It's the beginning of a New Year and for many of us that means an annual list of New Year's resolutions. I took a moment to look up the word resolution at Dictionary.com and found this meaning:
- A resolve or determination:
- The act of resolving or determining upon an action of course of action, method, procedure, etc.
- The mental state of or quality of being resolved or resolute, firmness of purpose. Such lofty terms for my little garden, and yet it is a great idea to take stock of what you know needs to be done to ensure gardening success. Below are my rose garden resolutions for the New Year.
- I will have my soil tested. Roses thrive with a ph balance of about 6.5. Your local AG extension office offers an inexpensive (about $7) test that will provide you with valuable information about the soil you're growing in. Find a local AG extension office. The will provide a soil testing box for you to collect a soil sample. You scoop your soil in the box and mail it in. The results are back in just a few weeks.
- I will only purchase roses that will grow well in my climate. I am a sucker for a pretty rose and I have often found myself with a rose that doesn't perform well in my growing zone because I failed to do the research prior to venturing out. Why not check out the RoseChat group on Facebook or follow the #RoseChat hashtag on twitter. Ask questions in these forums and you'll receive responses from growers in your area and from around the globe.
- I resolve to only plant roses in well draining soil and in a sunny location receiving at least four to six hours of sun per day. Roses hate two things: Wet feet and shade. Planting roses in poor draining soil will result in a dead rose. A quick drain test: Pour 1 gallon of water into the planting hole. If the water dissipates in one hour, you're good to go. If not, move to higher ground… Roses planted in partial shade and shaded areas will produce a nice green shrub, but few if any blooms. Roses need bright sun for bloom production.
- I will allow beneficial insects to do their job before resorting to harmful sprays. Insects like ladybugs are great helpers in the garden and go a long way in eliminating aphids, spider mites, and other tiny insects. If ladybugs are not plentiful in your garden, you can order them online for about $10 and release them into your garden space. If you have small children; why not create a "rite of spring" ladybug release event. It could serve as a teaching moment on environmentally friendly gardening. You kids and your roses will thank you!
- I will deadhead repeat blooming roses to maximize bloom power! The act of snipping off spent blooms at the closest five leaf set below a spent bloom is the best way to encourage new growth and more blooms on your roses. You'll enjoy blooms from spring till fall.
Hopefully, I can keep these resolutions and they will help me eliminate some of the frustrations often experienced in the garden. What have you resolved to do this year in the garden? I'd love to hear from you.
Our gardens are experiencing a winter rest and the seed, plant and rose catalogs are pouring in daily. I look at it as a rite of winter; "The Gathering Ye Gardening Catalogs". Gardeners seem to thrive on the hope of next year's blooms. The winter catalog blitz offers a glimmer of the sunny days of spring that are surely just around the corner and make the dreary days of winter just a little bit brighter.