Lessons for Life


Many people have asked us if we planned to hybridize our own roses and we always said no and went on to explain that it takes about ten years to save seeds, wait at least a year till they rooted and bloomed, then select varieties, test them in various climates, and finally propagate enough of them to meet the demand from a well-advertised (expensive) marketing campaign.  That said, we’ve firmly remained against starting a hybridizing program, but back in 1997 Tracy did hand me a Rugosa rose hip and told me to try my hand at hybridizing if I wanted to.  I think I left that hip in the refrigerator for at least a year and then broke it open and tossed the seeds in a flat of rooting medium in the shade.  A few plants came of it, but not until this year have we seen flowers!  Here I can introduce the first two of our very own rose babies:

Rugosa Baby #1

5 Hearts

It is rather exciting to realize that these two roses would never exist if we hadn’t saved that particular rose hip (which was pollinated by a particular bee, with pollen from other specific rose plants) then planted it and had patience to see what would develop.  There are three more plants yet to bloom, so we’ll have to wait and see what they turn out to be.  Time will tell if any of these plants are worth keeping around, how big they’ll grow and how they’ll do outside, but Rugosas tend to be a very hardy breed and good as hedge shrubs.

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This post is a migration from our earlier blog, February 8, 2009

This is one of those postings I had planned for late last spring, but it’s just as appropriate now, because now we can actually get a handle on things and not have to live with my results of last year!

So, what’s the topic?  Weeds!

Humboldt County is known worldwide for one particular illegal weed, but it could easily be called the weed capital of the world for all the non-illegal ones thriving in our moist temperate area.  There is actually a town called Weed many miles east of us, but it’s much drier there and I bet we would easily beat them in a competition of most kinds of weeds.  It seems a new one shows up every year and it can easily gain a foothold in the garden.

weedsHere is the latest bane in my gardening life, Little Bittercress.  Actually there are at least four different weeds in this photo, but the Bittercress is the tall one on the left with the little white flowers.  I call it Rocket Weed because if it’s gone to seed and you try to pull it up, all the tiny seeds shoot up into your face and all over the garden to come back next year.  Argh…I can feel my blood pressure rising just looking at the photo!  So, yes, it’s better to get all weeds when they’re young, not just because their root systems are small and easier to pull up, but because they tend to go to seed quickly and you want to get to them before that!

Weeds on March

If you don’t, you get this little army of unwanted green marching into your pretty plot of irises.  Like anything or anyone testing the limits, it is TONS easier to keep them from invading, rather than trying to push them back out once they’ve already crossed the line. There are so many parallels to life you’ll just have to wait for my book someday… Tracy always says we have to have more Nos than they have Yeses.  It’s tiresome, but in the long run, it’s much less tiring than the alternative later.

And so, I resolved to use more mulch last year.  We got a beautiful load dumped from a local tree trimming company right around our anniversary, and I couldn’t have been happier.  I spent many weeks shoveling it around.  Unfortunately if there are weeds already growing and they have a strong will to survive, they will push through the mulch.  So, it was better, but not the best.

Weeds thru MulchI found that if I put down a couple sheets of newspaper before I spread the mulch I got better, longer weed prevention.  And since function often trumps fashion in my life, you’ll notice in a photo in the previous blog that I don’t always use newspaper.  We recycle a lot of cardboard this way, and recently I heard about using old carpet for pathways.  So, why not?  I’ll keep you posted!