Sunday, January 20, 2013

Huge rose garden on a slope...I think I am gonna have problems???

Okay, here is the issue.  My rose garden, which is on the right of the path, is approximately 100 square feet ( I have no sense of space but I know I planted the sky pencils 13 feet apart so that is a huge guess on my part)'s on a slope.  What am I gonna do about weeds, groundcover, irrigation, erosion, etc.....

If I waited for the conditions of my rose to be perfect I would never have a rose...but I want to troubleshoot now and not when I am in a mess.  I planted the roses far enough from each other (well not really)  I wanted an abundance feel (got that from HolleyGarden's blog...Roses and other Gardening Joys) and ease of irrigation and to block out weeds....didn't say I knew what I was doing.  I wanted a mulched look, maybe?  I am certain the thing to do is have it graded, put in hardscape, hire an architect (okay, you get my point)...we do have to deal with the economics of the problem and think about our resources.  I don't want to deal with weeds and grass between the roses....I thought making everything mulched and screened but then I have an erosion I have to deal with irrigation on this steep slope.....I don't like raised beds but I do have lots of materials around.  I need to address while my roses are still bare root and easy to work around.

 Here is what I have...
  • Wood chipper and lots of wood that can be mulched---maybe use this mulch between the roses?
  • Black tarping...lots of it...but its slick and doesn't permeate like landscaping fabric and super slick so mulch will easily slide off of it....maybe use bricks or pins to keep mulch in place...this is not sounding good yet.
  • Bricks and wood pieces.
  • Hoses and sprinklers...
  • An awesome husband who has engineering degree, a huge pile of tools, construction materials and an inability to refuse my requests when I whine.....:)

Not all of my bare root roses are in but you can see the proximity they are to each other.  In continuing my search for an answer, my next step was go to the web.  This is what I read on eHow...but would love suggestions...grass can be very aggressive when you DON't want it there...I like grass but I just want it to look nice.... Really open to suggestions...I was considering planting zinnia between them this year.

Back around the porch, I have been placing soaker hoses on a timer.  This is a Don Juan bare root at the top of this picture...which I am wanting to climb up the corner pillar and a hydrangea which grows very fast.

I highly recommend a splitter? on your spigots.  When I have irrigation systems in place I don't like unhooking it to get water.  So I decided to put a splitter with a short hose so that I can still access water easily.

I have temporary irrigation systems in place until I run pipes for irrigation.  The new plants are needing to become the bare roots so I make sure they get 10 mins from a sprinkler each morning.  I actually have four sprinklers in place and they seem to cover the area...don't think I haven't considered keeping them there but I think that once the plants grow my placement of the sprinklers will be an irrigation is still up for consideration but for now it's working...

The bare roots are leafing fairly well.  I have a weedblocker around it and mulch on top.  I like the red mulch's color but in the summer I think it makes plants much more thirsty because of the dark color.

The bush in the front is a Gold Medal rose bush that I moved from a bad spot.  When I moved it, I think it went into shock so I cut it.  This was probably done in Novemeber.  It looked like it was dying but roses do love prunings. It leafed up quite nicely.   There is a sprinkler behind it.  On the right, (you can't really see them) are Europenas.  The soil changes quickly on the property.  This area is more sandy and up the slope it's clay.  In the back I planted a Florida Anise and azaleas but I am leaving this are a bit open for navigation....I think.....
This is an Orlando and Peace rose.  They were bought in containers at Christmas.

I was making another path leading out of the pool area.  This is pittosporum..I believe.
Meanwhile back at the greenhouse, the other plants are grouped for easy watering.  The cold frame worked out much better here.  The strawberries that it used to house is still in the rose garden.  Haven't decided whether or not to move them yet.
The cold frame freed a lot of space up in the green house and the plants love them.  At night, I cover them with a visqueen flap I have attached to one side.   During the day it has a screened top.

This is what they look like...there are too many plants here to name.
Speaking of irrigation.  Last year I watered for HOURS DAILY.  This year I swore I wouldn't do that.  I am lucky enough to have another well that was left on the property, so this year I am putting in pipes for irrigation and a dedicated well for watering.  This is the new water pump...1.5 horsepower..not sure what the means but sounds cool.


HolleyGarden said...

Janie - I have such a long comment, I'm going to email you! :)

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Holley, you mentioned cardboard. On the bottom of my greenhouse I have this black tarp stuff that is not permeable and slick..but its like heavy weedblocker, but you are doesn't break down. Hard to say how steep the slope is....20%? maybe I should mulch the whole area? I have considered this. I will give that a try.....need to consider some logistical issue..what do you suggest for irrigation..the temporary sprinklers are awful convienent. However, they do wet the foliage...

Anonymous said...

I wanted to read Holley's long comment! She's a great resource.

I wrote a long comment on the watering dilemmas and so on -- and blogger ate it. I can't comment here using my blogspot connections.

What I find helpful in my garden are a home-made PVC manifold that gives you 4 connections rather than the 2 that a Y-connector gives. He-who-mows made soaker pipes using conduit that work much better than soaker hoses.

Conquering a slope requires working with it. A path going straight up will wash; a switchback will help direct the water it can soak in.

Email me at nelljeancam at gmail dot com if I can answer more questions.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

What do you think about groundcovers? Slope aside, what would you do if the slope were not an issue .....

