more catchup – the garden

Wednesday, May. 05, 2004 – 3:09 p.m.

2004-05-05 3:09

Garden-related Activities

So back at Thanksgiving, I managed to get dirt into the new bed. This gave it a chance to settle, hydrate (since it was pretty dry coming out of the bags), and for new microflora to go. In the mean time, I was going to decide what new roses to get and how to rearrange things. Among my plans were the idea of moving the Rosa Mundi to a different location where it would not conflict with so many other bushes. I have been thinking that perhaps the reason that the Dolly Parton has not done so well is because it is overshadowed by the Rosa Mundi. The Rosa Mundi is also growing into the Rembrant.

I sent a fair amount of time over the winter researching what roses I want to get and prioritizing what to get this year vs next and so forth. I also looked at the three “local” vendors (Roses Unlimited, Ashdown Roses, and Almost Heaven Roses) to see which vendor has what roses for sale. There were a number of overlaps but each had some that the others didn’t. As I said before, I had hoped to get roses, or at least talk to each of these vendors, at the winter meeting. Oh well, that didn’t happen. Then I hurt my hand and that changed things.

With the injury, I was not in a position where I could move roses before they broke dormancy. However, I did get a change to spray once with Lime-Sulfur spray (not that I remember the date.) For a while, I was afraid that I would not be able to do ANY planting this spring but I am now thinking that I was perhaps being overly pessimistic.

As I said before, I rescued about 20 bushes from Astor Perry’s yard in late February. There were some pretty big bushes so a number would not fit in the pots I had with me. They got most of the dirt removed from their roots and the roots were bundled in garbage bags. As it was, I filled up the Mazda with them. I don’t think I could have gotten any more, at least not in a single trip. I also got three lengths of soaker hose from Astor’s house as well. Since most of them were bare root, they either got planted in the new bed or in buckets (I drilled holes in the bottoms of kitty-litter buckets) for the time being. There were a lot of names I don’t remember and someplace I actually have a list… but not here right now… but these are the ones I remember: 3 large Peace, Double Delight, Alex’s Red, First Flight (one of Astor’s and the only one I plan to keep), Patrician, and Olympiad. I will post the full list when I find it. Most of these are going to Muir’s new house, once the bed is built for them. Given that I will probably be the one building it, I am figuring that it will be fall before it is ready so I have got these roses for this year. This would also allow them to be moved when dormant, which should be significantly less stressful both on them and me.

My New Roses

Although I have a bunch of temporary tenants in my new bed, I did manage to buy a number of new bushes for this year:

  • Austrian Copper: This is the bicolor version of R. foetida and I found it at Walmart, of all places.

  • Belle de Crecy: a mauve Gallica.

  • Cardinal Richlieu: a deep red Damask.

  • Chaucer: a light pink David Austin rose.

  • Eugene de Beauharnais: a deep red China (it was one of these that I bought and lost at the winter meeting.)

  • Francesca: an apricot yellow Hybrid Musk; with a name like that, how could I pass it up?

  • General Jacqueminot: a deep red Hybrid Perpetual

  • Nur Mahal: a medium red Hybrid Musk; I have heard that hybrid musks may do ok in partial shade so I thought I would test one and see. This one is listed as a “mannerly climber” by Antique Rose Emporium.

  • Souvenir de la Malmaison: a light pink (almost white) Bourbon.

  • Souvenir de St. Anne’s: a light pink Bourbon.

All of these are own root (well, the Austrian Copper is probably grafted) and fairly small. I have repotted them into larger pots and buried those in the ground in the new bed and I am planning to let them grow out for the summer and then I will reposition them over the winter. Of these, only the Austrian Copper is period and, come to think of it, it is actually a sport of the plain yellow Austrian Brier (Rosa foetida). However, it should give me a chance to see what the fragrance really is like.

Spray Program

As I mentioned before, I did get one dose of Lime-Sulfur spray in while the weather was still cold. I am thinking that I sprayed the roses from Astor’s so that would have made it the third week of February. A little late but given that it was pretty warm through Christmas, there was not much to do about it.

I also started my fungicide spray program in mid March, the 21st I think, the week after I did the pruning in early March (I remember that I did the pruning after my hand was injured). This was my first time using Banner-Max and I added a contact fungicide, Manzate (or Mancozeb) to it. Then on April 9, I came home from work and sprayed before it got dark, this time using the fungicide by Spectracide (the name is escaping me).

With the addition of a number of new plants, I am realizing that I am going to have to get a new sprayer. My current sprayer only holds 2.5 gallons (really 2 gallons) and I don’t really want to stop in the middle and go mix up another batch. I suppose I could mix up a big batch in a bucket but that seem like it is a way of exposing myself to even more of the chemicals. Not a good idea. So, I have been looking at what is available in sprayers. They fall into three categories:

  • Backpack Sprayers: They hold 4-5 gallons, which is the right size for what I am thinking, and have handle that allows you to pump them while on your back. The downside is one now has that chemicals behind you, on your back, where one might not notice a leak.

  • Rolling sprayers: These are relatively new; again they are about 4 or 5 gallons but they have wheels that allow you to roll them around the garden so you don’t have to lift the tank. Some of them even pressurize by rolling rather than having to pump them up. Sound like a good idea but how well does it work and will the pressurization mechanism stand up to use?

  • Power Sprayers: There are a number of sprayers on the market that use electric pumps to spray the chemical mix. This has the advantage that 1) the tank doesn’t need to pressurize; 2) no pumping; 3) much larger capacity. The downside is cost. These things generally run a couple of hundred bucks. We are looking at professional equipment here. Many are too big for what I want to do (12-15 gallons or larger) and have to be hauled by a lawn tractor. I did find one that fit the bill for me almost exactly. It was the right size and the price was only about $100 bucks; it used rechargeable batteries and was from Black & Decker. The problem is they no longer make them. They were available back before Christmas but when I went looking two weeks ago, I couldn’t find one anywhere. An email to B&D confirmed that the product has been discontinued. [sigh]

In terms of availablility, I could go to Home Depot or the like and get a backpack unit but the rolling one I would have to mailorder. No decision yet…