Thursday, March 21, 2013

A glorious day

The joy of spreading mulch today was almost overwhelming. It was a crystal clear, blue sky day after a good rain last night that gave us half an inch of the precious wet stuff. The temperature was amazingly pleasant and on the cool side at about 70F with a breeze. And I had the power of music in my pocket for soothing and invigorating this usually weary gardener in the tedious tasks that we all engage in. Before I started listening last Saturday to an old favorite album on my Android phone via earbuds, every forkful and each loaded wheelbarrow were a discouragement because I knew they weren’t the last one. But now I literally bounce on my way – to the beat. This particular album that I repeat non-stop is so joyful that when done today I sat on the front porch for a while longer, unwilling to go in and turn off the music.

Providentially, the album is entitled A Beautiful Place by Wayne Watson. Yes, it is.
And this pile of free wood chips is getting more beautiful by the day. I reached the summit today, almost six feet high, and now I'm on my way down.
After the hard rain last night I felt sure that I've seen the last of the falling oak leaves, so I was excited to get the blower for my first task today.
Is this a thrilling sight? Or is it just me?
Leaves are wonderful organic material, but they belong in the beds not on the gravel. Messy, messy.
So pretty. And look where the shadow is... at the edge of the patio. The sun is moving north, so the shadow is moving south. Yay!
I've been taking photos steadily since my last blog post - with the messy leaves. Hardly worthy of publication.
This pic shows that a lady gardener can have a tidy garden at the same time as she has clean bathrooms and folded laundry. Like I said...powerful music.
I wish you had been with me today to share the beauty.
Everything looks so much better. Or is it just me?
My spirit was soaring today!
If I could include every new detail in the garden, you would not be able to get your chores done! This is one of my new acquisitions, 'Heirloom', a bareroot, grafted Hybrid Tea rose bought at Aldi for $4.99. She's beautiful already.
Basal breaks are appearing throughout the garden. I'm so excited about this one on 'Mrs. B. R. Cant'. She hasn't had one in a couple of years. The sticks are my anti-squirrel defense which I need to make higher tomorrow.
Here's Mrs BR in her entirety after I severely pruned her in mid-February. That cane on the left may not be viable. I'm waiting to see. She's on Fortuniana rootstock which I don't like but which is probably keeping her alive and able to compete with the tree roots that surround her. Oak is strong but Fortuniana is stronger!
'Polonaise' is an especially beautiful plant in spring.
I don't think I get thrilled that easy, but today was a thrilling day. A basal break on 'Maman Cochet' made my day. The squirrel defense isn't pretty, but it sure is wonderful.
This is 'Naga Belle', new to the garden last November, with two basal breaks! I'm thinkin' the Epsom salts have definitely kicked in.
You know that I love my roses, but I also love my daylilies, and last year they did not have a good year. The gardener dropped the ball and let them down, but this winter she has fertilized them meticulously and in general loved on them a whole lot. They're looking really good. The early ones have flower scapes already. Guess what...I'm thrilled again.
'Bow Belles' got cut in half by my pruning in February. Fingers crossed, I was hoping she wouldn't mind, and judging by the vast amount of new growth all up and down her canes she didn't mind at all. This year she's got more sun, so my hopes are high.
Both of my 'Clotilde Soupert' bushes are greening up nicely. Again, the finished pruning wound up reducing her by at least half, not deliberately. That's just how it worked out, trying to keep her from looking like a mutilated Crape Myrtle. The red spots are on a 'Red Ruffles' azalea behind the rose.
Another new addition to the front garden, 'Darcey Bussell', a David Austin rose. Reputed to be an excellent bloomer and healthy in our hot summer. He's definitely been a vigorous baby since February. This is only half of him. I really loaded the new roses with bananas - sometimes whole ones and sometimes just several peels.
'Souvenir de la Malmaison' has just a few flower buds, but she's dropped most of her old, yellow leaves, so she's on her way.
'Rosette Delizy' is growing like many baby Teas, low and wide, but she's bushier than she was the first time I grew her...and perfectly healthy. She's about four months in the ground.
This shot is pre-blower, but it shows (left to right) 'Mme Lombard' in the rear, two 'Souv de la Malmaison' bushes, 'Darcey Bussell' in back next to and behind the larkspur, and 'Curly Pink', the ever-shrinking one, in front of the larkspur. I think Curly has settled in finally. I was about to put her in a pot to prevent her soon demise. And 'Anda' in the pot on the right.
It's very emotional for me to see 'Le Vesuve' adding to herself instead of subtracting. New canes down low are marvelous to see. Old yellow leaves drop and are not disease. Typical of Teas and Chinas, she's very healthy except for her recent dieback problems, and maybe they're gone.
Another thrill!! New growth on old wood on 'Le Vesuve', pointing toward the half of her that is gone.
'Maggie', planted a year ago last month, is loaded with lots of new basal growth in her middle. She only had a half dozen or so canes before this, going in all directions and about three and a half feet long. There's even a flower bud in there. As I was mulching around her today, I was moaning a bit to myself about all the baby roses that are in my garden, wondering why I can't manage to have more full-grown roses. In a split second Someone reminded me of my initial mission for this blog... to help new rose gardeners in Florida, so what better way is there to show them what growing babies are like? And I said, "Oh. You're right. Thank you." Do you think that means I have His blessing? For the first time I believe I do.
'Sherry Lane Carr' showing her early stuff. She'll still be blooming in July. Such a wonderful daylily, if I do say so myself... since we share the same name. Just switch the L for a J.
'Maman Cochet, Climbing' is slower responding to her pruning, but then the silly gardener forgot her when putting out the sludge and again when spreading the composted horse manure. I have a bag of Black Kow for her and plenty of sludge. She's next on my to-do list.
Here she is again up against the blue sky.
Bits of new growth are popping out more and more. These are less than an inch long.
That's a 1x2 she's trying to get past. What a pretty thing. Pray that the squirrels don't see it.
Is that a triple? I'm getting thrilled again.
'Reve d'Or' on the other hand jumped right on it and is goin' to town!
Even has a basal break! Gotta get more sticks!
Lots of red new growth on 'Reve d'Or'. DH asked me today if she's going to get big again. I said, "Uh-yeah."
It probably seems odd to you that I'm spreading mulch while I still have plants to plant, namely clematis. What can I say? I only have one more day to be finished with the mulch and I was on a roll, didn't want to be flittin' all over the place without finishing the last job, figured I'd just push the mulch aside, try not to make a mess with the dirt, and be done with it. Since becoming a gardener, I've learned that I can only do so many things at one time, and even that many isn't enough because there's always something else that needs to be done right now when you're the only gardener on the place. Such is life.
A cutting. It's still green since mid-February. I think that bodes well for it. Another thrill... it's 'Madame Abel Chatenay'!!!!!!!!!
Clematis 'Maria Cornelia' got her own obelisk after 'Red Cascade' left the garden over the winter.
Another baby Tea, 'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux'. I'm excited about him, too.
This is compost not mulch yet. Left to right in the ground, 'Clotilde Soupert', Rhodologue behind the pot, three 'Hermosa' bushes, beyond them is 'Duquesa', and leaning to the right a grafted 'Chrysler Imperial'. Get this, I pruned the Hermosas with hedge clippers! And they didn't mind a bit.
Can you find the flower, the only flower in the garden? As I said, I was sitting on the front porch, and what did I see?
This garden is just a thrill a minute, don't ya think? 'Clotilde Soupert, Climbing'. What could be nicer?

