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24 MAY
The back is nearing 100%. Just in time for golf Friday and Saturday. Fertilized my Bonica and the garage roses earlier today (but not the Screaming Neon). Lots of work still to do.
21 MAY
I have not been able to work in the garden since the last post. I somehow strained my back (happens every few years) and it lays me up for sometimes as much as two weeks. I tried to golf this morning but could not bend into the proper position for putting. Oh well! It just means that maybe some of my rose bushes won't get fully uncovered and pruned until maybe June!

Most everything seems to be growing well. Definite casualties from winter appear to be Liv Tyler (own-root), Bride's Dream (own root), and Neptune (Dr. Huey, planted a little too high). Other candidates that I have not given up on yet would include (all own root) Gold Medal, Dublin, Brigadoon and Pink Enchantment. Grafted varieties in danger would include Brigadoon, Veterans' Honor, Firefighter and Papa Meilland. Seems like every few days I can see a little red shoot popping out (hopefully not sucker growth!) so I'll be patient with these. All 9 Ring of Fires seem to have survived, although the quality from best to worst is quite wide. One bush each of Playboy and Lavaglut are puny (only one cane) compared to the other two bushes, so I ordered replacements from Roses Unlimited. I also could not resist ordering Marlon's Day and Cajun Moon from RU. These both are Horizon Honor Roll roses that I have not grown before.

Everything in pots, with the exception of Papa Meilland, seems to be doing good. Papa budded out, but then got burnt by some scorching hot sun it seems (location is sunny until maybe 1:00 pm only), and is now trying to overcome that. Fingers crossed. I have a small army of potted roses in front of the garage that eventually will make their way into the ground.

We had a dry spell from May 1 to May 18 where it really didn't rain. It has rained just over 1" in the past 3 days and there's likely more coming today. Last weekend I took the lazy approach and used the sprinkling system to water the rose beds. Worked well but it's hard to tell how much water you have put down. I'll have to conduct an experiment on that - sooner rather than later. I can use my fancy plastic measuring cups I reckon.

I have not fertilized yet nor sprayed. Will do first thing when my back allows.
16 MAY
I have been completely de-mulching and fully pruning the bushes struggling to get growing. Once you get down to the bud union most are showing some signs of life. The "strugglers" number about 20, and I still have a few more to uncover and assess. There have been some own-root surprises here, such as Pink Enchantment, Gold Medal, Chrysler Imperial, Dublin, and two Brigadoons (which is my absolute favorite rose). The deadest of the dead would be Liv Tyler, which was planted on July 30 own-root from Heirloom. It grew like a bat out of hell and had two massive basal canes. There is always hope I guess but Liv sure looks dead as a doornail. I left it in the ground - we'll give it a few weeks before the shovel appears. In the budded category, I did not expect Veterans' Honor to be a slow starter. There are small signs of life I will say. This one was planted with the bud union a little too high. Papa Meilland is also slow, as is Wedding Bells and Miss Congeniality. Neptune in the North Garden looks to be dead as well. That is not a surprise as it's known to be tender and Martha planted it too high. For the maidens, only Touch of Class is slow to get moving.

It's amazing to me how some canes (and roses) die while others don't. In mid-March I could see green canes above the mulch line on every single bush, including Liv Tyler. But somehow in the next 6-8 weeks things changed. Should I have removed much of the mulch sooner? Was it our crazy weather - warmer than normal late March and early April and then very cold for the second half of April and early May? Was it the 5.7 inches of rain we had in April, and essentially no rain since April 30? know we hade 38 degrees the mornings of May 4 and 5. That's not killing cold but it's not conducive to roses starting to grow! Last week it was 90 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday. And still very warm on Friday and Saturday. I can see buds that broke but then were scorched into oblivion. That heat and sun did not help all my potted roses either as there are a few buds on those which were fried to a crisp. The potted roses only get sun until about 1:00 pm so I'm not sure what else I can do.

I don't understand why big basal canes seem to die and smaller canes seem to live. I had two massive canes on Hot Princess and one sizable but lesser cane. The lesser cane is shooting out growth but not the massive canes! In my FL triples where there are 3 bushes planted quite close together, I am reminded of the Meatloaf song "Two Outta Three Ain't Bad!" Playboy has two bushes doing great and one struggling. As does Lavaglut and Julia Child. Why? Same winter protection for all, yet some suffer and others don't. Why is that?

At least the current 15-day weather forecast is conducive to growing good roses - near normal temps other than for one warm day 3 days away. That should allow the slow starters to get started (if in fact they are going to survive) and I can make my culling decisions at the end of May.

For the most part everything potted up is doing reasonably well, the three new Palatine bushes planted in the ground have leafed out and look like they will be good, and only the Mohana maiden might have an issue. The grafted "bud" might be a dud although it's still green. Hot Princess' bud is protruding and ready to start growing and Kristen Singer has about 6 inches of good growth already. The Dr. Huey climber is going to be a show this year, but it does have a fair amount of chlorosis showing on the foliage - very light green with veins showing. I have given it Mills Magic Liquid Feed (with chelated iron added) and today gave it a gallon of liquid Kelp. If that doesn't help I am just going to chalk it up to Old Canes which I will prune after the bloom.

Circle garden growing well but I need to remove the mulch. Front four shrubs doing well although the two Nearly Wilds leafed out a bit late. The 5 Screaming Neon are doing well, as is Darlow's Enigma. I'm trying to train Fred Loads as a climber and thus far it appears to be working - some good flowering shoots have appeared. The transplants have all survived and are doing reasonably well, except the Nearly Wild which may not survive at all. Nice to see the Clouds of Glory HT leaf out at long last although that bush may never resemble a symmetrical hybrid tea as all the growth seems to be coming from it's one large cane.

Best growing variety in the gardens right now? Would have to be Jude The Obscure - 3 bushes planted together, all growing vigorously and evenly - each about 21-24 inches high. Supposedly, Austin roses require a few years to reach their peak and this is year 2 for Jude. Munstead Wood is also a much stronger grower so far this year compared to last year. Runner-up in the growing category might be Obsession - 2 plants really growing well.
12 MAY
As I write this it's 90 degrees outside with a dew point of 60. That is a slight improvement on the dew point over the past few hours, I did get everything well watered today in the morning. It's amazing how quickly the top of the soil dries out in the sun and wind. But I know the roots are happy.

I am trying to decide when to cut the multiflora tops off my maidens. Was planning to do it tonight, but then thought better of it given that it will be 90 again tomorrow. I'll plan for tomorrow night as it will only be 78 on Saturday. Potted roses are coming along nicely it seems. Update: my Kristen Singer maiden bud has already pushed out to about 6 inches of growth. So I topped all 3 maidens and have made sure they won't be in the sun in the heat of the day.

There's more bushes which may have succumbed to winter kill than I had hoped - some own root and some grafted. But many of the bushes are pushing strong growth right now.

Just got my irrigation system going - had to call the installer, Katlyn, as I could not figure out how to do it. She came by and as always was very helpful.
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