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November bouquets & rain barrel & lemon balm

strawchicago z5
3 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

Here are some bouquets taken today, 11/02/22 in my zone 5a. Austins and blue roses bloom best in cold fall, despite several frosts in mid-Oct down to 28 F. I can smell the perfume of this bouquet wafting 30 feet across from the kitchen.

Orange Pat Austin has the best scent (nectarine, passion fruit, and mango), next is yellow Golden Celebration (smells like lemon cupcakes fresh from the oven), blue is Lagerfeld (like an expensive perfume), small dark red is a cluster of Purple Lodge (spicy old rose), pinks are Savannah (nice floral scent), upper beige is Queen Nerfertiti (scent is wonderful in cool weather):


Below upper beige is Mary Magdalene (wafting scent of frankincense and floral), large salmon is Sweet Mademoiselle (fruity and myrrh), dark red is The Dark Lady (nice old rose scent):


Evelyns (light pink) have about 6 buds ready to pop open this Nov. 2. Light pink is Comte which blooms best in cold weather. Dark red is Veteran's Honor. Dark pinks are Dee-lish. Snapdragons are cold hardy, and re-sow themselves through my zone 5a winter:


Below bouquet was dated Nov. 19, back when I grew Louis Estes (bi-color) below.

Evelyn is large pink. Small pinks are Cloudert Soupert.


Below bouquet was dated Nov 1, with Big Purple on top, yellow Strike it Rich is a good fall bloomer, same with Crown Princess Mag (center), and Aloha (pink) is a good bloomer in late fall.


Below bouquet was dated Nov. 14 few years ago, with Evelyn is always the largest bloom. Yellow Calendula (pot marigold) blooms until we get snow in zone 5a. Upper dark pinks are Dee-lish, which blooms until Thanksgiving:


What are your best blooming roses in late fall in cold temp? Thank you.

Comments (89)

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I did lasagna bed when I piled up layers of horse manure (up to 1 foot) on top of Golden Celebration back in 2012. In that November, Golden Cel. was super healthy as a 5-foot tall bush, kept ALL its leaves, except for 3 leaves with minor blackspots. I posted the pic. of the bottom of its bush to prove that it's possible to have healthy leaves in Nov. 2012, even on the most blackspot-prone Golden Celebration.

    GC is the worst among my 150+ fragrant varieties, my 2nd one even blackspotted in a pot with fast drainage.

    Horse manure is perfect for lasagna ON TOP, but NOT grass clippings (too acidic and matte together).

    Leaves also matte down and hardens the soil below, but NOT horse manure (has calcium to separate the particles and keep it fluffy).

    For the planting hole, I dig down to 2 feet, then pour a 3-gallon bucket of water to ensure fast drainage. Then I do lasagna: fill the bottom with acidic grass clippings to corrode the rocks below, then a layer of clay broken up with pelletized lime, then more composted grass clippings.

    I layered organics with rock-hard minerals AT BOTTOM. But at root-level I use neutral pH soil. Then I top with my rock-hard clay to buffer the acidic rain here.

    Below is 100% healthy & dark and glossy leaves on Abraham Darby, pic. taken this Nov. 5, 2022. I take cuttings before killing frost to root indoor & donate to charities. Abraham Darby's planting hole has super fast drainage, plus layering composted organics with hard clay:


  • KittyNYz6
    2 months ago

    Thank you, Straw, about your fertilizing..... Rose Tone & Alfalfa & horse m. are great! Definitely top fav fertilizers!!!!

    strawchicago z5 thanked KittyNYz6
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  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Straw, the photo of your bottom leaves is excellent. A great outcome. You are doing things differently than I do and I never use manure, but I believe it is a wonderful fertilizer. You are working with rock hard clay which is not what I have and it's great that you've found a way to amend it.

    strawchicago z5 thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Straw - I got that coat from a pop-up place many years ago. Yes, life is about people...I agree. :) :) And you're doing such a good thing by rooting/donating to charity. :) :) By you growing such beautiful roses and posting them online here, we get such happiness too. I'm so glad you share your beautiful roses with us...your roses have such beauty...really lifts my spirits to see your pics. :) :) Thanks for doing kind things. :) :) Thanks for showing quotes from people who had NDE experiences. I've been afraid to look at them in case horrible things are revealed...so it's very good to hear that the opposite is true. :)


    Paul - yes, Ontario gets lots of heavy snow and a great deal of humidity which makes it feel colder. Blech. :)


    Ingrid - oh, I hope you get Cottage Rose again!!! What a heavenly bouquet of them!!! Thank you for your encapsulation of NDEs...that's nice to hear. :)


    Prairiemoon - I did that lasagna method and planted my perennials right away...they did really well. :) I grow my roses in pots...so I didn't try roses that way.