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

I think newspaper is the ticket...the erosion is a minor issue as I cut put things to prevent erosion...I still have more plants going down...but I am liking the idea..more and more..except I dont get the paper ....:)

Anonymous said...

I am going to try once more this morning. Blogger ATE my long comment yesterday.

Newspaper, cardboard, junk mail -- as long as it isn't slick paper with heavily colored inks -- anything that will break down will work. I even saved kraft paper used as packing material in boxes we received. You can use wood chips to hold the paper/cardboard in place.

The slope should not be a problem if you don't make a path going straight up and down where water can erode. You could make terraces with little brick walls 2-3 bricks high that should not have to be mortared, since you have brick.

In an early-stage garden that is not following a plan laid out by a landscape architect, I would not install permanent fixtures just yet.

You might consider a nursery bed. In Florida, some gardens put an empty plastic pot in the ground and then set plants in their pots in that pot. Mulch all around and they can sit there until you decide and not have to dig plants out to move them to permanent spots.

Who does the mowing at your place?

I have to comment as Seedscatterer/Wordpress -- that is not my main blog but your site will not take a comment. A link to Seedscatterer.Blogspot. is on the Wordpress blog.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

The property is 15 acres...I do the mowing by a push mower...I have lost 25 lbs over it. I don't do the whole property only about 5 of it..and my husband bought an estate mower so I have that option..mowing is one of my favorite chores...but in this bed it would be too narrow.

Unsure what you mean about commenting as seedscatterer vs another blog..I am very new to blogging so I haven't figured out the mechanics at all. I like the idea of the pots in the ground a lot! I used to do that in areas that did not grow well. I would literally put the whole pot in the ground and mulch, Great ideas....thanks!

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

I hope that Holley doesn't mind but here is her email

Your new rose bed
Show Details
Janie - I hope this helps you. If you have any questions, email me. Maybe we can brainstorm. I have company coming tonight (so, I should be cleaning house!), but I'll try to check my computer as often as I can. :)

On your website, I couldn't tell how much your area slopes, so I'm not sure how steep it is. But, this is how I would proceed:

First, you need to get the grass out. I do this by putting down cardboard (I keep all my boxes for this purpose), then putting a heavy layer of mulch on top. The problem you may run into is that the mulch will slide off the cardboard easily. If you don't have Bermuda grass, you may be able to just get by with several layers of newspaper with the mulch on top. (Wet the newspaper down - the mulch won't slide.) (Wet down the cardboard, too - it helps.) Usually, if I stay off the mulch, it doesn't slide off the cardboard - it only slides around when I'm walking on it.

Do NOT use Round-up around roses. It makes them have witches' brooms, and you will think you have a dreaded rose disease when you don't.

Personally, I don't like the black tarp/weed barrier because it never biodegrades, and you will eventually just have to pull it all up - which is usually not a very happy job! The cardboard or newspaper will break down (cardboard takes about a year or so, newspaper just a few months - that's why if you have Bermuda you really need cardboard because that stuff is stubborn!)

Anyway, the other solution I would have which probably wouldn't be very good now that you've planted things is to rent a sod cutter. I did that with one section, and it is grass free!!!! Heaven! But, the sod cutter was extremely heavy, and my husband usually protests when I mention renting one again.

I have heard of people just shoveling up the grass, turning it over, and it dying, but since I have Bermuda, that doesn't work for me.

Oh, and you can easily shovel through the cardboard if you want to add more plants.

Most gardeners will tell you to prepare the area first, then plant - but this is exactly how I do it because I'm too impatient and want the plants there first! :)

Hope that has helped you. Your area is going to look fabulous when you finish!

HolleyGarden said...

The paper is only to kill the weeds (grass). No sunlight - and it will die, but it takes time. Cardboard just takes longer to break down. Mulch by itself will not do anything, since sunlight can still get through it. Also, killing the weeds that way makes the most beautiful soil as the newspaper/cardboard and mulch break down. As for groundcovers, I usually put them in later, after the grass has died.

Nell Jean has some great advice about the pathway not being straight through for the water to erode it away. If you feel like your slope is too steep, you can always place a line of blocks or bricks in the ground and add dirt on the top side to make it form a small terrace.

If you are looking for watering systems, I love the Mister Landscaper system. I got mine at Lowe's, it was easy enough for me to figure out how to put it in, and it works!

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Thanks, Holly. I have Mister landscaper on my front bed...the sprinklers are just "easy" I am probably being lazy as I work to get hundreds of plants in the ground..I am sure once spring fever hits Ill come back to my senses.

Anonymous said...

If you have to resort to chemicals, which is not what I recommend but sometimes you have more than you can handle especially if there is Bermuda grass, there is a chemical that will kill bermuda and will not stunt your roses. I can't call the name but your extension agent or a good nursery should be able to tell you. It definitely isn't Round-Up and it isn't cheap.

The reason that I mentioned my different blogs is that I am linking here to a wordpress blog that is not my primary blog. The primary is

I asked about the mowing because I must consider He-who-mows when I lay out beds or plant anything. The mower makes a 54" cut and I measure to make sure he can easily get between whatever I'm planting. I make wide paths where two people can easily walk side by side. He mows, I prune.

The pot in the ground idea is for temporary use until you can get your overall plan implemented, or for summer annuals. Everything will need a permanent home eventually so the roots can spread. On the other hand, it's worked well for my Bird of Paradise, lol.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

I think we have centipede grass...the grass you are seeing in the pictures is actually rye grass

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