garden) so I could get the peas planted, which I did.  And that was great, because last night we had another 2-3 inches of snow.  The peas will be well watered and I hope they sprout soon.  After I finished that project, I moved over to the greenhouse to check things out.

4.25.16

This was the view that caught my eye as I headed to the greenhouse.  There were several plexiglass pieces blown out of the greenhouse by the wind.  This picture shows the largest piece from the east side.  There were two other smaller pieces, one from the roof and one from the south side of the greenhouse that were also blown out.  The dead aspen fell at the edge of the potato cages, with just some minor crunching of the top of the hardware cloth cages.  The poor lupines under the plexiglass managed to survive and were growing very nicely.  I hope that they survive this spring snow now that they are not protected by the glass.

On the positive side, the daffodils by the greenhouse are almost ready to bloom.  The daffodils planted in the large garden are emerging and should bloom around the end of May.  It appears that most of the roses survived the winter as did the bearded iris.   Most of the lupines up by the greenhouse have nice leaves. It’s spring, and I hope the weekends stay nice so I can continue to get things cleaned up.  I’m hopeful………again.

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This weekend, I harvested my garlic. I turned the water off to the bed that they were in last weekend so the soil would start to dry a bit and I could get the garlic out of the ground. The German Brown garlic was very prolific, but produced the smallest bulbs. The Nootka Rose didn’t produce as much but the bulbs were bigger than the German Browns. The biggest bulbs were from the Island Rocambole, Siberian and Bzenc. They are now curing in the garage for the next week or two and then it will be time to snip the greens off and get them into storage.

Complete Garlic Harvest

Complete Garlic Harvest

Island Rocambole

Island Rocambole

Bzenc

Bzenc

Siberian

Siberian

German Brown

German Brown

Nootka Rose

Nootka Rose

I need to start looing at garlic to plant for next year. I’ll need to plant about the first week of September in order to get a decent harvest next year. Maybe I’ll get some different varieties to try this year.

I harvested a couple of tubes of potatoes this weekend. Neither of them had a label, so I figured I would go ahead and pull those and see what they are. Looks like they might be Desiree and Nicola. One tube was a light redskin potato and the other was a white skin. I think this weekend will be the last big drink the rest of the potatoes are getting. I need to let the tubers size up and the foliage dieback so I figure I should be able to harvest the rest of the potatoes in about 2-3 weeks, provided we don’t get much more rain up here.

I finally got the apple trees planted. They are a cold hardy rootstock, but I don’t know what the fruit will taste like. These are just little whips so it will be several years before they even think about flowering. They need a few weeks in the ground before it starts getting cold up here. I hope they survive. My goal is to graft other varieties onto this particular rootstock once this rootstock gets established.

And last, but not least, I put mulch on the roses and irises that I transplanted a month or so ago. I actually have a flower on one of the roses and with consistent watering after transplanting, they are putting on new growth. I need to start thinking about cutting back on the water in order to let them harden off for the winter. I really would like them to survive.

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……….well, almost the first of May, but who’s counting?  The days have been pretty warm for this neck o’ the woods and the garden is starting to show its colors.  The garden got a perfunctory going over yesterday afternoon.  The daffodils by the greenhouse are blooming as are the daffodils in the perennial bed in the big garden.  I hope all the hyacinth bulbs I planted come up soon.  They smell heavenly and will definitely provide a burst of color to the garden.  It looks like 11 out of the 12 surviving roses from the trial are coming back in good shape.  The canes are starting to green around the crown and there are new leaves forming at the base of the plants where they are protected from our cool night temps by the mulch.  Buds on two of the four apple trees are swelling.  The grapes didn’t get inspected very well, they need more time to show if they are going to survive or not.  There are quite a few green tops showing in the huge allium bed that got planted last fall, so even if everything that got planted doesn’t come up, there will still be plenty of garlic.  It’s really nice to see some green out there.  I need to check the soil temperature to figure out if I can plant potatoes yet.  This year, after planting, once the potatoes sprout, I want to start ‘hilling them up’ and covering them with some straw so the potatoes don’t turn green by being exposed to the sun.

The perennial beds next to the deck of the house are starting to show activity as well.  The peony that was planted last year is coming back.  There are four, reddish colored shoots peeking out from the mulch.  The roses in this bed look like they have survived as well.  I didn’t see anything on the Cheyenne Mock Orange shrub, but I said that last year and it came back like gangbusters.  The lambs ear has survived wonderfully well and I can’t wait for the iris to start blooming.  I got anxious yesterday and finally bought some pansies for the deck, but think I will keep them in the greenhouse for another week or two just to make sure the cold temps don’t take them out.

It’s also time to start clearing out the greens in the greenhouse.  There is a great crop of mesclun mix and microgreens, but the containers need to be cleaned out for the herbs that were started.  I just hope there is enough room for everything in that greenhouse.  This past Friday, some of the veggies that got started in a different greenhouse got transplanted out of the plug trays up to a larger size pot so they can start putting on some healthy roots.  Tomato varieties for this year include ‘Black Krim’, ‘Brandywine‘, ‘Speckled Roman’, ‘Italian Roma’ and ‘Zapotec’.  I may also try a couple of other varieties of tomatoes as well.  There are four varieties of eggplant, ‘Long Purple’, ‘Nadia’, ‘Beatrice’ and ‘Rosa Bianca’ along with about 6 different varieties of peppers.  I may have gone a bit overboard on the basil this year, planting 9 different types of basil, but it is a wonderful addition to most dishes, so I don’t think any will go to waste.   As usual, I have probably started too many veggies and herbs, but I can always give them to friends to plant if there is not enough space in the garden.

