Farm Notes

We are adding this new category called Farm Notes today. We still have a few more blogs by Anne to be published. The next one will be her thoughts on her rose collections at Chambersville Tree Farm in Texas and at the new American Rose Society Gardens in Shreveport, LA and the importance of conserving rare and heritage roses.

Do you keep a farm journal?

Before social media took over, we kept a journal about our Indiana farm. It began as a way to observe the cycles of our natural environment such as light and heat for micro-climating; predator/prey relationships to anticipate opportunities and threats; and water movement to work with nature instead of against it and grew into our account of the joys of homesteading. Rick and I had fun skimming through it after we found it in a box from our recent move to Washington.

So much is happening here as we restore Anne’s rose gardens and the family home, rejuvenate Rick’s vegetable gardens and orchard that he created when he lived here in the 90s, build relationships in our community, and continue our family legacy. We will share our celebration of the beauty, magic, and memory making of our new journey here, under the category of Farm Notes.

Please share what you keep in your farm journal or what you would like to see here.

February 11, 2022

We are coming out of the short dark days of winter here in Northwestern Washington. We generally get snow in February and then enjoy the ride into spring. In anticipation, we have been getting our gardening tools and machinery cleaned, oiled, and sharpened so they are ready to go.

The other day as I opened the door to the oven to bake cookies, I found a tire in the oven. I’m never surprised by these types of things anymore. Rick thought by putting the tire in a preheated oven (to 170 degrees and then turned off), that the rubber would be more pliable so that an inner tube could be easily placed inside. This with a little soap spread about the hole to get the wheel over the tire made the process a snap. Rick is definitely his mother’s son. Like Anne, Rick is pragmatic and resourceful in getting tasks completed.

The roses are long overdue for a serious pruning and with over 1,000 we need to begin as soon as the weather allows. We will have two pruning parties to help with the task and Rick and I will work in before, in between, and after to finish up. Our priorities are the English roses around the house, the modern roses in the formal garden, and the ramblers that have taken over everything in and around the space they were designed to stay in. The Old Garden Roses bloom once and it is better to wait to prune them until after their summer blooms. The ramblers and climbers on the fences, pergolas, in garden #2, and the other areas get next priority. They are fine to let go, but haven’t been pruned in at least five years. I’ve been spreading manure, compost, and mulch and cleaning up brush while waiting to get started on the pruning.

The highest priority is digging out the Himalayan Blackberries which have enjoyed the freedom to take over these past few years. I feel like a super hero when I have freed the roses from the prisons of their distant cousins. (Blackberries are in the same family as roses.) It took three days last summer to spring Mme Caroline Testout. Every day that I continued to work her free she reached even farther out from the darkness of her cell and towards the sun.

Many of you have asked what is going to happen to Anne’s roses. We are committed to restoring the gardens here. There is much to do, but we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from neighbors and friends willing to spend a few hours here and there helping in the gardens. The intent is to open the gardens during selected times to rose people. We are not there yet, but you can follow our progress here.

Published by teddiemower

I oversee Anne's Gardens for my mother-in-law, Anne Belovich. This is a family project to ensure Anne's rose collections, gardens and legacy continue for generations to come. I am a science and environmental educator, researcher, teacher, author, creator of homemades, and traveler. My husband Rick Mower, Anne's only son, is a retired professor of microbiology, former sailor, avid food gardener, and great cook.

2 thoughts on “Farm Notes

  1. Loved your explanation of freeing the rose from the blackberries. Many years ago we lived on 40 acres and had to battle the blackberries constantly. I have fond memories of going out to pick the berries with my children. We were accompanied by our goose! She picked right along with us, honking away with her berry stained beek!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this! What a sweet memory. Our sheep do the same and Thor has been known to self dye his wool purple. The Himalayan Blackberries that are in full sun are wonderful for snacks, pie, and jams and we certainly love them a lot more in the summer. They have taken over though and the roses must win. Erin, Jill, Angela, Becky, Nina, and perhaps some of the other people at Floret Flower Farms are coming over next week to help me get them under control. We are so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors. There has been such an outpouring of support from area people to help us ensure that Anne’s legacy or caring, sharing, and preserving beauty lives on.


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