14 April 2005

Bringing Roses to My Garden

This week I planted six tiny rose bushes in the front bed. I've been wanting roses for what feels like forever and my mother has had really good luck with hers so, over the winter, I finally committed myself to a long term relationship with the Jackson & Perkins catalog. I eventually settled on "Feisty," because I wanted something that would stay short (3.5') and sprawl a bit (2') and wouldn't arrive bare root. Pots I understand, and so pots I stuck with.

I spent some afternoons this week pulling out most of the old vegetation in the front bed. Felt horrible about tossing the black hollyhocks and the lavender cotton in the compost, but had no place to transplant them and they had never really worked out where they were, anyway. The lavender cotton just sort-of sprawled allover its companions and smothered them to death, while the hollyhocks grew at a diagonal, because they didn't get enough sun where they were. After I cleared the bed, I worked in six bags of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Roses, because I'm not taking any chances. It's mostly peat moss, manure, and bone meal, with a "wetting agent" to keep the roses happy. Mmmm, better living through chemistry.

When the plants arrived this afternoon, they were all in really good shape. I've had other plants delivered by UPS that look like they'd been trod on, but these were perfect. Two were in bloom and the rest all had blossoms. I suppose this isn't the best thing -- the roses may be putting all their energies into blooming, rather than rooting, but it gives me that instant gratification I crave.

They are so twee, though. I look at them and think they cannot possibly fill the bed, but I'll keep watering and fertilizing them and we'll see what they look like in a month. I do need to mulch the bed before it gets too warm so that the little darlings don't crispify, but first I need to get some blue or violet calibrachoa (pseudo-petunias) to plant along the front of the bed. Then, of course, I have to make myself not buy any more plants for that bed (except, maybe, some crocus bulbs in the autumn). Usually, I go a bit overboard planting everything that takes my fancy (and I can afford) and then half of it gets smothered by its mates or gets some funny infestation. No, this time, I have a plan and I'm sticking with it.

With that bed, anyway.