Leave the rose, take the rest.

betty prior?

I think these were the exact words I gave to some landscaping crew that came by to help us with the dreaded rockery this morning. Yes, I hired out for landscaping help and I’m not proud–this part of the garden was a nightmare. Groundcovers like Pachysandra, Liriope and Vinca? They are the worst. All their little viny roots and stems wove a tangled nest throughout the rocks (also mingled in were some ferns and daylilies which are swiftly becoming my nemesis in this garden.)

Lower view

Upper view

The photos above were taken a few weeks ago…


…and this one I snapped right after the landscapers left. Notice the shed reno? There is one rose in this bed, pretty sure it is a ‘Betty Prior’, which until today was getting choked to death by these groundcovers. Is it weird that I think I actually felt a sigh of relief come off of Betty when they started digging everything out?


We still need to shore up the areas where rocks and soil have come down and clean up a bit, but then it will be ready to be planted out with pollinator-friendly perennials and self-seeding annuals.


In other news, we recently had 14 yards of compost delivered which I’ve been chipping away at. Our township does this thing where they compost all the leaves and branches that they collect in fall and all you do is pay a delivery fee, basically. We were too late in our arrival last spring to get in on it but I’m glad we can, now. What a money saver! I’m using it to help expand the beds in the garden but see that space in the photo above? That area, including where the Emerald Green Arborvitae is, was once entirely infested with Japanese Knotweed. It took us all last year to eradicate it. That was, quite simply, a soul-crushing job, and I still find tiny bits of knotweed trying to pop back up. Argh! Anyways, this area will eventually get planted out with some shrubs but for now it’s going to be the future sight of this summer’s sunflower patch. (In the background of this photo is the brush that we’ve been clearing. It’s mostly multiflora roses. There’s a forest back there somewhere!)


I’ve gotten a couple of questions about the edger I use so here’s a photo of it as I expand the little bed around my ‘Sally Holmes’ rose. I like to work in approximately 6″ sections cutting them into pieces with my edger so they’re easier to lift.


Sometime I shake off the soil and discard the rest and sometimes I take it all to an area of the yard where I need fill. I backfill where I removed the lawn pretty high, like this giant donut seen here around the Sally Holmes rose, because the compost compresses very quickly.


If you were in the path of that winter storm we had last week how did your garden manage? We had some frost damage to some of our roses but it wasn’t too bad. Now that the weather has warmed again, they seem to be recuperating and the dillies are springing up like crazy! The bears are back, too. I know because I didn’t bring the bird feeder in the other night and he basically destroyed the hook and part of the post to get to it. So yeah, between piles of compost, landscaping work and rogue bears we’re having a real spring experience over here! 🙂


10 thoughts on “Leave the rose, take the rest.

  1. You guys are killing it!! The transformation is amazing – can’t wait to see your roses take shape and fill out the space. I have never grown Sally Holmes before, but have wanted to for a long time. I don’t have the right space for it – maybe one day down the road! The gingerbread is spot on too – what a great idea! Thanks for taking time to share the before and after, it’s always inspiring to me to keep working on our own property. Hope you and your family have a great Easter weekend!

    1. Thank you for that Cole! Phew! We are exhausted from all of this so it’s wonderful to have the encouragement. 😀
      Sally Holmes is a lovely rose, but mainly I wanted to reintroduce her because I never got much out of our last one due to our midge problem. I need redemption, hahaha!
      Best wishes to you and your family this Easter as well. I hope you have a relaxing and peaceful weekend!

  2. Love watching your garden develop. So feeling it…when your rose could breath again.

  3. If that rose in the first photo is Betty Prior, it’s going on my list. Your property is beginning to look like a little jewel of a private park. The fretwork on the cottage is the frosting on the wedding cake. And, I thought you put the caption about the shed under the wrong photo – I couldn’t find it! 😐 Mission accomplished. I used wood chips to mulch my garden last fall for the first time, and WHAT a difference it made. I only lost one rose to winter kill, Dainty Bess, hybrid tea, which was an experiment in this climate, instead of the 5 to 10 shrub roses I usually lose. I’m sold on wood chip mulch! Mine is from pine trees, and the needles don’t chop up or decompose as well as leaves, but you work with what you’ve got.

    1. Oh thank you so much Andrea! Yay! That’s wonderful about your roses this year. Mulching really does help with soil temps and what-not. We’re thinking of making paths through the woods with a woodchips…you don’t happen to have your own woodchipper, do you? Trying to see if I can find one that actually works and isn’t too expensive….
      PS: I saw recently that at Lowes they have Betty Prior if you want to take a look! 🙂

      1. Thanks a million for the Lowes heads up. Will definitely check…today! What a great idea to put a path through the woods for a morning or evening walk. Love it! We can always think of more ways to make more work, right? I wish we had a woodchipper. I would like to chip my mulch up a little finer. Inspiring, as always, Laurie! Can’t wait to see what you do next!

        1. Hahaha yes there are always more projects just around the corner. 😉 I was just saying to my husband, let’s make a pond! *eye rolls* If I find a decent wood chipper I’ll let you know!

    1. Thanks! Yeah and it wasn’t that expensive and they finished it in under 2 hours. I was like, why haven’t I been doing this kind of thing all along? 😉

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