The area where the beds are was once occupied by a very large bush of some sort. It wasn’t a nice bush, and it blocked the dogwood tree, so I had a tree crew remove it. You can see a little bit of it in the lower right corner of this photo … taken when we first looked at the house with our realtor in July 2002. My, my things have sure changed around here. (The ugly above-ground pool is gone, thank goodness.)
It looked like this after we cut down the ugly bush. The beds are sections of a 40' circle, made using string and marking paint, with the trunk of the dogwood tree as the center.
After we finalized the layout and the paths, I sprayed the grass inside the bed lines with herbicide. When the grass was dead, the husband used the rototiller to stir things up.
We spread a whole truckload of rabbit manure into the beds, which was a depth of about 2 inches. Friends of ours breed show rabbits, so rabbit manure is my organic amendment of choice. The husband tilled the beds again to mix it in, and I raked everything smooth.
Here are the pots of roses, all laid out in their correct places. The roses in these beds are placed on 3' centers. They're hybrid teas, which tend to grow up rather than out, so this spacing will create a lush look. Some of them haven't behaved as expected, others were mis-labeled and turned out to be climbers instead of shrubs. These will be moved when the weather cools this fall.
After the roses were planted, it was time to lay the irrigation lines. All of the roses in the gardens here are watered using drip irrigation. Layers of newspaper underneath the mulch helps to keep weeds from sprouting through … and it’s a fabulous way to recycle your old newspaper. (Look how tiny the roses are.)
Here is what it looked like after the roses had been in the ground for a few months.
... and a few months later.
and here's a close-up:
This whole process, from the beginning when I laid out the lines of these beds until I had roses in the ground, took about a month. It takes two weeks for the herbicide to completely kill the turf. It only took one day to plant all the roses (there's 80 of them in these beds), and I wouldn't recommend that pace to anyone. Fortunately the soil was in prime condition and easy to dig, but I still almost killed myself doing it. Add a few days to put down the newspaper, install the irrigation, lay the brick border, and mulch ... and you'll have a rose bed in no time.