Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Flowers: Changes in the Arcade Garden

Toward the middle of our property, we built a large structure that I call The Arcade (because it has arches).  This serves as a place for climbing roses along the 'path' to the Rose Field and English Garden beyond. 

Like the majority of my gardens now, The Arcade is suffering from lots of weeds and very little mulch.  Storms we had on Sunday made the soil perfect for pulling weeds and, while I was in a holding pattern for the plumbing consultation for The Shack on Wednesday ... I spent Monday and Tuesday getting this little garden back into shape.

I say "little" because it holds only ten roses ... not 'little' at all in reality.  The structure is 54 feet long and 10 feet high.  The bed that holds the roses is 7' wide.

Which roses, you ask? 

1.  'Pink Perpetue'

2.  'Rhode Island Red'

3.  'Sombreuil'

4.  'Isabella Skinner'

5.  'Henry Kelsey'

6.  'Swan Lake'

7.  'Parade'

8.  'Pink Pillar'

9.  'White Cap'

10.  'Compassion'

As I was pulling weeds, I decided that now is the perfect time to make some changes I have been thinking about.  First, though, I had to get the weeds out.

For the first couple of years, I was very happy with my rose choices on The Arcade.  Fast forward to 2013, and I think I'm in the mood for a little change.  Six of the ten roses here please me greatly.  There is nothing wrong with the other four, I just had the urge to switch things out ... to plant four different roses in this garden instead.  The roses that I am replacing are:



Cut back for transplanting.
'Isabella Skinner'

Cut back for transplanting.
'Henry Kelsey'

The tag is wrong.  I thought this rose was 'Heidelberg' when I planted it, and I never bothered to update the tag.
'Swan Lake'
The pink flowers are from the next rose 'Parade', arching over into Swan Lake's space.

Ready to transplant.
It is a fairly simple process to dig up an established rose.  Cut the rose back to a point where it is safe to work with, dig it up with as large a rootball as you can handle.  There's no artful spring pruning here ... just cut it back and dig it up.  I put these roses into large pots for now.  They should recover and start to grow again soon, and I plan to offer them for sale this fall.

I don't have photos of the flowers on the four new replacement roses yet ... they're too small and haven't flowered yet.  For the record, they are Movement, Pirontina, Orfeo, and Looping.  (each name links to that rose's page on Help Me Find, so you can see what they look like from other people's photos.)

With the weeds removed and new roses planted, it was time for mulch.  In the past, I used thick layers of newspaper under my mulch, but the soil here degrades anything organic like that at an unbelievable pace ... and soon I'm right back where I started, with weeds and nothing to help prevent them.  Landscape fabric under my nursery benches did a super job of smothering weeds for the past two years, so now I'm using it under any mulch that I apply.  I cut large holes in the landscape fabric for the roses, then I cover the holes with newspaper before adding mulch.

It's no surprise that my two day job stretched into an extra day.  By the end of Wednesday, I had made great progress.  All that's left to do now is to cut back 'Pink Pillar', 'Parade', and 'White Cap' so I can lay fabric and put mulch underneath them.  Can't do that right now, though, because there's a bird nest in 'White Cap' and I don't want to disturb it.

Accomplishments like this serve to fuel my motivation, and I'm all energized to keep at it and see how much of this place I can whip into shape.  Not resting on my success with The Arcade, on Thursday I attacked the roses and weeds in the Hybrid Tea Garden in the front yard (with the generous assistance of my friend Robert).  Weeds there are gone, Preen is applied to prevent any new sprouts, and the first two rows of landscape fabric are down.  Today, it is raining ... which forces me to stay in the house and take a day off from outside work ... but it loosens more weeds, so I get right back at it tomorrow.  (This is really therapeutic!)

What are you planning to do this weekend?


  1. It looks so clean and pretty. I will take #1, #6 and #9. They are my favorites.

  2. Sh!t, woman... I'm going to have to take a nap just reading about everything you've done!

  3. I'm in agreement with Ms. A ..... {{{{{{ YAWN }}}}}

    But seriously, I loved these before/after photos because I really enjoyed seeing how you prune your roses - I still have so much to learn. So Thank You!!

  4. It was interesting to see you mention Preen. Having never used it I would be interested in your experience with it. Is it a product that can be used around newly planted roses ?

  5. Just so none of you get the wrong idea ... I AM TIRED. It's a good type of tired, though, and I am enjoying the ride on this wave of enthusiasm.

    Don (I really need your email so I can send you more detailed replies). Preen is a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents weed seeds from sprouting. This old farm soil of ours has a bank of what seems like an infinite number of latent seeds, and I use it to give me an advantage in the battle against annual weeds. As far as I know, it should have no effect on newly planted roses if used properly.

  6. What an undertaking -- so much hard work and love I imagine spent completing the clean up. You are as amazing as your gorgeous roses. xo

  7. I love your arcade. In the photo, it's easy to see how Compassion is twirling around the post. You have made some great progress. I've been out trying to rid the garden of weeds, too. Never an easy job. I always heard not to put down landscape fabric because if you want to add bulbs or companions, it would be impossible to do so easily. But it sounds like it would really help with the weeds! And it sounds like you like it. Maybe I should think about putting it in some of my areas. Is there anything you don't like about it?

  8. It was fun reading about your weekend adventures. I know what you mean about the good kind of tired.

  9. SO gorgeous!! I'm in deep envy at the moment. Yes I've had a bad year with weeds too...just too much going on this summer! And my garden is only 30x20

  10. You know that the first time I visited your garden, I was so taken with the arcade, I want to create one. (need to talk to Bob), but let me know when you have that rose sale, wasn't it Henry Kelsey that pulled me in and took my heart? I like Sombreuil also. It looks lovely, makes me want to leave work right now to work in mine. Where you will find me most of this long weekend. Enjoy!


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