Sunday Sentiments ~ Planting Roses & Late Winter Garden Clean-Up

First up, Happy Sunday evening, dear friends! I totally missed Share Your Style this week due to sheer exhaustion from work. I am sooo sorry! Our kiddos have been really amped up with our main teacher out ill these past couple of weeks, and they have been in extra fight mode, so… SYS should be back this Wednesday for you.

This is going to be a big post, too, since I haven’t posted for a while. House hunting with my mother-in-law and spending most nights being with her at our home, I just haven’t been writing (or photographing). Good news! She found a lovely 1500 sq. foot house and her offer was accepted last week. She closes tomorrow and did her walk-through and inspection today!!

Even though I’ve spent many weekends since January 1st house shopping with my mother-in-law, I have been out gardening. Two weekends ago, I planted three English roses I ordered in April 2021 into pots.

When I went to order them last year, because so many people were seeking solace and peace in their gardens while working from home and staying home with Covid restrictions, there were no more orders available for Texas. I was just too late!

I’d never experienced not being able to order roses like this before (as probably many of us found out this past year), but spent the rest of the year knowing exactly where I would put in climbers along our south wall.

Along our home’s south-facing wall: digging nice big holes!

The second set of English roses arrived the following week so then I was able to outside planting over the Presidents’ holiday weekend. It felt really good to be outdoors, even if it was windy and a bit cold!

The sun was out and it felt warmer than it has all winter. Clouds would often scuttle over the sun, so having a jacket around to take off and put back on was really helpful!

Setting bareroot roses to soak

Digging the holes

A little planting booklet which came with each box of roses shared good rose planting tips. It said to dig the hole 16″ deep and twice as wide, so that’s what I did. Each of the roses came as bare root and had many really large and long roots. I did no trimming and just plunged each plant into water for 2+ hours to soak up a good amount of water before planting them.

For each hole, I used a couple of handfuls of homemade compost in the bottom of each rose’s hole, then mixed a few handfuls of bagged compost plus more of my own fully and semi-composted dirt into the native soil (caliche clay, a very heavy soil). Because North Texas’ clay is really heavy ~ it is one of the main components of cement ~ I also added in a lot of vermiculite and a clay-busting additive that I found two years ago. This made a lovely soil which looks like it will drain well. 🙂

The David Austin planting booklet said to use a stake laid horizontally to use as a guide for where to position the rose crown. I wish I’d had known that information when I planted the other roses I pulled out of pots when I first made the flowerbed underneath our bedroom window three years ago!

Their crowns are several inches above the ground… (uh oh!) After we move the south fence this spring, I’ll be moving those roses out to get more sun and putting in more shade-tolerant plants back in their spots.

Anyway, I tucked in these roses, added the compost mix then gave them a good soak with rain water and hose water (when the former ran out).

Getting ready to dump leaves and acorns after sieving the dirt out by the west fence.
The sieved dirt 🙂

Cleaning and clearing

Next, over this whole month, I’ve cleaned up a ton of leftover leaves which had blown against the south fence and along the new west fencing we installed over by the new shed. They were leftover from this fall’s leaf dump, which was really nice to get cleaned up. (Two full green waste bins full!)

I raked out a lot of oak leaves while I was out planting here in February, too, but since then I’ve had to pack some leaves back around some plants’ root zone and trunks to protect their trunks and early leaves from hard freezes.

Ahhhh! Nice and clean!
Early January getting up leaves from the south garden and compost area.

I’ve been using leaves to protect most of our plants from winter freeze damage here in North Texas ~ something I rarely had to do in Southern California. In So Cal our lowest temps were in the mid-20’s F, but here in North Texas we’ve had temps down to 7 degrees with windchill of -12 degrees Fahrenheit.

This past week with an ice storm, I used plastic bags over newly planted boxwood and these roses with the leaves packed around their trunks and some branches, even. Surprisingly, this inspiration worked great!

The bags kept each plant ice-free and then the water when the ice melted was still able to get into the pots or underneath to each plant to water them. (Sorry, I didn’t get any pictures.)

Wrapping bushes which suffered severely last year during the 2021 Arctic week of hard freezing storms. They came back well but not really until this past fall. Covering them now prevents the ice storm from adding further damage.

We still have a ton of pin oak acorns to clean up out front, but that’ll be another day. 😉

Well, I’ve rambled a lot in this post and I have more to share ~ like the cool sale of plants I found by accident at Lowe’s in late January! (not sponsored)

Hidden gems among the sale plants!

I see other gardeners on YouTube who find these wonderful sales on plants yet I’ve not had that luck… until this day! Lowe’s was clearing out winter damaged plants and plants from last fall. I was more than happy to bring home some larger boxwood and debated really hard about a nice olive.

In the end, I didn’t bring home the olive standard but now wish I would have. Oh, well!

$40 for 4 plants!

I’ve been collecting evergreens and other shrubs to put in along the fences as soon as we get that south fence moved out.

Box and small holly cones found before Christmas

Why isn’t it done, you ask? Well, Mr. Ethereal has been traveling for business since early September and has rarely been home long enough to rest, much less dig post holes. We did manage to get the shed insulated (me!) and clad in beadboard (him!), and painted (me again!), but fence work had to be postponed.

Part of the January clearing and making a new side compost pile.
Planting the potatoes which rooted in the freshly turned compost from the main pile in the chicken wire bin.

Lastly for this long post, I’ve planted up some rooting potatoes I found when mixing up compost for the roses! It was fun to plant them and cover them in a mound.

Did you know that you water potatoes in the side troughs not over their tops?

Planting tulips and daffodils

I also got most of the new tulips I bought late this fall planted in containers as well as daffodils and surprise bulbs given to me by my friend Torrance. These were a gift from her daughter’s garden.

So that’s it for this post, lovely ones! I’ve sure enjoyed reminiscing about what I’ve been up to this winter. My mother-in-law and I have also worked on rooting her rose cuttings and I’ve used a great many of my collected plastic pots to replant the clippings she brought from her Northern California garden of 57 years… It has been a busy gardening winter for me! Let me know what you’ve been up to this winter and if you’ve been doing any wintertime gardening.

Happy almost spring hugs,

Barb 🙂

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