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This is a pretty busy time of year for us on the Hretz Homestead. We’ve added 7 new chicks to our backyard flock. All the seedlings have been planted. The flower beds have been extended, as have the gardens. An additional two truckloads of mulch dispersed. Plus planted new flowers and 10 tiny trees. If you want to know more about garden prep and such, check out my previous garden post here.

Lantanas are some of my favorite flowers we have planted. The flowers themselves are tiny clusters of fairy size bouquets. I prefer the yellow and pink variegated ones but they also come in other colors and solids as well. These plants get big and bushy with flowers all summer long.

We first had these in New Mexico, where they came back every spring. In Virginia it must be too cold so I had to replace them all. I guess that simply makes them an annual.

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A Rose by any other Name

We also added lots of roses this year. Some were found on Craigslist for a cost of digging them up ourselves. This added about 8 new-to-us-roses to the flower bed behind the house.

Chuck also ordered a variety of perhaps 10 from Antique Rose Emporium. This is where the ones we had planted last year all came from. One thing I envisioned when we first saw this house was large climbing roses. I knew one would have to go on the well. A prolific pink rose specifically.

I am solely responsible for the roses. I have utilized Jerry Baker’s expertise for their care. Diligently making and feeding them with his Rose Ambrosia Elixer.

How we Supported the Roses

As we have six climbing roses support systems have become very important. We installed two main types. First, we have a basic I-hook at the top and bottom with a metal wire attached to the I-hooks, then the roses get intertwined around the wires. In some instances, we also had to tie the rose to the wire with twine. The second type is using a wooden trellis and our fencing. Again, sometimes intertwining and sometimes tying with twine.

Last Saturday we added fishing-line to the I-hook/wire installation on our front porch. The porch is 15 feet high easily. This technique came from a favorite Instagrammer, Terricajoy, whom I’ve followed for a good couple years. Basically, we tied the fishing line to the wire up and down and back and forth. Creating a sort of series of diamonds for the roses to be supported by.

Where the Food Grows Abundant

In order to protect our garden from critters, such as our chickens and vegetable and fruit-loving dogs, we added a fence and gate to prevent access to the gardens.

n order to protect our garden from critters, such as our chickens and vegetable and fruit-loving dogs, we added a fence and gate to prevent access to the gardens.

Chuck found some very cute “Chicken” hooks to hang our solar lights from. I have these solar lights on three of our four gates as well as across our front walkway. They are very bright and you can actually charge them via a USB plug if you don’t get enough sun. I took advantage of this feature last winter, especially in the evenings when guests are coming in the front door and the sun sets early.

I’m not going to go through each item we planted, there’s a nice variety of vegetables and fruits. I’ll just follow up with a peek into the garden with pictures.

A lovely Surprise

As sometimes happens things pop up in expected ways. As I have said before we made lots of changes to our property. We removed lots and lots of overgrown shrubs. We elected to keep some… for lack a better word, tree-like shrubs at the corners of the house.

I did say a surprise. With the addition of things like compost and woodchips the soil quality as improved substantially. Well, one of these tree-like bloomed for the first time since we have lived here. It has turned out to be a beautiful Gardenia! I was so pleasantly surprised by this gift. I’ve never had a Gardenia before, it’s lovely and smells wonderful.

Tell me about your gardens. Do you have lots of roses? Flowers or food, or both?

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