    Straw - if I lived in the U.S. I would definitely get some Austins from you! I'd get The Dark Lady, Radio Times and Evelyn for sure. But it's too difficult to get phyto-sanction etc. Booo. :):)

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    rosecanadian You are the love that binds this forum together. Without you, there's no love in this forum. Still remember back in 2011, you, Seil, and I were the only ones who click "like" and complimented everyone who posted pics. As I progress in experience, I get bombed with questions and more preoccupied with answering questions.

    Thank you, Carol, for being that "thread" that connects everyone with loving kindness for the past decades.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Straw - you humble me. Thank you. I copied what you wrote and sent it to my daughter with Aspergers...she's always in hyper-stress from not being a world leader in helping people. I told her that it's the little things we do that make as much difference as the larger things we do.

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    rosecanadian Vitamin D deficiency (lack of sunshine) affects Aspergers. Hormones regulate moods, and vitamin D is essential for normal hormone production. My daughter is super happy & relaxed in spring and summer when she gets sunshine. But in late fall and winter she's depressed from lack of sunshine. It's call Seasonal Disorder.

    Aspergers is MUCH WORSE in late fall and winter and lessens in summer thanks to enough sunlight for vitamin D (regulates moods and hormones).

    When I'm sleepy or sad, I go outside and just 15 mins. of sunshine is enough to perk me up and make me happy.

    Lemon Balm tea is super-powerful to calm any stress. The Lemon Balm plants in partial shade DOES NOT work as well as the Lemon Balm in more sun. The Lemon Balm plants in partial shade get diseases & thinner leaves with green caterpillars, but the Lemon Balm plants in more sun have zero pests.

    The Lemon Balm plants which I threw a bunch of pea-gravel (different colors minerals) give the best result in good sleep, thanks to the nutrients in the pea-gravel.

    I would give up ALL my 150+ roses, but I won't give up my lemon balm plants. Making tea from it helps with my daughter's anxiety tremendously. I gave out free lemon balm plants when folks bought rootings from me to donate charities, but I won't be able to next year since it takes time for them to spread again.

    It took me 6 years before lemon balm plants spread in my zone 5a garden to share the plants. Thank God I froze a bunch of Lemon Balm leaves in my freezer, so it helps to calm my daughter when she's so anxious about upcoming interview for her summer actuary internships.

    I'm going to freeze even more Lemon Balm leaves next year, since I love the taste and it works better than Melatonin for a wonderful sleep.

    It's easier to make tea from frozen-lemon balm leaves: I nuke 1/2 cup of water for 2 minutes until it boils. Then I throw a chunk of frozen-lemon balm leaves, submerge that below 1/2 cup of boiling water with a spoon. Let it soak for 15 min, add 1/2 cup of cold water, strain off and discard the solid (pressing with a spoon to squeeze out the juice). Then drink the delicious warm lemon balm tea.

    FRESH & frozen lemon balm leaves taste better, and much more effective for anxiety than the dried lemon leaves. Bought lemon tea once from Amazon and NEVER again, it tastes nasty and doesn't work well for sleep nor anxiety, that's why I started growing lemon balm plants in my garden.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Sounds like great advice, thanks, Straw. :) Holly won't drink tea and she is against taking advice from me right now. :) I'm thinking that my leaving her alone on this issue will be the best help I can give her.

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago


    Above is my last bouquet of the year, pic. taken Nov. 20. Normally I have blooms for Thanksgiving, but frost at 13 F came one week earlier this year. Dark reds are Munstead Wood. Blue is Lagerfeld (wonderful scent like Bluegirl, but more cold-hardy). Orange is Carding Mill, very winter-hardy, leaves are still green as of 11/29/22.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Oh, I have Lagerfeld (new last summer)...I really liked it so far. Mine didn't have fragrance...but I'm hoping for better next year. I really love the reds in that photo! Munstead Wood sure can be beautiful.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Carol, you are the queen of pots, with the best looking Violet's Pride, so Lagerfeld will be awesome with your cool weather. As own root, Lagerfeld blooms best in cool weather, fluffy soil plus tons of rain.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Oh, so Lagerfeld would do well with some rainwater! Having multiflora rootstock, I'm imagining that it wouldn't want as much rain water as yours on own root would?

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    You are right about multiflora rootstock would be more vigorous than Lagerfeld as own root. Lagerfeld color is more blue with acidic rain water, and more pink with my alkaline tap water at pH 9.

    Multiflora rootstock can take alkaline tap water, but needs loamy or sandy soil. Multiflora is cluster root, and it hates my dense & rock hard clay despite my high rainfall.

