Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Does One Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time, of course.

This old saying is perfect for describing the project that I began over the weekend ... yet another attempt at reclaiming the Rose Field, my largest and most neglected and overgrown garden.

The garden looked like this in the spring of its second year in May 2009.

The best way to solve a problem is to acknowledge it, and I am doing so publicly.  My Rose Field is a garden in name only right now.  The lovely new garden that you see in the photo above had fatal flaws ... no ground cloth under the gravel paths, beds that are too narrow and without edging, roses planted too close together, etc.  (I have learned so much about how to prep and build gardens here since I did this one.)  Maintenance was more than I could handle, weeds and brush and seedling trees got ahead of me and my poor garden disappeared.  Without drastic measures, I am afraid that this garden will be gone forever.

Same view, photo taken on July 19, 2014

A few weeks ago, I had an idea for how to remake the beds in this garden.  As I get farther along, I will show you exactly how the new plan will work.  For now, the beginning of the process is to locate and dig out the roses in one section of the garden at a time, then bush-hog and spray herbicide on that section to clear the ground for the new paths and beds.

My husband and I got started with this over the weekend.

There he is, diving in with our DR walk-behind bushhog.

We cleared an area about 40' x 50' and the whole 150' aisle through the center of the garden.  Roses that were in this area were moved to other gardens on the property or are living in pots for a while.

I left that one rose you see in place because it was pretty large, had grown back really well from a lot of winter damage, and I didn't want to risk killing it by digging it up.

Center aisle, looking from the barn toward the house.

Can I keep at it and actually get something accomplished in this garden this time?  I think so.  I believe that I have a viable plan to correct the mistakes I made with my initial design, my husband is available to help me with whatever I need him to do, and I am determined to bring this garden back from the brink. 

As I said at the beginning of this post ... one bite at a time.  


  1. I really appreciate this post. I've been looking the other way from my garden all year. I didn't design it as much as just plant it. It needs an overhaul and I'm dreading it. But I need to just get in and do it. Impressed by your fortitude as always! That rose field will be spectacular!

  2. Well if anyone can do it you can! I've seen you accomplish some amazing things woman! Can't wait to see! Hugs! deb

  3. I love my DR. (Technically, it's my grandmother's DR. She's 90, and it has found a home in my garage.) It is a necessary first step in seeing what you have to deal with. Good luck with this project. If anyone can do it, I know you can!

  4. I can remember seeing photos before you even planted them. They were all in pots in your driveway. Are you staring to feel over whelmed? (just joking) But I know I started with doing every thing myself and ended up with me, two other people weeding and a lawn guy. cha-ching!

  5. Not overwhelmed, Grouchy, dear ... empowered! I was overwhelmed and a bit lost for a while with this, but I think I have a direction and some motivation and a really achievable goal. We will see how it goes.

  6. I loved this post and how it shows the huge difference between my native California and anywhere that gets rain!
    If I neglect any place in my garden it turns brown then to dirt as there isn't enough moisture to sustain a weed.
    Even the green of your weeds appeals to my arid, drought stricken, gardeners soul.
    Sorry... my drama queen soul is peaking out!
    Can't wait to see what you do with this space!

  7. Wow, thank you for sharing the before, during and after of this rose garden.

    I'd say you two got a lot accomplished so far and the dream will soon be a beautiful reality.

    I love those arches.

    This post encourages me to take little bites at a time on my own property clean up and gardening. It can be overwhelming at times.

    Thank you ~FlowerLady

  8. Holy cow, that's a big garden! I would be paralyzed if faced with that project. I have no doubt you will eventually make this beautiful and I look forward to seeing the results.

  9. Connie,
    I am beginning to more fully appreciate what it means to maintain garden areas with hundreds of roses. Yet, preservation has great personal rewards.

  10. Weeds can take over so fast!! Fortitude -- you have it.

  11. Whew! You've got yourself a job there. Our gravel walkways need to be redone. We cringe just thinking about it.

  12. Wow Connie, that's a major task! I think I would feel so overwhelmed I would not know where to begin. I will follow your progress so I will be inspired to keep my garden beds under control.

  13. I too need your inspiration...I am claiming my gardens a little at a time. :)

  14. I read your blog regularly (daily) and pour over the photos of your roses. I figured you would appreciate someone sayin' they are readin' and gatherin' knowledge from your passions. Thank you for supplyin' inspiration!


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