April Snow: The roses need planting, Part Two

Six weeks ago, I bought roses to plant in my front yard; it was an impulse purchase. The roses were dormant plants with no new growth. Full of possibility. Spring brings that feeling: a sense of hope and renewal. In mid-March in Colorado it is too early to plant, so I decided to wait for a couple of weeks. I planned to plant them on Passover weekend. Anyone who has ever lived in Colorado knows that spring is a fickle season; it can be a sunny warm day in the morning and in the afternoon, especially in April, snow might be on the ground.  This April is no exception. Still, I worked and started to dig out a section of grass and prepare the soil. I had plenty of time.

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April 4, 2017

On April 4 school was cancelled due to a snow storm – the only snow day this year in my district. The cold stayed and I was delayed in preparing the garden. Easter weekend brought beautiful weather, but I had papers to grade and lesson plans, so the roses had to wait.  Every few days I checked the weather forecast: warm days, but just above freezing at night. As a Colorado native, I have learned not to trust the prediction of temperature just above freezing, so I waited. A couple of those days the nighttime temp dropped to below freezing. Not wanting to risk planting roses just to have them freeze, Earth day seemed like the next target day for planting.

I worked on getting the area prepared and hauled out two wheelbarrow loads of dirt. I decided to finish prepping the ground on the day I planted: Earth day. We had a week-long streak of fine weather. On Earth day it rained. All day. It seems I can’t coordinate my planting plans with the weather this spring, and I suspect it is because this is the first year in about a decade that I have bought something to plant in the ground in the spring. Flowers in pots on the back porch terrace don’t qualify.

So I didn’t get the roses planted. Wednesday this week, meteorologists started warning us that a winter storm was on the way just in time for the weekend. I wanted to get the roses planted this Saturday. At least I would have gotten them planted in April.

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April 29, 2017

Well, nature doesn’t give a good damn what I want. I can wait. Tonight will be a hard freeze. Some gardeners may lose young plants, some farmers may lose early crops. Trees will lose branches, but hopefully the damage will be minimal. Some of my backyard trees already lost large branches, and I’ve seen posts on social media from friends who have the same damage – or worse.

The point of buying the roses is to be able to enjoy planting them, caring for them, and harvesting the blooms from my front garden.  Creating flower arrangements from my own garden is a joy. I once had a friend tell me that she was amazed at my resilience; she described my life as smelling like a rose every time I’d been dragged through a load of crap.  Nearly 25 years later, I’ve learned much more about resilience.  As for the idiom, coming up smelling like a rose, I suppose it depends on how we react to unfortunate events in life.  Experiencing hard times and coming out of them with more wisdom, resilience, and fortitude reminds me of roses; they are much more resilient than some people think.

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Last bloom of the season from October 2011.

My older rose bushes have endured a lot of neglect in the last few years, and each spring they greened up ready for another season. As I’m planning some landscaping, I’m hoping they will survive being uprooted and replanted, but I can’t be certain – which is why when I saw roses at the membership club, I decided on impulse to buy them at that time. I am surprised each year when the older roses come back because I fear I’ve done them in for good – by forgetting to cut them back before winter. They are resilient little suckers, they come back every spring. I have no idea how old they are; I suspect they have been in the small front garden for about 20 years, perhaps longer.

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Peony bush under heavy wet snow.

The old roses should survive the freeze and the new roses are waiting to be planted, but my peonies will freeze tonight, so I cut the buds and brought them in. I’m not sure if they will bloom as I’ve cut them, but I know they won’t bloom if they freeze. The peonies were a happy surprise the second year after I bought this house; the year I bought the house I did not realize the small flower garden hosted peonies. I have enjoyed them every year – except the year the blooms froze. I want to enjoy the blooms if possible.

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Roses growing, ready for planting.

Nevertheless, the new roses still need planting, and that must happen within the week. I’ve got the proper mixture for the soil, and I’ve got the tools to finish getting the area prepped. Perhaps it is a good thing that my procrastination and the timing of poor weather prevented me from planting before this spring snow.  It is rare for procrastination to be a benefit, but that’s a post for another time.

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