    Dr.Huey rootstock is a big chunky woody stick and can easily go through my rock-hard clay that broke 2 of my shovels.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Straw...we have capacity for a lot of rain water storage and I'm trying to see which ones would like more rainwater. Queen of Elegance can take a lot of rainwater.

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    rosecanadian - In what way do you have capacity for a lot of rain water storage? I'm planning to expand mine next season and looking for resources and methods.

    strawchicago z5 thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA Carol (Rosecanadian) asked me about how I set up my many rain-barrels, and here's our conversation in below post:

    Tell Me a Story #2 (houzz.com)

    rosecanadianOriginal Author
    2 years agoTeresa - do you think that having a rain barrel set up in the rainy part of the year would have water that stayed acidic so I could use the water in the dry part of the summer? The water wouldn't loose its acidity would it? This sounds like a dumb question LOL...but I'm asking it anyway. :)

    strawchicago z5
    2 years agoCarol: the water in my 6 rain barrels STAY acidic at pH 4.5 ... I have to put pea-gravel and red-lava-rock inside those barrels to neutralize acidic rain. Nutrients are most available at neutral pH to slightly acidic. pH 4.5 is too acidic. Below are my posts on rain-barrels years ago:
    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2132625/rain-barrels-garden-tips-lessons-learned#n=19
    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/3954461/rain-barrel-questions#n=2

    strawchicago z5

    Quick rain barrel: Shorten the rain-spout so a garbage can can fit underneath. When it's done raining, close the lid so mosquitoes don't hatch. The best rain-barrels have lid that can open easily so the inside can be rinsed. I store rain-barrels in the garage in the winter.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Prairiemoon - I don't know how to describe it. LOL There's pipes and containers, etc. But I know hubby took pictures...if you want I can ask him.


    Straw - how about doing what I do? First water roses with rain water and then go around and water with tap water. They should mix together and be fine...right??

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    rosecanadian I'm too lazy to water my 100+ roses twice. This year I don't even use my tap water at pH 9. If we have no rain, I dump water on each rose from my 7 rain-barrels. We have rain weekly except for a few weeks in August & Sept.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Straw, Thank you for the info about rain barrels, I'm reading through the link you gave me. I'll be back. :-)

    Rosecanadian - I have rain barrels, but I am considering purchasing larger containers and setting them up with soaker hoses. I need to attach 4 hoses to each barrel and I've read that there isn't enough pressure from a rainbarrel to do that. I'm trying to find out if there is some way to do that. I already raise mine off the ground with cement blocks but I'm thinking of raising them a little higher. I also wondered about providing something that would produce enough pressure to use the soaker hoses. I'm just beginning to think it through.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Soaker hoses are useless, bought one back in 2000 and that DID NOT even work with alkaline tap water from high-pressure faucet.

    I don't even use the lower faucets on my rain barrels, water flow is too slow despite raising the height with a bunch of bricks.

    One time I used the lower faucet and placed the hose on Crown Princess Mag., but I forgot to move the hose to the next rose. So CPM rose got all 50-gallons of water on it.

    Much faster to flip out the lid and draw the water up with a bucket. The UPPER overflow hole of a rain barrel is useful to hook up a hose into ANOTHER 50-gallon garbage can.

    I have 3 large rain-barrels, but I attach hoses to the UPPER overflow holes into four more 50-gallons garbage cans. So I get seven containers of 50-gallons of rainwater each.

    We get heavy rain here, if Alexa tells me more than 0.1 inch of rain coming, it means ALL seven 50-gallon-containers will be filled with rainwater.

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I have 7 rainspouts coming from the roof of my tall house.

    Three of those rainspouts come down the 3 rain-barrels (with overflow hoses dumping water into four more 50-gallon garbage cans).

    Four remaining rainspouts I attach LARGE DIAMETER flex hoses leading to the plants that need water. I punch holes on these flex pipes so heavy rain, coming from the spouts will drip off more rain-water to the plants.

    I buried one of these flex pipes UNDERGROUND leading to my patch of lemon balm. Lemon balm needs more water than roses.

    Lemon balm won't spread unless it's soaking wet. That's how I gave 10+ lemon balm plants to the people who bought my rose-rootings (all money went to charities).

    The water pressure from the tiny LOWER FAUCET of rain-barrel is pathetic.

    But the water pressure from each large rainspout is way more with all the water collected from the large roof during heavy rain.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I have 2 rainbarrels off 2 downspouts now. I don't like the overflow tube that came with them. they are supposed to allow you to piggy back another rainbarrel off them but the way they positioned the exit and entrance holes on each barrel, they are at the same height so the water just doesn't move from one to the other well. I was always having to go jiggle the hose to get it going again so last year I didn't even put my 3rd barrel out there.

