Mike and I have been cleaning up our rose gardens in preparation for winter. We’ve replaced a few older roses, removed some day lilies, divided and transplanted others, and planted bulbs – daffodils and blue globe onions (allium caeruleum). Our horse manure has been delivered and stored in the back of the garden. Now we’re just waiting until the weather turns consistently colder so we can hill-up the base of each rose bush with the manure as winter cover.
Meanwhile we’ve attended two Garden Closings — the Chet Clayton Sustainable Rose Garden at the University of RI and the Roger Williams Park’s Victorian Rose Garden in Providence. The schedule for closing these public rose gardens are determined months in advance and it’s very difficult to change dates at the last minute if the weather does not cooperate. In this case, despite the warm weather, the gardens got closed when they did because that’s when the volunteers were available.
The Chet Clayton Sustainable Rose Garden at the University of RI is maintained by University of Rhode Island Master Gardener volunteers who do a great job taking care of this garden. The Clayton Garden is ending its seventh season and continues to thrive as an excellent example of sustainable rose gardening.
The day of the closing was October 29, the Saturday of the big storm that brought serious early season snow to northern RI and surrounding MA and CT. Still, Master Gardener volunteers came out despite the forecast and, with Mother Nature patiently waiting until we were done, we managed to winterize the garden before the maelstrom roared in that afternoon. As you can see from the photos, the climbers, as well as many of the other roses, were still blooming, flummoxed by the warm temperatures.
On Saturday, November 12 we had a beautiful, sunny day to close the Roger Williams Park’s Victorian Rose Garden in Providence. RI Rose Society members, along with the public (who are always welcome to attend meetings to learn how to care for roses), lightly pruned roses that needed it, filled wheel barrows with horse manure from the Providence Mounted Command horse stables, and hilled up the 500+ roses in the garden.
At lunchtime, there was plenty of socializing during the “Chili Cook-Off” that’s become an annual event of the Rose Society.
The meeting ended with the rose raffle — donated potted roses and other plants (Mike and I brought the daylilies from our garden) plus garden items. Mike won and chose a small climber called Morning Magic. If you live close enough to Providence, try to join us at Roger Williams Park when we open the garden in April. It’s a lot of fun, the members are friendly, and you’ll learn a lot, not only about rose horticulture, but also how various varieties perform in a public garden that receives no pesticide intervention.
We plan to winterize our gardens on Thanksgiving weekend – we’re hoping for cold and clear weather.