ingrid_vc

Just The Usual Fare

You all have so many beautiful new roses to show while my garden seems to be in stasis. Roses like Coquette des Blanches, Plum Perfect, Jesse Hildreth and Evelyn are taking forever to grow past their cages and I'm snipping off the buds until they do, just because some garden pundits do believe it aids the growth of the plant, but who can say? Potter and Moore and Baronne Henriette de Snoy are taking forever to rebloom and I'm wondering whether my soil is just worn out. I'm thinking of ordering another large beg of Black Kow, which is not exactly cheap. Can anyone tell me whether it's even effective if it's just piled on the mulch and watered in repeatedly?


Milkweed truly is a weed; it keeps growing taller and blooming endlessly.

Continued below.....

Comments (47)

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9


    I tried taking this picture with the sun out, and it looked pretty in real life, but not so much in the photo.


    Aloha took some years to fill out and begin reblooming reliably, but I'm increasingly fond of this rose.

    I have two bushes of Bishop's Castle and love their fragrant, pretty blooms
    Potter and Moore (in the front) is taking forever to bloom

  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    I'm sure the Black Kow will help in the long run, Ingrid. Here, Jesse is a fast grower, but Evelyn is pretty blah. I tried to give a 2 gal of Alaskan fish fertilizer diluted to my two Evelyns, but I don't see it doing anything so far. I have had Tea roses seem to just sit there for so long, then explode into fast growth when they do decide to do something.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
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  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    Oh my, what lovely photos Ingrid. I cross posted.I wonder if I should give my rodent eaten Souv de Pierre Notting some fish fertilizer after his assault?

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  • Krista_5NY

    The blooms of Aloha are beautifully presented on long stems, and a large plant looking at the photo of your house. A beautiful summer color palette, Ingrid.

    I like the blue flower behind the milkweed, lovely combination...

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Krista_5NY
  • oursteelers 8B PNW

    Ingrid, I think it’s because you see it everyday. Your garden isn’t in stasis, it’s glorious! Really!!!!

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  • debbym, Tempe, AZ Zone 9

    I have pretty good soil but I am constantly mulching my roses. I throw down pretty much all my dried leaves and other plant litter under my roses. I have a lot of oleanders and have heard you should not mulch with their leaves but I do and have never had any problems.

    So, I would think anything you can put down that will build your soil will be helpful. It eventually breaks down and nourishes it.

    If you have rocky soil it needs lots and lots of organic material, as I'm sure you know.

    I enjoy putting all this stuff down on the soil. I always feel like i"m giving it a good, long meal.

    Good luck; your garden is beautiful, as always.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked debbym, Tempe, AZ Zone 9
  • vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)

    Ingrid, your 'Aloha' is gorgeous, as ever. I already wrote that I got mine inspired by yours and I was glad to see that 'Aloha' was on your top ten list. I cannot thank you enough for motivating me to get mine even though I am in an entirely different zone. This is it's first year and it's a constant bloomer, never ceasing to amaze me with every single bloom having a distinct personality. And even a single bloom goes through the stages from bud to full bloom in a unique way yet all together form the coherent and gorgeous rose shrub. I just hope it will make it through our winters. It's in a protected area and gets sun only in the morning. I am not good at taking photos but hope this gives a glimpse of its beauty, which is of course much better seen in person than on the photos.

    Excuse the ropes here, I'm still trying to figure out how tall it will grow in my zone and keep adding support trellises tied to my nearby deutzia.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Sheila, I imagine your tea rose would be thrilled to have some extra nourishment. My Cole's Settlement was also partially eaten, with the roots exposed to the air for quite some time, but it seems to be thriving.

    Thank you, our steelers, you're always so kind. I hope your roses are flourishing.

    Debby, before I put down the present mulch I used leaves and twigs from trees and pruned roses but the rabbits always ate it before too long. This mulch is much sturdier, since it's from a dead tree that was ground up, but I'm a little worried that the Black Kow won't penetrate through it efficiently. Nevertheless, I'm going to get another large bag in the hope that it will help the garden through the hot summer that's now beginning.

    vesfl, I'm thrilled that your Aloha is doing so well from the get-go, and I suspect that may have to do with all the rain you receive, whereas we've been in a drought situation until this past winter. It's interesting that your Aloha is also pink now. Mine was much more apricot in tone when it was cooler. I like the fact that it's changeable, and it's beautiful either way. I am noticing that the blooms that are forming now are smaller, no doubt due to the heat.

    Krista, the blue plant behind the milkweed is the salvia 'Henry Duelberg' which seems very happy here. It was eaten to the ground but has bounced back and it hasn't been touched since. Fingers crossed!