    If you connect your hose higher up on the barrel, that doesn't empty the water below the connection though, right? To me that is the reason to use the lowest spigot to use the water. This year I tried attaching a hose to the lowest spigot. I put it through my 100ft hose in the back and a 50ft hose in front. It completely emptied the barrels in about 15min. Not a heavy flow but enough. The problem I had was I have hoses with brass connectors but the spigot on the barrel is plastic, so getting the hose on and off was not working well. I was thinking of replacing the spigot that came with the barrel with a brass one. Not something I relish doing because I am far from handy. But I thought maybe between my husband and I we could manage.

    Then I was going to attach a 4 way water shut off allowing me to attach 4 soaker hoses to run into my perennial / rose beds in the front and vegetable rows in the back. I've had soaker hoses before that worked okay for me off my house spigot.

    Here is the hose attachment I was going to try to attach to a new brass spigot.



    I'd really rather pay someone to set up a system for me, but I don't think there is enough demand for that kind of service in this area and I haven't found someone that knows what they are doing.

    Last season we had worse drought then we've ever had before and I realized I have to get serious about the rain water collection if I want to keep gardening. So far, I've just done the minimum and I am sure I can do better. The way it is now, I end up just hand filling a 1.5gal watering can and hand watering with it and that's just too labor intensive for me.

    strawchicago z5 thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Rain-barrel that has a screened lid on top plus 2 overflow holes ON TOP is best. The overflow holes ON TOP is to hook hoses into 50-garbage cans to collect more during heavy rain.


    At 61-year old, I can flip off the lid, then draw water with a 3-gallon bucket. It's good for my arm muscle, plus I get exercise from running around dumping water buckets on my 100+ roses. I never use the faucet below since it's faster to draw water from top with a bucket.



    I have 3 of below rain barrels from Menards for $69, bought 8 years ago in 2014. The faucet at bottom has a bigger hole, so water flow is faster. It's a better-designed & lighter and bigger faucet hole than others.
    See picture below of 52 gallon-rain-barrel from Menards for $69.99. It took my husband exactly 15 min. to stack up the bricks ($2.49 each), then saw off the gutter-pipe with a hand-saw, and re-hook the curved-part at the end. They also sell plastic flexi-curved section for $3, to attach at the bottom of the saw-off pipe.


    My basement is much drier, after I installed 3 rain barrels and direct water AWAY from the house. Back in 2014 I attached a 6 feet hose with a shut-off valve to the lowest faucet ... so I use the shut-off valve on the 6'-hose, to lessen wear & tear on the barrel's faucet. Now I flip off the lid, then draw water with a bucket, it's much faster. Watering with a hose is too slow.


  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: last month

    Yes, I was just reading that on the thread you linked to. Mine are a little different and I bought them through a program with the town about 5 years ago. We also have a diverter that is inserted back in between the upper part of the downspout where it was cut, and the lower half, rather than missing the whole bottom of the downspout.

    You bought trash barrels at a lower price for the overflow, but I have rainbarrels for back up, and there is no way for overflow to exit except out of a high outlet that you attach a small narrow tube that is suppose to connect to another outlet on the matching rain barrel. I already have three, so I planned on using the third rainbarrel the way you are using your trash barrels. It just doesn't work well the way they designed it.

    And if the rainbarrel holds 55 gallons then w my watering can I have to fill it 36 times to empty the water barrel and that's just one barrel. That's a lot. I tried that last summer and it didn't work out well. Having a system that allows water from the rainbarrels to be distributed is the next step up from doing this and I'm just trying to find a way to do it. I figure someone has figured a way to do it. [g]

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    3-way faucet splitter is sold for $12 on Amazon, see below:



    Easier to attach the above to a 6 feet long hose from the rainspout, rather than to the rainspout itself.


    Picture above shows the 6 feet extension from the rain barrel to my Golden Celebration bush .. it has a shut-off knob, plus I can hook a 3-way faucet splitter on it.

    Below is a cluster of Mary Magdalene, turning pinkish thanks to acidic rainwater from my barrels. Pic. was taken Nov. 15, 2022:


  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Nice, that was what I was thinking, that it would be harder to attach to the rain barrel. A 6 ft extension sounds about right. So, now all I have to do is figure out how to get the pressure higher and how to get some soaker hoses to work for me. In my front, it may be easier for me, since there is only a short distance between the barrel and the bed I am going to water and there is a slight incline so gravity will help out with that.

    I've also been considering a larger container, something like these....







    And whether that would provide more pressure from such a large amount in a taller container. Certainly wouldn't run out of water for the summer...lol.