The garden was a beautiful place today. And I'm so glad I was in it.


  1. Oh Sherry ~ I feel your joy and excitement with visiting you here this morning. Everything looks wonderful and all of the new growth on your roses is really exciting. I know just how you feel.

    Happy spring and happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine, isn't it a good thing that joy is contagious?? I love sharing it with you. Happy gardening right back to you!

  2. Your garden beds are just gorgeous! Yes it was a great day yesterday. I hated being at work instead of outside.

    1. Crybug, thank you for saying they look gorgeous. I didn't show you any close-ups of the mulch - forgot, but the beds look like debris fields with lots of sticks and unshredded stuff. Oh, well, it was free and it's wood. I ain't proud. I can definitely live with it. Hope you have a beautiful weekend in your garden!

  3. It's fun to read your post, you really sound very excited and are thrilled about the garden. Your roses all look so very healthy and are growing...... Here it is even still too cold to prune them, it is spring but winter won't stop. I am really looking forward to the new growth of my roses.
    Wish you happy gardening!

    1. Oh, could you tell I was excited, Janneke? lol Spring is coming to you, too - slow but sure. It's even supposed to be near freezing her tonight. Silly weather!! I wish winter would go away! Happy gardening to you, too!

  4. Yesterday was definitely a beautiful day to work in the garden. There's nothing like freshly mulched garden beds and yours look fresh and new. It won't be long before your garden is one beautiful bloom after another. Good luck with your daylilies this spring. It sounds like they're going to be happy, happy, happy this year. :-)

    1. Yes, Susan, freshly mulched beds are wonderful. Apparently, the armadillos love them, too. They hit two in the back the first night like bulldozers. I think I'll put up some chicken wire on that shade bed across the back and block that one big entrance from the field. Happy, happy wishes to you, too!!

  5. WOW!! The pile of free wood chips is awesome.