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jacqueline9ca

Status Report on my new rose garden

jacqueline9CA
last month

Well, after the 2 enormous bushes got cleared, we had 500sq ft of bare space. Then, my DH built and painted a fence (to keep the deers out) around the space, with 2 gates. We then got a bench which was mysteriously almost the same color as the fence - it is ergonomically shaped, and is the most comfortable of all of our garden benches for me. Now my DH is slowly building a path through the new garden. In some places he has been able to use old poured concrete stepping stones they discovered 6-12 inches under the soil which were built by his ancestors (the are flat on top but a ragged mass underneath - he said they just dug holes about 6-8 inches deep where they wanted the stepping stones, then filled them with concrete and leveled off & formed the tops of them. Dozens of them were discovered when we had workers breaking up the soil after the area was cleared - SURPRISE!. They managed to remove several of them intact. They also found several old old bricks in a square pattern, also buried underneath the soil. My DH has used them to reproduce that pattern in front of one of the gates, as an entry platform.


This first set of picks shows the new garden and the fence, and the gate (there are 2 identical), and the bricks. Other pics in next comment.

Jackie


Have managed to move 2 roses from where they were touching our house to this new garden so far - 'Bloomfield Abundance', and Pink Pet


Gate at the back of the new garden - it connects with an old arbor/trellis thing that was already there.


In the middle of building a platform in front of one gate into the garden with buried bricks which are 100+ years old


Comments (34)

  • smithdale1z8pnw
    last month

    What a wonderful project, your husband sounds like Superman!

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  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    He is a retired general contractor, and he loves to i"keep busy" inventing and build things, so I let him (smile).


    I forgot to add to my last remark above that it DID cheer me up, of course - so excited to get some roses planted, and for them to grow!


    jackie

  • oursteelers 8B PNW
    last month

    It’s going to be beautiful!

  • Kristine LeGault 8a pnw
    last month

    Oh man is that ever cool ! The fence, the arbors and the old wood archway are all magnificent backdrops to your gardens. Lucky find on the bricks and stepping stones


  • Kes Z 7a E Tn
    last month

    It all looks wonderful! Your husband has talent as a garden designer. I hope you will share photos of your garden as it comes together.

  • jerijen
    last month

    Jackie, what do you suppose the square structure was??

  • Tammy (Southern Ont) Zone 4/5 USDA
    last month

    Wow! thats going to look amazing!

    I LOVE the moon gates.

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    Jeri - are you talking about the bricks? He said he found them laid in a square, along a path made out of the concrete stepping stones we did not know were there. All of this was underground. My DH's ancestors had garden paths everywhere, and I would guess that they had left over bricks from something, and did not want to waste them, so they made a square out of them for one of the paths. They and their wives were all of German ancestry, and they did not waste anything! (The reason we have our house 4 generations later is because they and their descendants also did not like to divest real estate)!


    jackie

  • HU-284226487
    last month

    Very nice, I envy the amount of rose real estate you have.

    Lux.

  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last month

    Is everyone who grows roses in your area going through this restructuring of their property? I don't know how one grows roses without some of them touching the house. Its almost as if they are just picking on you. In the historic parts of town, there should be dozens of people reconfiguring their property, tearing down climbers and ordering truck loads of compost with the piles of it in their driveways. Do you see this happening all over town? You can't be the only home that had roses touching the house. I'm still flummoxed with the whole thing.

    I love the classic fence and gates. They fit your home's style beautifully. Your husband can do anything. I predict your gardens will come back better than ever. I hope the curmudgeons will leave you alone to garden as you please, now.

  • Mischievous Magpie (CO 5b)
    last month

    It's going to be really stunning! I hope that the excitement of planting and tending the new garden helps heal the pain of loss and change. I'm so glad you have such a supportive spouse to be there for you.

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you both - I am excited about the new garden and other changes, and it helps venting on here to those who understand!


    flowersaremusic - yes, 100% of the lots in our 60,000 pop town have now been legally designated as being in the "wildland urban interface zone" (aka WUI), instead of just about 10% of the lots in town which used to be in the WUI, which were on hills next to open space, etc.. I understand the logic, as when a totally flat development of thousands of small houses burned to the ground in a few hours in a nearby town (Santa Rosa) two years ago, after a fire jumped an 8 lane freeway as if it was not there, people started to realize that even flat suburbs here were in danger of "wild fires". Unfortunately (IMO) there was a new tax passed on a ballot (just before COVID hit) to create a new agency in our county and staff it with zillions of inspectors. The law the county and several cities in it have passed as to the changes people have to make to their properties to make them "fire safe" was copied from an old state law which was written to address large properties which really were out in wild land areas, on hills or in canyons. If you read it, is is fairly draconian. The town we live in has adopted a similar law, but it is the town's Fire Department which is enforcing it. A FD inspector came by just to do a courtesy examination of our flat, 1/3rd acre lot, and the main thing they cared about was that NO PLANT could be left "touching the house". They were fairly lenient about the rest of the property. After we deal with the roses, there are several trees we will have to get professionally pruned also.


