Gratuitous rose photo that has nothing to do with this post. :)
I was sorting through the photos here on the laptop, trying to decide what to write about since almost all of my posts are driven by the pictures ... and I thought you might be interested to see the story of how my Rose Field came to be.
When we moved to this house in October 2007, the area where the Rose Field is now was a former vegetable garden, 80 by 160 feet (24 x 49 meters), and it was completely overgrown by blackberry brambles, honeysuckle, and every other manner of weed. It required a lot to prepare the area for its next life as a rose garden. We had to use a bushhog to mow down the thick brush to a manageable height, spray everything with Round-up, plow it ...
... disk it, till it, raise the individual rows, and let it all settle so the latent weeds would germinate. After a final application of Round-up, and the prescribed waiting period, the ground was perfect! (I hired the plowing, tilling, and sculpting part of this. I'm a menace on the tractor and I avoid using it if at all possible.)
There are almost 300 roses planted in this garden, laid out in rows by class. One Saturday in June 2008, my friend Robert came over to help me start planting. We consulted my carefully-scribbled plan and laid out the pots of roses in their designated locations. (See our neighbors' beautiful vineyard in the background?)
We got to about the point in the photo below, when my neighbor came over and offered to dig the holes for us ...
... with his tractor-mounted auger. This made the work go SOOO much faster. This auger dug a hole that exactly fit a one-gallon plant, and the backfill was all powdery and ready to put into the hole around the rose.
By the end of the day, Robert and I had planted about half of the field. By the end of the summer, I finished planting the rest of the roses myself.
I hired a strong young man to line all the paths with crushed stone. It took three dumptruck loads of stone to do the whole field ... all of which was hauled one wheelbarrow load at a time.
In this photo, you can see the tubing for the drip irrigation system that waters the roses.
After all the paths were finished, and the rows of roses covered with mulch, I was really pleased with the way this garden was coming together.
In the center of each row of roses is a pair of crossed rebar arches that form a tunnel down the center aisle of the garden. The pipes you see are driven about two feet into the ground, and the arch is slipped down into the pipe.
By late summer 2009, the roses didn't look so much like babies anymore. At this point, we still had a few arches left to do.
In spring 2010, at the beginning of their third year in the ground, the roses were poised to put on a spectacular show.
I wish someone would invent a way for me to include the fragrance with these photos.
Looking at these photos, and remembering all the pleasure that I get from this garden, makes me wish even harder that spring were here. Most mornings while the weather is warm, I can be found wandering the rows, coffee cup in hand, spending quality time with my roses. This time of year, I stare longingly at them through the window from my warm house.
I can't wait to see what this year brings!
Now that you have seen the development of my garden, run over to see what others are sharing at Modern Country Style. Thank you, Sarah, for hosting ... and for giving all of us such a lovely dose of summer.