Like some of my other gardens, the Rambler Fence was overlooked for a while (years, in fact) and it became like this:
In my imagination, I could see that it could be beautiful this again, but it was going to take some drastic measures.
Old photo, when 'Leontine Gervais' was nearly perfect.
How's this for drastic?
For the past few months, I have been clearing the fence by cutting the ramblers back to only a few canes. Duplicate roses, like 'Albertine' and 'Paul Transon', were removed ... replaced by 'Queen of the Prairies' and 'Shower of Gold' from the Pot Ghetto. Dead Tea roses have been dug out. (The winter of 2013 was much colder than average, and my tall, mature Tea Roses were cut almost to the ground by freeze damage. 2014's winter froze them again and few of them recovered.) I replaced some of these right away (more roses out of the Pot Ghetto) and other empty places will be filled with roses from last year's propagation ... which aren't ready to be outside on their own quite yet.
Last fall, I realigned and expanded the east end of this garden. It used to follow the fence in an eight-foot-wide strip. Now, the fence makes a corner and the bed continues straight ... which gave me room for ten new roses in that space! I planted the roses last fall. They're really small, but they're already putting on some new growth.
The part of the bed to the right of the red line is the new section.
Yesterday (Thursday), I faced a situation where I had no choice. My truck was full of a new load of two yards of mulch, rain was predicted for Friday, and I need my truck to be empty for a nursery run on Saturday. It will be no surprise to you that I challenged myself spread all that mulch to empty the truck by the end of the day ... by myself, because there was no help available.
First, I freshened up the old mulch from last fall in the expanded part of the garden by adding a scant one-inch of fresh mulch over the old.
I wanted this LONG garden to have a unified look when I was finished, instead of the patchwork mulch that was there when I started.
Last year's faded mulch, last month's not-quite-so faded mulch, and last week's load of new mulch.
You can see the new roses a little bit better in this photo ... they're so tiny.
Four-and-a-half hours after I started, the truck was empty. I allowed time for water breaks and lunch, but I was still completely spent by the time I finished.
What I have now is a large expanse of what looks like bare mulch. I don't like it like this. I hold onto the promise that it will soon be filled with roses, and that this emptiness will be a thing of the past.
Panoramic photo of the finished bed. My new iPhone totally rocks!
As I said in the title of this post, today I will rest. Moving so much mulch by myself probably wasn't a wise thing to do. It wore me out, and my shoulders are protesting. It is raining today, which forces me to do things other than yard work. I welcome the break ... as I look out the window and see the results of my effort ... and I am raring to get back out there and do more ... as soon as I can. It's spring, and this is how I roll.