    The deadline for all of this to happen is next April, so I am guessing that many people in our town are ignorant, or are just ignoring the new law right now. Our house is 3 stories of wooden "balloon construction", 116 years old, and covered with wooden shingles, over half of which are equally old. That is why they are insisting on no plants touching the house. (They refer to them as "fire ladders"). If the house were stucco or brick or something, it would not be as bad. Right now in CA half of the state seems to be on fire, so it is hard to argue with this.


    Jackie

  • joeywyomingz4b
    last month

    Jackie your garden is stunning! I admire the way you have taken a sad and frustrating situation and built something new and beautiful from it.

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you.


    One funny thing I forgot to mention which happened this morning. My DH has decided to make a path behind the new garden, between it and one of the side fences, where there are some ancient left-over-from-the-ancestors plants. One of them is a beautiful old rhododendron (pic below) which I have been told is "root stock", but that reminds me of some experiences I have had with rose rootstocks, where I just love the root stock plant!. There is also another bush, which when it recovers (somehow our gardener threw several of the dug up old stepping stones on top of it, an I did not get back there to notice for a week. DHs don't always notice plants...) I will ask you guys on here to help me ID it.


    Meanwhile, while he was pulling up the ivy from where he wanted to put that path, and then probing the dirt (after continuously running into concrete below the surface, he checks now!), he immediately ran into obstructions. He cleared some dirt, and showed me the result this morning. About 6 inches below the dirt on EXACTLY the path he was intending to build, going exactly in the right direction around a curve, were 3 intact, level, lovely old stepping stones. So, of course he decided to lower his path a bit, so he could leave those stones where they were and use them for his new path. He is now exploring further along the direction where he wants the new path to go, in case there are more buried stepping stones in the right places. I am beginning to feel like these new projects have turned into an archaeology dig, as well as being evidence that the ancestors are still with us....


    Here is the old root stock rhodo, which is at least 80-90 years old, and possibly older:


    Jackie


  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last month

    Joey said it perfectly and I admire you for moving forward with grace and anticipation for the future. I love that you're finding parts of your husband's ancestor's garden design and the glimpses into their aesthetics. That is the prettiest rhodo I've ever seen.

  • Mischievous Magpie (CO 5b)
    last month

    Wow the color on that is fantastic!!

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    I love it too! I was sort of non plussed (a few years ago) when I posted a pic of it on the perennial discussion on Houzz, and it was just dismissed as "oh, that's just rootstock", when what I was looking for was an ID. I think the blooms are so graceful and elegant, and the color is amazing. It made sense to discover it was an even older rhodo than I thought, but I am still curious as to who it is. "rootstock" is not a type of plant, it is just the description of how a plant was used. I may try again, it has been a while.


    Jackie

  • Kes Z 7a E Tn
    last month

    Jackie, this is only a wild guess so take this for what it's worth. Do you think it might be a west coast native? It seems like if a rootstock was needed, a native might be a good choice.

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last month

    Your husband is amazing!!! Keep posting updates....so sorry you have to change it, but it sure is fun to see to new places for roses! I can just "see" how beautiful those blooms will be peeking thru that fence!

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    I did get some more info about the rhododendron - it may be a hybrid of the species rhododendron ponticum. We shall see in the Spring when it blooms again, and I am able to get more pictures.


    Thank you all for the kind comments - we just moved the second rose to the new garden - Pink Pet. The first one we moved was Bloomfield Abundance (the one mostly in commerce is really a type of Cecile Brunner, but we have the original!). So far, the BA is leafing out already. The PP was just planted 2 days ago, but is not wilting or anything, so I think it will be OK.

    Jackie

  • BirdsLoveRosesSoCalCoast
    last month

    Jackie -

    I'm sure your "new" garden will turn out to be every bit as beautiful as the old one.

    I always thought your garden was truly unique with the way you had the decades old roses growing up the walls of your gorgeous old home. I took the new regulations in a negative way as making you destroy the beauty that took so many years to make. Your positiveness with your situation is very healing and truly commendable. We can't fight the bureaucrats so you are winning in your own way. It's so fun to see how you are finding buried relics on your way to creating the new garden. Please keep us all updated on your progress!

