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The New Rose Garden

It's the grand retirement project of 2009. I have ripped up the entire center bed and installed a rose garden. It's something I've been meaning to do for some time now.

The pictures below were taken in early May 2009, when the beds were first planted. Most of the roses are still small, some of them just first year cuttings. It will be a year before the garden looks reasonably mature.

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At first I thought I would pick out two dozen modern exhibition-style hybrid tea roses and surround them with shrubs. But the fact is, I have become so enamoured of old garden roses, antiques and English roses that I ended up cramming in 50 of those and getting no modern hybrid teas. I may have gotten carried away: some of these shrubs will get big, and I may have to pull out a few to avoid overcrowding.

Now, in high summer, we are struggling to get them through the first year. All our old roses can stand terrific heat and drought, but they need help to get established. With triple-digit highs, we are running soaker hoses two to three times a week and putting down still more water by hand.

I thought the birds would miss the wild and woolly center bed, but on the contrary, they love the new, open look and maybe also the new bugs. I've seen more and better birds this year than ever before: buntings, finches, a yellowthroat, a chat.

But look at this little rogue. Cardinals nested in the Allred Plum, and one day I found their eggs on the ground. Then, a couple of weeks later, I saw the poor male cardinal wearing himself out trying to satisfy the demands of a big black changeling.


More to come on the rose garden...


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