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    Ingrid, I agree with oursteelers that it's only because you see it everyday that could ever be considered "Just the usual fare"! It's one of the most beautiful gardens I've seen whatever is or isn't blooming. Plus, you do have some rarer roses we don't often see. It's wonderful to see them mature and come into their own expressing their individual personalities and amazing they grow at all in your difficult situation.

    I love Aloha. It was one of the first that I bought 2017 after getting the main roses for my upper bed. I had read it was used extensively in David Austin's early breeding program and figured I couldn't go wrong with a child of New Dawn bred by Gene Boerner! I imagined it leading up to my arbor, but as that hasn't happened I recently planted it in the front yard after languishing in a pot for two years. I can see it's saying "THANK YOU"! from the fabulous new growth and incipient buds. vesfl, how big is yours becoming? I'm toying with the idea of providing some sort of support, but I do love how natural it looks sprawling in Ingrid's garden.

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  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    vapor, your words mean so much to me, thank you. I did not know about Aloha being used by Austin, that is an interesting fact. I'm thrilled that yours is doing so beautifully now. The canes of Aloha are so sturdy that it can definitely be used as a free-standing shrub with judicious pruning. Mine is planted near the house wall but doesn't actually touch it, and I really prefer it this way since it's less work and very easy to manage. It has enough room to spread and is now weaving its canes into Duchesse de Brabant, which is a good thing since the flowers of that rose have been poor this year, due to rose midge or thrips. There really is no way to "control" a garden, or at least not this one, where there is a constant ebb and flow, with no pest control or other intervention to make the roses give their best. That makes me appreciate tough and sturdy roses like Aloha all the more.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    Oh Ingrid, that must be dreamy when they bloom together. As coincidence would have it, I also have a potted DdB, but worry it wouldn't make through our winters so have resigned myself to growing it as a pot pet. Maybe I could keep it in a pretty, but large pot placed near Aloha and LaReine and move her into the garage during the winter. Such good ideas you all inspire! : ))

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  • Lisa Adams

    I also agree with what so many have said, Ingrid. Your “usual fare” is a real pleasure seeing, each and every time you post pictures. I’m amazed at how much fuller and filled in the front area has become. I guess technically it’s the “back area”, since the driveway approaches the back of the house, right? I’m ever quite sure what to call that bed with SDLM and Potter and Moore, and I can’t remember how you refer to it. Anyway, you know which area I’m talking about.

    Your Aloha is looking wonderful, as is yours Vesfl. I’m glad yours is doing so well too, Vap. I love the way the buds start out looking so small, and when they open they keep stacking up the petals like a many layered cake. It’s a unique look, that I haven’t seen in many other roses.

    It’s so interesting that both you and Vesfl notice that Aloha is more pink with the higher temps. I have her sport Lady Ashe. Lady Ashe is looking more apricot with the increasing heat. She was a much paler pink in our cooler temperatures.

    Yikes! That sun is bright and hot already! It makes it hard to see that Lady Ashe is more apricot color today than she was a month ago. I try to take evening photos, but that’s also my best gardening time. Often it’s too dark by the time I think of taking pictures.

    I’m sure your roses will love the Black Kow mulch, Ingrid. I gather that raking back the present mulch first would be difficult with the critter cages. I don’t know how your drip system is set up, but I can see what you’re saying about the Black Kow not penetrating the sturdy mulch you have in place now. If possible, I ‘d try to give the area a little stir with something that will fit into the critter cages from the top. Then maybe give it a good hand watering with the hose to “sink” some of the Black Kow into the soil. If we were going to get any rain, it wouldn’t be an issue, but we’re many months away from receiving any more of that. I just wouldn’t want any of that precious Black Kow to blow away in the wind.

    I’m a firm believer in manure and compost, so I’m sure your roses will love it. Your poor SdPN would probably love some fish fertilizer, Sheila. That, and a thick layer of organic mulch to protect what’s left of his roots. I’m sure you already know that, though:). If SdPN is the same as Flamingo Gardens Tea, it’s a VERY tough rose. If any rose is going to survive a root munching, I’d place my $ on that one.

    Love seeing everything, Ingrid. I haven’t been posting many comments anywhere, but I do read and enjoy all the posts. They are a most welcome distraction. ♥️Lisa

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Lisa Adams
  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    Thank you for encouragement regarding my Souv de Pierre Notting (your FGT), Lisa. I so love him and was so sorry the vole was such a mad one. He is probably down to one fourth of himself on top, but I think his roots are intact. I do believe I will give him fish fertilizer, mulch and surround him with mouse traps. I'm really glad he is a tough one. Your Lady Ashe is gorgeous.

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  • suncoastflowers

    Your garden is beautiful and doesn't look like it's sleeping to me! Your Aloha is very photogenic. I hope mine feels out like yours has.

