I pulled out my garden binder early this year because I know I have a lot of work to do before Spring. Keep a plant list of all your beds. I have divided mine into zones simply to keep the list manageable. After my first two years at this home, I realized through the wisdom of several seasoned Master Gardeners, my grandparents and others, that I was more of a “collector” type gardener and that I am not concerned about color schemes or repeating landscape techniques. That’s a nice way of saying I have a crazy hodge podge of plants, shrubs, specimens and trees. The list is more for stewardship than anything, meaning I need to know what does not thrive or what dies in my bed so that I do not keep planting the same thing expecting a different result.
Every section of my entire garden is drawn to approximate scale on a size D piece of graph paper, I can keep track of plants, the botanical names, needs and sizes and what to replace or move if necessary. In my vegetable garden I know where to rotate my crops to, rather than just depending on my memory for this info, I have my blueprint. You can get graph paper at any art store. Every area including the house is rendered on my drawing. I not only keep track of my plants, but where hardscape, ornaments, arbors and pots are located.
This is an excellent recipe for roses and perennials from the Greenhouse where I work. It’s more economical to make your own fertilizers and definitely more eco-friendly. We have managed our yard organically for 5 seasons, Although you cannot eradicate some pests using this method, it is far more safe and we enjoy the benefits of knowing it’s safe for our kids and animals. Complete eradication of anything will always compromise something else. For instance, if we do not have aphids, then we will never get the joy of lady bugs and preying mantis. So, decide what you can live with and simply manage, your garden experience will have more peace and fulfillment.
Put on each rose once during early spring.
1/2 cup Osmocote
1/2 cup Blood Meal
2 cups Bone Meal
Scatter 1/2 cup Epson salts around the drip line of each rose twice per year. At the beginning of the season and midway through the season. This promotes basal breaks - those desirable growths that spring from bud unions to form the major canes on rosebushes.
An excellent mulch for roses is alfalfa meal. Put 2 two-pound coffee cans full around each bush and half this amount for roses in containers. Spread it around the base of the bush and then cover with your regular mulch material. For repeat blooming roses, use liquid (organic) fertilizer once per month during the bloom period. For bushes that look tired in the spring, put 1 cup of greensand around each bush, this is like giving your rose a multivitamin.
Enjoy the coming growing season, remember the more thoughtful you are about your greenspaces, the more healthy rewards for you and future generations.