    Okay, sorry that I dragged this thread so far off topic. I probably should have started a new thread, but you were too nice to say so. [g] Thanks for the conversation and sharing your experiences. Now back to November roses... and by the way, that Mary Magdalene is a very pretty rose!

    strawchicago z5 thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Love those pics. of large rain-barrels !! Our rain here is so heavy that we get flash flood alerts in spring and summer. I really need above big rain-barrels.

  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    2 months ago

    Straw, in going back over this thread, I am struck by the beauty of Sweet Mademoiselle. After Lisa in hot, dry SoCal said she didn't like it's artificial looking color, I never gave it another thought, but yours doesn't look artificial, so I'm guessing the climate difference is why. Surprisingly, it is a wonderful mixer with all your other colors from the deep dark reds to lavender and everything in between. I'm adding it to my '23 list from the Rosarium.

    Rain barrels, of any kind, would be a game changer here. There's no comparison in how much better the roses do after a rainy spring. The big hang up is the miles of hoses I would need. There is a small garden near the house, but my main rose garden is too far back.

    strawchicago z5 thanked flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA What are other roses you are buying for 2023 from Northland Rosarium besides Sweet Mademoiselle? Thank you. Love to hear from you.

    For the first time in decades, I buy zero roses this year and focus on rooting roses to benefit 2 charities: Mother Teresa nuns in Chicago who run a homeless shelter, and Carmelite Friars in NY who wire the money for toothpaste & toothbrush for orphanages overseas.

    Sweet M. is THE MOST VIGOROUS among my 150+ fragrant varieties. Below was when it's 3rd-year own-root at 6' x 4' wide. The short yellow rose is Moonlight Romantica.


    The color is nice salmon pink in my rock hard alkaline & heavy clay. Left is Sweet Mademmoiselle, right is Evelyn, and lowest red is W.S. 2000. Sweet M blooms are always 4 inch. or larger.


    Below pic. was taken in hot August showing Sweet M on left. Upper less petals is Princess Charlene de Monaco, middle light pink is Evelyn. Those 3 give me the most blooms since they are most vigorous in zone 5.


  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    An Amazon reviewer wrote this on the dried lemon balm tea "Tradional Medicinals" packet, and I agree 100%. That's why I grow lemon balm plants in my garden for its delicious taste (way better than green tea), and its calming nutrients which make me happy.
    Amazon reviewer wrote: "I love lemon balm and used to grow quite a lot of it in my garden before I moved. Now I have only one young plant, and it hasn't yet given me enough leaves to use fresh AND dry for the winter. I can't wait for its regrowth in spring! Meanwhile, I bought this from Traditional Medicinals because I know how wonderful this plant is! I got disappointed, though, at the aroma, flavor and even color of this herb. Okay, we know that dry leaves render an infusion with different color (more brownish than greenish), and aroma and taste slightly different from fresh leaves infusion, but the lemon balm I cultivate and dry gets much more tasty, aromatic and greenish after drying. Maybe this lemon balm from TM has been dried for too long (that's why is so brown and has weak taste and aroma)? Or perhaps it's just older than we would like it to be. For those of you that have never had fresh lemon balm infusion, or even dried leaves infusion but from herbs carefully dehidrated at home, you may think that this is the real taste, aroma and color of lemon balm. But it isn't.

    As far as the medicinal effect it has, I have used the whole box (as a matter of fact, as I write I'm sipping a cup of infusion made with the last bag) and have not felt any difference in my body, not even the calming, soothing, happy feelings that I know and love so much from lemon balm." Amazon Reviewer on Tradional Medicinal Lemon Balm tea

    From Straw: The only time that I had the "exhilarating, happy and 100% content" was when I'm in love with someone. Or when I bought an expensive Organic green tea imported from Brazil, but that had too much caffeine, and it took a huge amount before I could achieve that elated feeling.

    In contrast, it takes just a small amount of FRESH or frozen Lemon balm to induce that "high" or happy feeling. Below are lemon balm plants in my garden, it took 10 years before I could grow enough for daily use, and six years before I could share lemon balm plants with others.

    It's NOT invasive since it stays a clump (one root) and doesn't spread via suckers like mint.

    Mint is a nightmare in my garden. Took me days to kill invasive spearmint, versus years before I could get enough Lemon Balm to make tea.

    Below Lemon Balm in my garden needs more water than roses, best in a high-rain climate:


    There are weeds that look like above Lemon Balm, but NOT lemon balm, see below plant, which is similar to Lemon Balm, but NOT lemon balm (lemon balm is shorter plant & rounder & shinier leaves and need ungodly amount of rainwater to spread).

