A few weeks ago, while the garden was still in the depth of winter sleep, I had a landscaper come and discuss ripping it all out and putting in a few shrubs and more grass. As we get older and jobs continue to take up all of our time and energy, I thought it was time to strip out the roses and plant something that took less upkeep.
While I was contemplating the thousands of dollars it would take to destroy the garden I had worked on for years, spring flush hit last week.
White Iceberg still waiting to bloom
Quietness as lovely as ever
Easy Does It never disappoints...
So, I have changed my mind and will be keeping the garden. But making some changes. I will be shovel pruning all of my hybrid teas. Yes, even you Mr. Lincoln with your gorgeous red, as big as my head, fragrant blooms.
The side garden has gotten really bad with the last few winters. I'll only be keeping a few of these babies. The boxwood have been thriving and really need to be cut back over here. I have big plans for this side of the garden and will keep you posted.
This side garden in 2013 for reference:
Note the Dr. Huey that has overtaken this one...
If you want a rose that will stay glorious with complete neglect, horrid winters, blackspot craziness and summer droughts, pick Heaven on Earth. The name is fitting. I will be keeping her.
2 years ago we planted the little front David Austin garden and I have to say, it is doing really well. If you've ever considered The Alnwick Rose or Princess Alexandria of Kent, run and buy them. They are looking fantastic this year. It really does take 3 years to see the fruits of your labor. I'm going to assume that next year will be outstanding for this bed.
Princess Alexandria of Kent huge, fragrant pink blooms:
The Alnwick Rose. Cupped, large blooms, the bush stands upright and growing tall. Like this habit versus the sprawling...
The back bed of David Austins has been declining over the last few years and we pulled a few that didn't make it through this last winter, including all of the beautiful Abraham Darbys that the winter killed. Now it's just 2 Golden Celebrations that need some love and a Christopher Marlowe. We planted three quick fire hydrangeas behind them to fill up the space. We'll see how it goes. I have a few empty holes that need to be filled...will think about that.
Here's what I have learned...wait to fertilize! I waited this year because I basically forgot and fertilized about 4 weeks before bloom, so first weekend in May. Roses were green and had buds so thought is was too late. Nope. Prune around this same time. I think I had been doing both way too early for my zone. Pull out the roses that are looking sickly so you have room for the healthy, vigorous ones like Quietness and Easy Does It. And....although everyone says it and I just hadn't listened.....Hybrid Tea roses have a shelf life (at least in my zone). Plant them, enjoy them for awhile and then shovel prune. And don't feel guilty doing it!