Saturday, February 9, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

I had to share this little experiment of rose protection. Besides our great stand of antique roses in the middle of the garden which are never protected due to their inherent hardiness in the Kentucky growing zone (5,6 or 7 depending on which map you look at), we also have a few tea roses along the fence. It was not my choice to plant tea roses as I have always had terrible luck with them. It seemed that no matter how much you protected them during the winter...and I've tried hay, burlap, Styrofoam...they always emerged with a significant dieback and in many cases reverted back to their rootstock self. In one of my first experimental gardens in Bourbon County, you can still drive by and see about 5 Dr. Hueys (the typical rose root stock used for hardiness before the graft) just blooming their hearts out as they are allowed to flourish unprotected every year. Besides, I have always been a lazy gardener when it comes to winterizing things. With the business of work and school life, I am much more in favor growing things that are NOT high maintenance. So this year, being no different, the tea roses were still uncovered in early January. Of course, up until that time, we had had a pretty mild winter, nothing below about 16 degrees. As I was about to let them fend for themselves this winter, very ready to dig them up if they mother suggested using the live Christmas tree as a method of protection. Instead of leaving it out for the trash to be mulched for others, why not utilize it for a quick winterizing solution? So there you have it, the branches were stripped off the tree and then tied, teepee style over the rose bushes. I have had visitors who say this method will never work.....but we shall see - stay tuned for further results this spring - besides, instead of looking at gray dead like twigs, it is pleasant to see the dark green of the Christmas tree branches....O Christmas Tree! How lovely are thy branches!!

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