    Lemon Balm refused to spread in my garden until I installed 7 rain-barrels (each at 50-gallon capacity). Below is NOT LEMON BALM, but a weed. The real lemon balm smells wonderfully lemon when I crush the leaves between fingers:


  • crow465z8b
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @strawchicago z5My head is spinning trying to absorb all this very technical information. Ohhhh. Our soil is sticky when wet and hard clay when dry although we have been amending with loads of composted horse manure for the past couple of years. We are fortunate to have a horse boarding facility near us who sells composted horse manure - we have horses and donkeys but I do not have time to wait for the composting process. So, Straw, being in the PNW, we have a lot of rain in the spring and again in fall and winter. I have ordered from Palatine for the first time this year whose roses are grafted on multiflora rootstock. You say that rootstock needs loamy or sandy soil to thrive, what should I do to prepare our soil for the very best outcome for my much anticipated rose plants? Not only do I want the best conditions for Palatine roses but for the many Austins, Regans and Edmunds roses I have on order. I want to enjoy my roses but not need to be a chemistry major in order to grow them. Is there a basic recipe you might suggest for success or is it just hit or miss and experience that educates one? I did buy a really good pH soil meter this year! Also, your roses are so beautiful......awe inspiring!

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    crow465z8b Multiflora-rootstock (from Palatine) DOES NOT like alkaline mushroom compost (or horse manure at pH over 8). A friend has over $4,000 roses, and the ones grafted on Dr.Huey like the mushroom compost he got, but the ones grafted on multiflora DO NOT.

    Back in 2012 had a rose grafted on multiflora. It hated my dense & rock hard clay at pH near 8. Leaves became pale & bronzy. So I put Lilly Miller ACID fertilizer on it. It was near a tree, and it came down with RRD (became super thorny with twisted witches' broom). That was the only RRD infected rose I have in 3 decades among 150+ varities.

    Multiflora-rootstock HATES dense & heavy clay & salty fertilizer & hot and dry.

    Pakistan Rosarians in zone 9b have to make own-roots since their roses grafted on multiflora (from England) decline or die within 5 years in their hot climate, and salty pots.

    Fixing clay with wash & horticultural yellow all purpose sand is the best approach for multiflora-rootstock. Sand helps to loosen up clay and mulitflora-roostock likes high-rain & cooler climate & loamy soil.

    Own-root roses: they are wimpy & alfalfa sprouts at first, but once grown in good potting soil & well-fertilized for 1 year, their roots harden and can take clay.

    Most Austin own-root roses get chunky & hardy fast, but wimpy own-root roses (like older hybrid teas) are slow to become woody & chunky. I gave up on Neil Diamond (hybrid tea) as own-root, roots never get harden to thrive in my rock-hard clay.

    A friend in heavy clay & dry & alkaline Texas told me that his August Luis (grafted on multiflora) from Palatine died in Texas heat.

    I had only 2 roses grafted on multiflora: Comte de Chambord which gave 1/6 the blooms compared to the 2 Comtes as own-root. My second rose was Grandma's Blessing (grafted on multiflora) which came down with horrible RRD. I had to trash it plus disinfected the soil.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    How did you disinfect the soil?


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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I sprayed Windex on the surface of the soil. I took microbiology in college, and we tested Windex, rubbing alcohol, ultraviolet light, and all 3 kill germs well. My daughter used to spray Windex on ants to kill them when she was young.

  • crow465z8b
    last month

    Thanks Straw for the information. I get confused easily! I read somewhere that adding sand to clay soil turns it to concrete. What is your opinion on adding gypsum to lighten clay soils? I will go back and re-read which rootstock my Palatine rose orders are grafted on. I have been checking pH levels of soil that goes into my planting holes and it has been 6 to 6.5 consistently.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Gypsum is acidic and it makes soil more acidic in a climate with acidic rain like mine. Gypsum is calcium sulfate (with 18% acidic sulfur). Too much calcium suppresses potassium, necessary for health and flowering. My roses in too much gypsum mixed in either died, lousy health or stingy.

    Adding sand to clay to make concrete is a myth. Clay mixed with sand turns into hard pottery if heated at extremely high temp. I have sand alternate with clay layers when I built a brick border, and over a decade later, I took down the brick border and found it super fluffy below, despite the heavy brick on top.

    I mixed coarse sand with my rock-hard clay for hybrid tea Baronne de Rothchild, and it shot up to 3 feet tall (bought as tiny band from High Country Roses). It's 100% healthy for the past 3 years plus constant blooming until hard frost at 13 F:


  • crow465z8b
    last month

    Straw, that is good to know! Experience is the best teacher, right? You have that. Now that I am more serious about planting, caring for and growing gorgeous roses, I must learn those things that will be most beneficial to them and I know that it begins with soil. I so appreciate your knowledge and others on this forum who are much more experienced than I. Thank you!

