We have had a lot of showers during the last half of May. So far most everything is thriving, so maybe that is true for roses. I have certainly been busy draining off the excess water from the watering trays for the “sale miniatures”. We have to keep them from drowning. Our lawns and vegetable gardens are doing exceptionally well. Our annual flower beds are mostly tilled and were mostly planted by Memorial Day. We still planted a couple of flats of begonias and some other annuals in the first week of June…
I am in the process of spreading our 7 yards of hardwood bark. Our rose beds get the first call on bark. When most of the roses are mulched , we may find other places to put the mulch. Weeds are always a problem for gardeners, but without mulch, weeds are going to keep me busy all summer. This time of the year separates the hardy roses from the tender roses. While the truly winter hardy roses are producing exceptionally large and vigorous shoots, the more tender ones are more behind on their growth and maturity. When roses are green but producing no shoots, or few shoots, they are probably trying to recover from under ground winter damage. Our roses with numerous blossom shoots at this time, include Olympiad, Dublin, Mavrik, Marijke Koopman, Rena Hugo, Moonstone, & Touch of Class. . We have a couple of Signature bushes that are doing very well, but our oldest and usually strongest bush of Signature is recovering from winter damage. Floribundas that look good this spring are Europeana, Lavaglut, and First Addition. The volume of roses one brings to the show is not the most important factor. Quality is more important, especially in the Queen competition. A single bloom produced on a plant, may defeat numerous lesser blooms when it is well prepared. Timing is very important. Unfortunately, for the spring bloom, someone else is doing most of the timing. Some of the plants that have been slow to grow, may beautify our gardens after our spring shows are past. Last month I mentioned Marilyn Monroe as one of the tender roses that looked good this spring. That was true, but they are not growing well. Apparently, they don’t have good legs under them yet. The Color Magic rose that looked “dead as a doornail” last month, is now producing some shoots. Touch of Class is quite winter hardy, but it is still one of our later blooming roses. We hope some are open in time for our June 18 show.

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