RayRose has been keeping me busy

Ray utilizes the space in his yard to the fullest extent possible. I’m very impressed by how fully he makes use of that space and how well it is cared for. Awhile back he decided to revamp some of his plantings, eliminating some to be replaced by new interests, and in some cases, removing duplicates. He asked if I’d be interested in a few rose bushes. From his screen name, I’d guess that roses may have been his first passion. :wink:

Those ‘few’ rose bushes wound up being nine large and mature beautiful varieties, some or all of which are show varieties. It also grew to include four 4 yr old apple trees. This wound up being no quick and simple project!

I planned out where the roses would go and started clearing their overgrown garden area here back in December, and worked until the cold finally found its way here in January. But it wasn’t as simple as just clearing the area; that has been one of main bulb and perennial plots. So, in order to transfer the bulbs, I’ve been working on also cleaning out plots that were originally designed, but since abandoned, by one of my daughters. Neither one of these were easy to do because both have been areas where wild blackberries, poison ivy, trumpet vine, and dog fennel have been fighting me for possession. Removal of the bulbs meant that I could go deep and rip out the mazes of roots which had been previously inaccessible. My determination to give these roses and apples a good home spurred me to dig deeply into the hard clay beneath those gardens and rip out every hiding root system those annoying vines had laid down.

Preparing the spots for the apples was much simpler. They went into what has been a four square area put in by one of my sons. In the center of each square was a large forsythia bush, surrounded as forsythia tends to do, with many small forsythia plants. It was easy for me because I just ordered my crew (the guys here) to go dig out those bushes and move them to a hedgerow along the road. :grin: I didn’t have to lift a finger. My work in that area came after the trees arrived.

Four of us headed to Ray’s place to dig up the roses a few weeks ago. I thought the project would take the greater part of the day, but it was super quick and rather easy. It’s interesting that even though we only live 10 minutes apart, Ray’s soil is so different from mine. He’s closer to the rivers and I’m on an elevation near the lake. Ray already had everything heavily pruned back, since they’d finally gone dormant, and our shovels practically glided through his dark sandy loam. So different from the rocky red clay that I have to force my way through!

Last weekend two of the crew returned to Ray’s and dug out the apple trees. They were barely gone an hour. His soil is THAT amenable to shovels. Can you detect a bit of soil envy on my part? Those went straight into their highly amended planting area. It’s not just the mounded hole that I amended, but a foot or more down throughout their entire area. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for the root systems to recuperate. And it would be more difficult to work the surrounding area later than to do it now.

I’m still working on parts of the bed where the roses have been placed, and continuing to rework the areas where bulbs have been, and are still being, transferred. These aren’t areas that I feel comfortable having anyone else work. There are too many things that can be damaged. I’d rather be angry at myself if I mess up than angry at someone else.

All but two roses have now been planted. I’ll be working on that this afternoon. The trees are still looking good. Last week my family said there was nothing they could give me for my birthday that could come close to Ray’s gift. But they did their best and gave me their labor and 1 1/2 cubic yards of garden soil!

Thanks, @rayrose !



When transplanting heirloom roses, I have had good luck with sprinkling some bone meal into the planting hole. I think this helps the roots rebound quicker. Good luck.


I’m envious. Before discovering fruit trees, I was mad about roses. Gardenweb, rose forum was my first visit to GW.

I gave most of my roses away and only keep5-6 bushes. More time for fruit trees.

Whenever I used bone meals in the planting holes, some animals managed to dig up my plants/ bulbs. Bone meal smells like food to them. I stopped using it because it brought damages to whatever I tried to plant.

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I would love to have your writing ability. Great description and an enjoyable read. Hope your new plants do well. Bill

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And it’s done!

Everything now has roots snug and secure in the ground before the nasty cold of tonight arrives. I’m relieved. These final rose bushes were relatively quick and easy. I’d already cleared and dug out the bed. Also, I was able to just work without having to repeatedly drop everything to oversee and guide anyone else. The youngest son did show up as I was finishing up. He helped me haul some dirt and put the remaining half a lawn bag of irises in the garage for now. I’ll interplant those in various places in a few days - as soon as I’m don’t feel tortured by the cold.