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Observations

Yeah!  The snow has finally melted from the garden (for the time being…….I have to remember this is only the middle of March and we still have about two and a half more months of winter left).  Today was the perfect opportunity to get out and see if anything is happening.  There is always hope that everything survived and will grow again.  Upon inspection, all of my grapevines (the 10 cold-hardy wine grapes and the 4 table grapes) are still firmly in the ground.  No buds were in evidence yet, but as I said, it’s early up here for them to start budding.  I may have lost one of the four apple trees.  The three most cold-hardy apple trees have buds that are starting to get a bit fuzzy.  Let’s hope they don’t pop too soon, or it could cause freeze/frost damage to newly formed leaves and flowers. 

In the allium bed, the only green that was present were the shallots.  They were planted as sets with leaves and roots already so that was expected.  The remainder of the allium bed still seems like it might be frozen.  The mulch under the top layer was still a bit crusty from the ice.  Hopefully, there was enough time between planting and our first snowstorm for the bulbs to produce enough roots to produce shoots this spring. 

The roses that had survived the last year of the trial are still in the ground, again, there were no buds on the canes, but it’s still really early in the season.  The new area that was tilled up last fall for the potatoes looks good……..like it’s ready to be planted, but not yet, too early up here.  There was also evidence of voles in the garden, but until it warms up enough to see what is growing and what isn’t, there is no way of knowing what kind of damage the voles have done.  The photo at right is the tunneling under the mulch of the allium bed, evidence of voles.

One surprise was the greenhouse.  Green and other lettuces had been planted last fall and some of the shallots and a couple of herbs were planted as well.  Since there was so much snow for the last few months, I hadn’t made it out to check on anything or water the plants.  Add to that the power was out for about 36 hours one weekend in December and the heater in the greenhouse wasn’t working and the temps at night went below zero, I just assumed everything was a goner.  What a treat when I got out there today and the shallots looked like they survived and the cilantro was still green and trying to grow.  The greens and lettuces, of course, were gone, but those got replanted today.    In another month or so, fresh greens will once again be on the dinner table.  Even if it does snow again, it most likely won’t stick around for more than a few days before melting to the point where you can walk about outside and get to the greenhouse to water the plants.  Next weekend I’ll be planting onion seeds outside.  They should do well up here. 

It felt great to get out in the garden today, even if there wasn’t much to see.  When planting and growing at this elevation, faith is pretty much a requirement.

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……and don’t trust your eyes when making a cursory inventory of the garden after winter.  It has been a beautiful weekend up in the mountains, very little wind, mild temperatures and no rain or snow.  So, it was time to get out in the garden and see what’s what.  The last post lamented the loss of some of my plants, but that was a bit premature.  A perennial bed by the stairs to the deck needed rehabilitation, so all the weeds were removed, composted horse manure added and it has been replanted along with 5 roses, 1 peony and a winecup to create an instant garden.  I discovered a russian sage (1 of the 2 from last year) that was starting to leaf out so it was replanted as well, and the lambs ear in this bed was coming back strong.  The annuals were put in the pots on the deck, mostly annual geraniums since the ground squirrels/chipmunks don’t care for those, and watered and fertilized.   

The perennial bed on the other side of the deck has been weeded (mostly) and both lavender plants are still going strong.  Only one lambs ear plant did not make it, but the other two are doing beautifully. The globe thistle is coming back as well as the Cheyenne Mock Orange shrub.   It is starting to leaf out nicely.   Hopefully the irises will bloom in another 2-3 weeks and they will be spectacular.  I know what you are thinking, haven’t the iris already bloomed?  Well, along the front range at the lower elevations, they have, but up here, they generally don’t bloom until mid-June to the first part of July.  The daffodils by the greenhouse didn’t even bloom until about 2 weeks ago. 

 Composted horse manure was also added to the potato patch and all of my spuds are planted as well as the shallots.  The aspen are starting to leaf out and are providing a nice, light green color in the background.  The only drawback to having the aspen leaf out is looking out and seeing how many have died and need to be cut down.  That is an entire summer project in itself.   

All in all, a very productive weekend in the garden.

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Coming up the driveway last night, I thought I saw something out of place in the rose garden.  I stopped the car and there WAS something in the garden that didn’t belong.  She stood there, very quietly, and stared at me while I fished for my camera.  I finally got photos of the rose-nibbling culprit from the car.  After I put the car in the garage and went out with my camera to take more photos, she just looked at me as if to say ‘you are interrupting my dinner’.  She did not appear to be frightened of me at all.  I’m sure she is not the only one who is munching on the roses, but she was the one caught on camera.

I did notice that she only nibbled on the roses that were out in the open.  The roses that are still alive and camouflaged by tall weeds have not been chewed on.   I guess there is the argument for not weeding the rose garden.  I may wait now until we get some cooler weather to finish weeding just so the deer won’t eat the rest of the roses.

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