Posts Tagged With: roses

February Thaw

The sun is shining for the first time in recent memory, and the thermometer is at a relatively balmy 43 degrees. This would be the perfect day to take out my pruners and start lopping back shrubs…

Except I have the cold from hell. It is 1:30 in the afternoon, and I have just crawled out of a bedroom lair full of Kleenex, Airborne, water glasses, and a cat who moves into my spot on the bed every time I sit up to blow my nose. Given that I woke up with a fever, I'm thinking any kind of outdoor activity is out.

Plus I'm too scattered to really focus on anything. That's particularly unfortunate, as I am supposed to present a seminar about rose growing at the store tomorrow. I've done my research, but I still have to compile it. And let me tell you, roses are not a subject you distill down into a half hour of highlights.

I have acquired Smith & Hawken's two rose books–100 Old Roses for the American Garden and 100 English Roses for the American Garden–which contain everything I need. I wish I had had them before I started ordering roses for my own garden. They're out of print, but it's amazing what you can find at Half Price Books.

The photography in particular is wonderful, and now I'm trying to determine if I can squeeze in a couple of English roses. I already have in the old rose category a Mdme Isaac Piere and a Reine Victoria, as well as three pink Knock Outs in the back and three red Knock Outs in the front. A yellow English Rose might look great with the caryopeteris in front of the garage.

And I'll definitely try self-pegging this year. If you gently lash the ends of your rose branches down to the stems of the bush, the growth hormones get trapped in the stems and then you get flowers all along the stem instead of just at the end. Plus it helps keep the rose in bounds, particularly helpful when you're dealing with the English roses, which get a lot bigger in America's warmer climate than they do in their homeland.

So I suppose I'll crawl back into bed with plant catalogs and allow my fevered brain to rest on the upcoming growing season for a while. I'll work on my seminar the next time I drag myself out of bed. Hopefully the worst of this cold will pass by tomorrow. 

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