Monday, May 26, 2014

Full of holes

It's raining AGAIN.

We had hoped to knock out that last little project for the shed but it just didn't happen.  After looking around the yard we came to the sad realization that nearly all of our roses needed cutting back to about 4-5 inches from the ground.  There was also a small dead peach and pear tree that needed to be dug up and discarded.  I also dug up a patch of lavender that was dead dead dead.  There wasn't even any roots left.

Over the last decade or so in this area, we have moved from a zone 4 to zone 5.  I know I was planting and growing plants that normally would not be available in this area.  This past winter tested that and now you see dead trees and bushes everywhere.

My neighbor who owns a nursery says he does not sell red bud trees because we are right on the zone edge for growing them.  He said that they can live for 25 or more years and then in one cold winter it can die.  I've always wanted a red bud so I purchased one about 7 years ago.  Based on his recommendation, I planted it on the south side and in a protected area.

The tree prospered.  I trimmed and pruned it into a lovely shape and it's location was perfect.  About 3 weeks ago I noticed that it had not bloomed yet.  I then started to look for blooming red buds as I drove around on my errands.  Not one blooming red bud was spotted.  Last week I noticed several little flowers on my tree and today there were a couple of tiny leaves budding.  I will be shocked if this tree makes a full recovery.

The weather has been cooler than normal.  I noticed a lot of the local farmer's fields have yet to be plowed or planted because of the standing water.  I am just now seeing people plant their annuals.  My tulips just started blooming last week and the black walnut trees are just starting to leaf out.

We planted our tomato plants yesterday which is a good 3 weeks behind normal planting for us.  It might be August before we are eating BLTs.

So in between the tomato planting we started cutting back the roses.  We have a lot of roses most are Knock Out, Carpet roses, and climbing rose bushes.  My neighbor's Seven Sisters climbing rose is now just several long twigs when it used to cover and hide a 6-8 foot section of fence.  My beautiful Joseph's Coat is dead and I am holding out hope that when we cut it back that it starts to regrow.

My hands, arms, and legs are covered in pin holes from the thorns.  I tried to wear gloves but the gloves just got caught on the thorns.  I was wearing flip flops and even stepped on thorns.  AND if that wasn't bad enough.....the mosquitoes have hatched and they were hungry.  I'm either bleeding from the mosquitoes or the thorns.

R says he is going to try using the electric hedge trimmer to cut back the roses.  Our hope is that the trimmers can cut back the roses to a manageable height and then I can go back and cut the remaining dead portion off with my snippers.  We figure it can't be any slower than the method we are using now.

Our dead limb piles are down to just one and today we reduced that by half.  Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain tomorrow so we can finish our burning of dead limbs.  I'd like to get those out of my sight so that the ugly reminder of this past winter can fade.