My daughter is excited. She is very much looking forward to having them blooming in early May for her graduation. (It will be our 7th and FINAL bachelor degree graduation. Yea for the end of tuition payments!)

I was ready to clean up and call it a day when my son started to pressure me into answering just how many trees I had scheduled to arrive and exactly where they were going. :cold_sweat: They were supposed to have arrived last Tuesday but have been delayed a week due to nursery getting snowed in. I’ve been describing the shipment as “replacements for the ones that died from the heat and a few others” I think at least a few here will see themselves in that understatement. :wink: My son knows me well enough that he realized that if I wasn’t giving an exact number it wasn’t going to be ‘just a few’. :smile: In this case, the answer to Live, The Universe, and Everything is not 42. It’s a nice prime number - 17. The majority of those really ARE replacements for trees that arrived with our summer heat last year. I maintained a certain amount of self control when ordering this go round. :angel: Unfortunately, sites still need to be prepared for those - plus the 5 trees that did survive and are still in root bags. Oh, yes. Also for the 4 paw paws, 4 grapes, and one more persimmon. I didn’t count those because they’re arriving separately. :smiling_imp:

@Matt_in_Maryland I did put bone meal in there. I don’t usually have a problem with critters digging it up, and these roses have large, woody bases along with many strong thorns. If they get close enough in to try to dig, I think these roses will fend them off, and maybe add a little ‘blood meal’ in the process.

@mamuang - You would LOVE Ray’s place when the roses are in bloom! It’s a striking sight.
When I first visited GW it was for the hypertufa forum. My name also contained the word ‘mud’, but for a different reason, back when it was Spike’s place. The kids and I had a lot of fun creating with 'tufa back in the day.

@Auburn - Thank you, Bill. I consider that a major, but probably undeserved, compliment, since what I post on here is in unpolished rough-draft form.

Dianna, you’re more than welcome and I know you’re going to enjoy
the roses as much as I have. Those were my babies and it was hard
to put them up for adoption, but I know they’ve all gone to good homes.
You only got ten, but 30 more went to different members of our local
rose society. I found myself giving lessons about rose care, and have
been asked to give a presentation to the rose society. So I’m going to
have to break out the old slide show.
The soil in those rose beds is the culmination of many truck loads of
leaf mold compost from the county dump that were tilled in years ago,
along with the never ending toil of thousands of earth worms.
Properly preparing the planting site is crucial in successfully growing anything.
Many people don’t take the time to do this, and then wonder why they
have such poor results. I’m still waiting on my slice of birthday cake!!


Will a cupcake do? It’s much fresher. (Also, I ate the last piece of saved cake a few hours ago.)

I certainly hope that I’ve given them worthy planting beds. I spent at least 50 times as much time getting their new home ready for them as I did actually planting those babies! Their roots should be able to send roots as far as they want in their new bed. You better believe that if I have any questions you’ll be the first person I call. How could it be otherwise?

I, too, thought that there were ten, but only counted nine when the guys unloaded them.

Always my most cherished plants are those which either came from others and those trees which I have planted either in memorium, or in celebration of the births of my children and grandchildren. Each time I see them I think of those they either came from or honor. There is a specialness to them that regular catalog purchases can never achieve.

Thank you, Ray, for trusting me with your babies.

As I understand it, phosphorous (the main nutrient in bone meal) seldom creates a growth response when applied to plants of any kind in common soil. The idea any, even quick release P, stimulates root growth has generally been discarded and was based on a misreading of research of plants in artificial soil.

When it was thought root growth was spurred by P they were comparing results to plants fertilized with N which showed less root growth. It turned out that plants generate root to reach N when it is in deficit, much as they will for water. Sandy soil also “stimulates” root growth ( I assume mostly for water, but perhaps for N as well).

In most soils, water soluble P is the only form actually useful, and generally only in cool soils (like in early spring) especially for young vegetable seedlings without established mychorizal relationships transplanted into real soil from artificial soil.

That is, at least, my understanding. I welcome any clarification of any mistakes in the preceding paragraphs. I’m working from memory and the info may be from older info of a couple decades ago when I was last studying this stuff full time.