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  • rosecanadian
    last month

    Prairiemoon - yes, we have really large containers (like the 3 you showed (middle one is the one we have) and lots of smaller storage containers that fold up when not in use. My husband has a pump and he drilled holes in hard plastic tubing for the grass. He's got one large container on two sides of the house connected to the downspouts. When he overfills the containers he pumps them into the smaller storage containers (about 20 that he keeps in the garage). We call him my rain farmer. :) Sorry I can't be more helpful...and he's been super busy and stressed so I haven't asked him. The pump is moved around to wherever he needs it. Right before a rain, he moves water around to make room in the big ones. The metal splitter is what we have. He also has a device that levels the two tanks we have that are side by side that the larger one feeds into. He has many different containers. LOL


    Straw - beautiful roses...I adore the color on your Sweet Mademoiselle!!





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  • crow465z8b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @strawchicago z5 What about roses on Dr. Huey rootstock - do they like the same type soil that multiflora does? I'm not sure what rootstock Edmunds roses uses? So much to learn, so little time! If I plant my Palatine roses, making sure to mix the soil for the planting hole - I make BIG planting holes, 2'x2' - and if I amend our clay soil with compost, a tiny bit of peat moss, throw in some sand, a bit of Rose Tone and make sure that mix is 6 to 6.5 pH, should that be a good start for them? I always make sure the planting holes drain well when I am planting. What else to do need to know to keep my Palatines healthy? Not only Palatines, but all new roses as I plant? Thanks so much for your advice!

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  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Rosecanadian - That sounds like a great set up you have there. Your husband designed it? I'm wondering how many gallons that middle photo holds. Is it twice the amount of the 55 gallon rainbarrels? He uses a pump? Is that to get the water out of the rain container through hoses? Rain farmer is right!


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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    crow465z8b Edmunds Roses use Dr.Huey-rootstock (long & thick and chunky). Dr.Huey needs a deep hole with fast drainage. I dig down to 2 feet, then pour a 2 gallon bucket of water. If water doesn't drain immediately, then I dig out & throw away the rocks or sticky clay at bottom, until water drains fast.

    Dr.Huey can handle heavy clay if the pH is ALKALINE plus FAST DRAINAGE, thus NO peatmoss at pH 4 for Dr.Huey. Dr.Huey can take salty fertilizer, so yes to mixing Rose-Tone in planting hole.

    Below is a pic. of Dr.Huey rootstock in my garden. Note the long stick, thus deeper hole:


    Palatine Roses are grafted on Multiflora (more shallow cluster root), and it can take a shallow hole & slower drainage. Use COARSE sand (yellow washed multipurpose sand) to fix heavy clay for Multiflora-rootstock.

    Multiflora-rootstock HATES salty fertilizer, so NO mixing in Rose-Tone. Rose-tone is best ON TOP so rain-water can dilute its salty & stinky chicken manure.

    YES to compost in the planting hole of Multiflora. Multiflora is a cluster root and it benefits from high phosphorus in compost (phosphorus enables branching of roots).

    YES to peatmoss in the planting hole of Multiflora (likes it wet). But peatmoss's acidity needs to be balanced with dolomitic lime (Garden Lime) at 3/4 cup of dolomitic lime per gallon of peatmoss. Below is a web pic. of multiflora-rootstock to show its cluster root:



  • crow465z8b
    last month

    Wow, thank you Straw! That is superb information for me to help with my planting in the early spring when all my new bare root roses will arrive. Your instructions are clear and precise, exactly what I need. I will put your instructions in my rose journal for easy reference. I will go in search of yellow sand and dolomitic lime. All of my roses up until now have been own root and so I am inexperienced totally with grafted roses. Your help is invaluable. I sure don't want to kill my new beauties before I get the chance to enjoy them!

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  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last month

    Straw, besides Sweet Mademoiselle, I have ordered 5 more Life of the Party bands. I have a few, and want to create an entire bed of them. I grew a couple in pots last year and they grew unbelievably fast and bloomed like crazy. Someone here posted a photo of their grouping, and it was stunning with all those shades of pink and yellow. I am so sorry, I don't remember who it was. If she's reading this, I hope she will post that photo again. I want to say Laura in CA. I hope to add Yves Piaget if I can find one. Pop Art is another I have just started to admire. It's prettier than it's unfortunate name, in my opinion.

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  • rosecanadian
    last month

    Prairie Moon - we can store 2,500 L/660 gallons of water. And from our house and garage roofs, we can get 1,500L/396 gallons from just 10 mL/.6cu.inch of rain. So if he knows it's going to rain...he goes out with his pump and distributes outside water to the garage tubs. And then when I want water...he shifts everything around. LOL He actually really enjoys doing this...it reminds him of when he was in charge of piping systems at work. He's retired now.

