We are all eager to get the 2023 gardening season under way. Facebook posts from friends in the south taunted me with images of their sprouts and blossoms as I saw the reflection of the large fluffy snowflakes behind me on my computer monitor. But today, it’s beautiful spring weather. The forsythias, camelias, cherry trees, magnolias, and the first rhododendrons are blooming and the roses are calling out for attention. All of them at once.
There are so many things to do and much activity in our agricultural neighborhood.
To the north, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is in full swing and the city of Mount Vernon is humming right along making sure the visitors are getting a wonderful experience. Four tulip farms are participating (Roozengaarde, Tulip Valley Farm, Tulip Town, and Garden Rosalyn) each with fields upon fields of colorful abundance. If you go, don’t forget to stop the SRP Art at the Farmer’s Market just east of I-5 at exit 221. They are open Wednesday – Sunday from 10-3 and feature local art ang gifts. The downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair will be held on April 21 – 23 in downtown Mount Vernon on first street. Don’t forget to stop in at the Skagit Valley Co-op to pick up one of their amazing lattes. Oh my goodness…it goes down so smooth but I feel like I could move a mountain (or dig more holes for roses) after just having a small. To learn more: https://tulipfestival.org/
In the neighborhood, I see that Renee and Leigh of Our Legacy Fields are counting down to their season opening…78 days, 19 hours, and at the time I write this 46 minutes and 37 seconds. The lavender field is turning purple with buds and soon the fragrance will waft through the rows providing the escape we all need from the hustle of “the real world.” I think Renee and Leigh’s story and vision is inspirational. I love their beautiful copper distiller they use to make lavender oil. Follow them on Facebook and learn more at their website: https://ourlegacyfields.com/
Another flower farm I pass on my way into Stanwood is The Farmhouse Flower Farm. I finally had an opportunity to meet Marryn, the farmer, face-to-face this past week. I love her 1901 red and white farm house. It reminds me of my grandmother’s farm in Marion, Michigan, which my great grandfather built in 1888. I become nostalgic driving past, especially when her children are out helping with in the flower garden. It takes me back to when I, my sisters, and my cousins would run through the lilacs and pick rubarb for grandma’s pies. Marryn was cleaning up her farmstand in front of her house after a very full day of selling spring bouquets. There had been a steady stream of cars there all day and yet she was still enthusiastic about flowers and an upcoming get together with neighborhood women farmers. Check out her webpage at: https://www.thefarmhouseflowerfarm.com/
The reason I knew that Marryn was busy all day is because I was going back and forth to our friend, Leonard Heller’s Rosarium scoticum, his magnificent garden of Scots Roses. The garden was full of hard working young people helping with all sorts of garden tasks. I love that Len gives them experience working in the garden and with other yard work. They take it very seriously.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am transplanting many of his favorite rare roses at Anne’s Gardens. Earlier I had pruned back the Sericeas to prepare them for the move, and taken the smallest one, Heather Muir, a delicate four petal flowered beauty with monster roots. It took us, my son Steven and I, a full day of working each root out of the soil and gently rocking the plant out of the hole. I had hoped it was an anomaly. Leonard asked me to come over while the kids were there so that they could help with the process. We ambitiously set our sites on getting four out but by noon we realized that three might be more realistic. As we were working I looked up and who should come around the corner but our good friend, Jeff Panciera. I was so happy to see him. Now we could be faster at getting the roses out.
We carefully pulled the soil from around the massive root structures following them deeper into the rocky layer below and to the sides, around the roses to either side. It is important to keep as many of the roots as possible. Sericeas are hardy plants but still need their roots. We had to cut the ones going under the landscaping cloth and gravel on the walkways. Rain clouds started coming in and we realized that we could only get a maximum of two of these roses into the back of the truck so we focused on two that we thought were closest to being done and continued to work. More time went by, but at last Steven was able to lift the first one with a crowbar and the other one came out shortly after. Steven picked up one and Jeff the other and together they got them both into the back of the truck. We quickly covered the roots on Rosa omiensis, the third remaining rose, and headed home to get them into the ground.
Steven and I went back yesterday to pick up R. omiensis. Because we were sure we almost had it out this weekend, we did other chores in the morning and went over in mid afternoon. After a couple of hours of digging we realized that we hadn’t been close, but started to find it funny. Around hour three, it started to rain, which made it even more funny. Steven and I were covered with mud and digging under the rose trying to get as much of a root going straight into the rock layer as possible, finding humor in the experience and laughing the entire time. At about hour four, we were able to lift it up with two shovels and move it – a couple of inches to the side of where it had sat. It was free but now the problem was how to get it too the truck, only a few yards from where we were. It was much heavier than the others and it looked like Medusa. This is when Steven started voicing the feelings of the rose plant first as Medusa and then as a child not wanting to leave Leonard and the place where it grew up and it began to rain again.
It took all we had to lift it foot by foot to get it to the truck. We had to cut it back even more to get it in. Once at home we were able to get the John Deere and cart, cut a much larger hole than we had dug earlier to accommodate the roots, and tumbled it in. This makes four Sericeas successfully transplanted and three more to go. After that, I will start on the Finnish roses.
The sun came out and there was a rainbow. We fell to the ground and laid back on the wet grass – muddy and exhausted – and grateful for the magic of this place and the adventure of it all.
2 thoughts on “It’s Spring!”
Hello Teddie, Thank you for sending all the wonderful information. It is so good that you were able to help save some of Len’s fabulous roses. Years ago when he and Marilyn had annual rose garden parties that I was able to dig up some runners from some of the Spinnosissimas – Burnett Irish Marbled, Prairie Peace, Prairie Wren, Alland, Ross Rambler and several others. They are incredible roses and thanks to Len’s connections he was able to get them into the USA before the gate closed on those opportunities. You and the Big Dig Crew faced some huge challenges digging up those thorny treasures. Even as the weather makes tough doings tougher it allows for more successful relocations with cool, soaking rains. Looking forward to seeing you again. Marie Willard Rainy Rose Society Heritage Roses NW
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Hi Teddie and Stephen, You are true martyrs for the cause of roses! That rose should be referred to as
“Oh My!-ensis!” Anne is looking down, very proud of you! I’ll be back next week after helping Rose this weekend with the plant sales. Cheers, Jeff
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