    Best of luck to you and your husband and I wish you many years of enjoyment in your space.

  • mmmm12COzone5
    last month

    Love seeing your progress pictures. Keep posting them!

  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
    last month

    Jackie, Your rhody looks like the wild ones you see on the Olympic Peninsula and the Cascades East of Seattle. I LOVE this original color and form. My favorite actually and sometimes they are fragrant. Pics of the path when it’s done please! I love paths; they are so romantic.

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last month

    Jackie...I think that I posted on the old rhoddie discussion...I have never heard of Rhoddies being grafted...I guess it is possible, but around here they are rooted like own root roses. We have several different specialty growers and all root, not graft. Also...is it a purple? Does it have any other color in the flower mouth? Many rhoddies stay smallish under trees or in shade...

    Just found a hybrid from 18430's that is purple, but no bush shot, only blooms.

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    last month

    1) All - New garden: My DH is almost finished building the path, and when he is I will take pictures of it and post on here.


    2) Stephanie - Yes, my old old rhodie reminds me of the wild ones I have seen in "second growth" redwood forest parks along the Norther CA coast. Same color and bloom form, as I recall, except that the ones I saw in that park were climbing 30-40 feet up redwood trees!


    3) Ann - here is the best pic I could find of blooms - not purple, when open sort of what I would call lavender, and the buds are darker.






  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    29 days ago

    Looked a little more on the history of rhoddies and wow they are old! There seems to be lots in the Catawbiense line, going back to the early 1800's. So it could be that it is some hybrid of that...the one I found for sale only grows to 7 feet. That has been my experience, is that some do keep going, but there are a number that top out between 5-10 feet even pretty old 100yrs or so. It looks like getting the exact name could be challenging.

  • portlandmysteryrose
    29 days ago

    Jackie, everything looks AMAZING! You and your husband ”who likes to keep busy” are a real team!! It seems like many of us are moving and removing plants and renovating our gardens these days for various reasons, shifting climate being one of the most dramatic. I am working on a much smaller scale, and your grander (and delightful) project has been inspring me and keeping me moving. I admire your fortitude and suspect that once everthing has been moved, removed and replanted, it will be a relief to know your garden can now flourish and bring joy for as many years to come as your predecessor’s design. I also love the bonus of the fruits of your excavations—antique plants emerging into the light of day, old structures uncovered and salvaged materials getting repurposed! Just ignore anyone who is disparaging of R ponticum in your CA garden. It is exquisite, and the color is gorgeous! As a designer, I planted several variegated ponticums, and they were traffic stoppers every spring. Personally, I love the simple, orchid-like blooms and graceful structure of ponticums, and as Stephanie and Magpie noted, the shade of lavender is to die for! Perfect against your beautiful antique home and perfect for ushering in spring and the buds on your antique Tea roses. Carol

  • jacqueline9CA
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    Thanks, Carol. I am waiting for my DH to get ALL of his construction mess out of the new garden so that I can take some pictures. I have planted 3 roses, but no more until he is absolutely, finally, finished. Should be any day now.


    Jackie

  • portlandmysteryrose
    28 days ago

    I look forward to it!

  • Deborah (Z10 Coastal CA)
    28 days ago

    Everything looks wonderful! I agree with folks here -- love your positive attitude. I'm trying to find one since our insurance rates shot up more than 10x for this year.


    I can't wait to see the spring shots of your beautiful new garden! :-)

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    28 days ago

    portlandmysteryrose Carol...how do R ponticum and Catawbiense look different? I am just learning about growing rhoddies. My mother just left what was there or planted what was given to her (often removed from someone else's garden.) so names are hard to come by.

  • portlandmysteryrose
    28 days ago

    I’m not 100% sure, Ann, but I think R Catawbiense is a subcategory of R ponticum that is native to the eastern US. I love that your mom’s garden is full of inherited and passalong plants! I have quite a few unnamed passalong plants, too, and they are lovely mysteries. The Antique Rose Forum seems to have quite a few gardeners with expertise way beyond roses, so you could try double posting on this forum when seeking IDs. Carol

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    27 days ago

    That is really helpful, they looked so much alike to me...unfortunately I killed my R Catawbiense. I love my pass along and inherited plants, but my mother hated hers, yet wouldn't take them out. How my mother ended up at the mercy of her garden, while HER mother taught me to make it pretty or take it out, I'll never know. Just one of my mother's quirks, in a very loveable lady.