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8 days ago
About 47 degrees today, possibly 55 tomorrow. I got the hoses out and began watering everything. I'm trying to water in between the mulch mounds around all the plants for winter protection. Seems to be going OK - but my hands/feet got cold and I stopped at about the 2/3 done stage. Will be warmer tomorrow and I'll finish up. I had hoped I wouldn't have to get the hoses out after putting them away for winter but in the words of Mick Jagger, "You can't always get what you want."
10 days ago
Since Oct 30 only 13/16 inch of rain. I watered everything well on November 8 but that's 3 weeks ago and I have well-drained soil. I don't want to break out the hoses again (since every bush has a good-sized mound of mushroom compost over it) but I guess I could water the areas in between the bushes/mounds. It may rain a little this afternoon but only a little. Temps going up to 55 on Thursday - that would be the day to water.

Am I worrying about nothing?
13 days ago
Update - temps were down to 18 degrees this morning but it hasn't really been unseasonably cold this November. I finished getting some mulch on all my roses on Wednesday. It's earlier than I wanted to do that but the 18 degrees scared me a bit. I have been concerned that my roses were still growing. and only slowing coming into dormancy. I can see now that the most recent growth - the reddish shoots - are now severely toast. I have had little or no leaf drop yet - not a good sign I know, but had to cover the bushes leaf and all. Now I can relax, not much more I can do at this point. In a few weeks I'll put down my last line of defense which is 6 large bags of dry leaves. It's the 9 own-root Ring of Fire bushes that I am most concerned about, so in addition to having a massive mound of mushroom compost covering each plant they will also all be drowning in leaves. Hopefully that will do the trick.

One thing I have noticed is how exposed my two main rose gardens are to the cold wind. Both gardens are in front of the house and the house faces Northeast. Winds here come from the West and Northwest primarily and you would think the house would block some of the wind but it doesn't seem to block much. Not much I can do about that, just hope we get tons of snow like last year before it gets really cold.

One last thing - I sprinkled my Critter Away granules all over the rose beds and mulch piles - hoping to keep unwanted guests at bay and stop them from looking for a cozy winter home in my mulch-laden garden. I'll be on the watch for critters and varmints and held back one larger bottle of Critter Away so that I can reapply later if necessary. I'll be more than pissed off if I lose any roses to some as#@%& critter munching on roots or stems overwinter.
16 NOV
Starting to wonder now when/if my roses are going to stop growing and go dormant. We have now had a few nights where the temps dipped into the mid-20s but that doesn't seem to be phasing my roses much. My mushroom compost delivery is coming tomorrow (update 11-17: not coming until Nov 22 or 23) but I think it's too early to begin mounding up around the plants. Supposedly the leaves will begin to drop when dormancy sets in and the leaves have transferred all of the sugars/starch they were holding to the stems. It doesn't seem like that has happened just yet, nor is it imminent.

Beginning Monday, November 22 the forecasted low temps are 18, 26, 24, 23, 21, 20, 21, 22, 16 (on Nov. 30). So it would seem that I will be working around Thanksgiving to winter protect my roses. Patience required!
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