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  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    Rosecanadian - Your husband seems to have had a career that dovetails with your gardening. [g] As I suspected, I am sure I can do better than I've been doing with a little more effort. Thanks for sharing that. I haven't even taken advantage of my garage roof yet and I have two more downspouts at the other end of the house I can use. I just have to get busy! lol

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA Back in 2001, it cost only $200 to install extra gutter to collect rain-water from the garage, plus a downspout. We have 2 1/2 cars garage, so that rainspout can fill three 50-gallons containers, for a total of 150 gallons each time Alexa says 0.1 inch of rain is coming.

    The other 6 rainspouts coming down the roof of my house give less water than the 7th downspout from the garage's roof.

  • rosecanadian
    last month

    Prairiemoon - yes, hubby is really handy for my hobby. And he's very supportive. :)


    Straw - yes, it's amazing how much water you can get from the rooftop. We have cedar shakes...so they have been treated for fire protection I guess. There's probably arsenic and other stuff in there (neighbor says no...he talked to someone about it...but I don't know) So I don't use it for food that I'm growing. Apparently, regular shingles are something like 99.9% the same as rain so you can use that for growing food.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Carol: Your husband is a genius with his water pumps and pipes to draw rainwater for your roses. Husband is on vacation this week. He asked me what he should do. I told him to get horse manure for my roses. He broke out laughing.

    He always gets horse manure for my birthday in Sept., but he did not, so I ask him now 12/7/22.

    I have a sore in the corner of my lower lip. Thank God it's NOT cold sore, but vitamin Bs deficiency. That's from eating husband's Dove Dark Chocolate,

    I gained 5 lb., from 115 lb. to 120 lb. just from eating his sweets & croissants.

    I forget that I don't run, but he runs 6 miles per day, and 10 miles on weekend.

    I have to remind myself that if I eat sweets, then I have to do 1 mile on the treadmill. Easier to stop eating sweets & bread, than to torture my 61-year-old body on the treadmill.

    I haven't used lemon balm tea for a month since I'm saving it for my daughter's stressful final exams. She's in 2nd year of college and is going through 3 interviews this week for an actuary internship job in the summer.

    Last night I made lemon balm tea to ease the sore on the corner of my lip, and WOW, it was instant relief. I'm no longer in pain when I smile or brush my teeth from that sore. I also resume nutritional yeast for B vitamins, esp. B12.

    Sore on mouth is a sign of vitamin B deficiency, esp. B12. Best sleep ever from drinking lemon balm tea, and I'm happy when woke up.

    Lemon Balm tea is famous for healing cold sores, any inflammation and insomnia, see excerpt below from WebMD:

    " Applying a lip balm containing an extract of lemon balm (LomaHerpan by Infectopharm) to cold sores seems to shorten healing time and reduce symptoms if applied at the early stages of infection. Taking lemon balm (Cyracos by Naturex SA) twice daily for 15 days improves sleep in people with insomnia. "

    I would give up all my 150+ fragrant roses, but NOT below lemon balm plants in my garden. It rescues my daughter from stress in this Dec. week of final exams and job interviews. It also gives me fantastic sleep and happiness, despite life problems.


  • rosecanadian
    last month

    Straw - I love that your husband broke out in laughter over horse manure! He gets you!! :) :) You are such a support for your daughter. She's so lucky to have you! Can you just eat the leaves instead of making tea? Would it do the same thing?

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The leaves are scratchy to eat, but they good cooked with fish. I made FRESH juice from lemon balm leaves by grinding it in a blender, then strain off the leaves. The FRESH juice is lesser in taste than making tea by dunking leaves in boiling water and soaking for 15 min. Hot water makes the tea tastes sweeter.

    It was like a miracle last night, the sore on the lower corner of my lip was painful, and the minute I sipped on lemon balm tea (made from frozen leaves), the pain went away. I was eating toast & eggs sprinkled with nutritional yeast while sipping on warm tea.

    Woke up this morning and no MORE pain on that lip sore. Lemon balm is amazing to heal any inflammation be it mouth/lip sore, or mind-pain from anxiety.

    My daughter is jumping rope & happy after her 2nd job interview. She has a 3rd job interview this Friday. I credit lemon balm tea for easing her anxiety as a 20-year-old college student.

    Below lemon balm tea DOES NOT work well like fresh or frozen lemon balm from one's garden.

    Decade ago, I was disappointed with the dried teas, so I grow 10+ lemon balm plants in my garden ever since. Amazon reviews stated the same.