Friday, April 20, 2007

raising Gertrude Jekyll

Nearly all of my roses are shrub roses and old garden roses that are hardy to zone 4 - a great many of them to zone 3. So I don't do any protecting except to shovel a little compost around the base of each rose in the fall.
However, I couldn't resist Gertrude Jekyll. She has the most beautiful clear pink blooms and the most heavenly scent. Unfortunately, she is only hardy to zone 5, so I have to baby her through our zone 4 winters.
So every fall I dig a trench for her to sleep in over the winter - lovingly covered with whole leaves, dirt, a pile of compost, and then after the ground is frozen, several more inches of whole leaves. She loves all the attention.
Today was raising Gertrude day.

About 2 weeks ago, I removed the top layer of leaves to let the ground start warming up. Today, I carefully started shoveling away the mound of compost. Then with a garden fork (or pitch fork, if you grew up on a farm like me!) I very carefully poked until I found her exact location and then gently pulled her up. This is a picture of her at half mast.

This shows the trench she was lying in - but not a great perspective, actually. She's shading the trench.

So, maybe this shows it better - the orange extension cord is about at ground level - and the mound behind it is the compost and dirt I moved off the rose before lifting.

Here she is standing after I tamped dirt around her base. Over the next week, I'll keep straightening and gently tamping more dirt until she's standing erect.

Here she is with the twine removed and freshly showered to remove all of the dirt and leaves. Already her stems are starting to spread out and in a week or so she'll regain her lovely shape.

This is a close up of the leaf buds that started growing underground. Right now, she is probably the healthiest looking rose I have - no winter die back, no dead wood to trim. After her stems are loose again, I'll see if she needs any trimming to keep stems from rubbing on each other etc.
Welcome back, Ms Jekyll!


The Texas Connection said...

I know Gertrude absolutely loves you, you take such good care of her.......of course you know you could save yourself a lot of work if you would just move down here by us!!!!!!! We cut ours down, let them rest a couple of weeks, start watering and feeding, and WALLA------they are now shooting buds out all over the place.

Can;t wait to see her in full bloom this summer---hope to be leaving in about three weeks.

Love the pictures.

Kitt said...

Wow! What a difference a week makes. I have been crazy busy and fell behind on checking out your progress. Hooray for tulips, hyacinths, scilla and roses!

kris said...

Hi Mom - your roses are so beautiful - I'd love to walk over and see them daily! Everything is popping up - we should have lots of blooms when you're here.

Hey Kitt - you were right when you said things would just burst into bloom! I've been enjoying all of your gorgeous tulip blooms - very pretty!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

How wonderful--I've never seen such a great pictorial description of protecting roses that way before. Glad she's greening up for you, Kris! :)

kris said...

Thanks blackswamp_girl! It's a process I'm glad I don't have to use on all the roses, but really does a nice job of protecting less hardy ones. I enjoyed the photos on your recent post - it's so fun to see everyone's flowers blooming!