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  • vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)

    Vap, sorry I didn't see you asked earlier about the height of my 'Aloha'. Right now it's about 3 feet tall in its first year and, depending on how hardy it shows to be in winter, I expect it to grow higher. The canes do not grow upright but rather sprawl if not supported, which shows its climbing habit, I think.

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  • erasmus_gw

    Everything looks healthy. Many times I've ready that earthworms will take down a top dressing of manure. When I've put it out I just top dress and hope it'll end up part of the soil. I have bought Black Kow and was disappointed with all the sand they mixed into it. I think manure from a horse stable is better. They usually give it away but you have to bag it up yourself or bring tubs.

    Some people say Milorganite works wonders and I've tried it but it grosses me out. It's made from human sewage. So it interferes with my willingness to get my hands in the dirt. Horse or cow manure doesn't do that to me once it has aged.

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  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    erasmus, we sometimes have horses and riders along our road, and I used to send my husband out with a bucket if I spotted any droppings near our house. He was always a good sport about it. The bag of Black Kow I got looked really good when it was spread out in the wheelbarrow, not a trace of sand, but I can understand your disappointment when you saw the sand. That stuff is not cheap!

    Lisa, I do call that area the "front garden" where Aloha is located even though technically it's the back. However, no one ever goes around to the "front" since you have to walk around the house to do so. Pretty weird set-up, I think, and not of our doing. I must admit that I think I prefer Aloha over Lady Ashe, although I very much prefer the name of your rose. I've never seen Lady Ashe in person, but hope very much when it gets cooler again and we can both manage to feel okay on the same day that I might visit yours. I'd probably want to spend several days in your garden as there's so much to see. Then perhaps you and Lilyfinch could visit me in return, by which time hopefully the garden will have recovered from the summer doldrums. The roses are not happy with the increasing heat we've been having lately, especially as the new drip system I had put in is not functioning since the cheap materials that were used which caused the hoses to burst apart from the water pressure.

    Vapor, Aloha, DdB and La Reine would look dreamy together. Different shades of pink and pink/apricot look so well together when they're combined.

  • Lisa Adams

    What a bummer about your drip system, Ingrid! I hope you can get it fixed without too much trouble and money. I suspect I might have some problems with my drip system, too. I’m beginning to think something might have plugged up parts of my drip system over the winter. It seems like some places aren’t putting out the water they were previously. I’ll have to investigate when the day cools down.

    I’ve read elsewhere on the forum that some people are able to buy Black Kow right off the shelf, locally. I wish it was available around here, because I imagine a large part of the cost is shipping. It’s awfully handy when big bulky stuff arrives at the front door though, isn’t it? I don’t get out much, especially in the heat, so I don’t know what I’d do without home delivery/shipping.

    I’m glad you like the rose you chose better, Ingrid. That’s the way it should be. I was thinking I had too many pink roses(since they’re my favorite), and starting looking into other colors. I didn’t stray very far from pink, in that I ended up with quite a few peachy/apricot/pink roses. I think I probably ended up with at least as many in that color range, as true pink roses. I like that roses like Lady Ashe, Mel’s Heritage, Evelyn, Abe Darby, Felicia and Princess Charlene de Monaco all fluctuate between pink and peachy apricot, depending on the temps and season. I feel like I’m getting 2 roses in one, and look forward to seeing what each flush will bring.

    I managed to catch Josh with his “real camera” in hand yesterday just before dark. I asked him to take a few pictures in the garden with his real camera vs my iPhone pictures. Perhaps his pictures of Lady Ashe will do her justice, as mine did not:).



    I know he took more, so hopefully I’ll get them and find a place to post them.

    Everything looks great Ingrid. Stay inside and enjoy the A/C as much as possible. Lisa

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Lisa Adams
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    I love this thread. All the drip problems make me even more appreciative of our rain. We've been almost three weeks without and I'm thinking I would definitely install drip if we were always so dry. However, since we have such heavy soil I am only watering the newly planted roses, some hydrangeas and a few other flowers. The others seem pretty happy. : ))


    Lisa, LA is so pretty. I do need her some day and am looking forward to more pics from today. Ingrid, Aloha is opening her first bud since being put in the ground. She's so healthy looking I'm remembering why I got her in the first place. Viking Queen is another rose that opens similarly, layer upon layer like icing on a cupcake!


    I now understand all this discussion of Black Kow! We buy it at the big box stores in two sized bags and I just assumed that's how you guys bought it. I generally got the larger as it's cheaper, but last year they had the small bags discounted to $2!!! I bought all they had and used the last this spring. It was so much easier to haul around. Now I'm getting turkey manure from a local farm to compost with my leaves and well-rotted alpaca manure for direct planting. 1/2 truckload of the latter and I'm quickly making my way through it. I put in in covered 5 gal. buckets for easier carrying. I think the roses love it! ::)) I wish it were easier for you guys to get it and put it down. If I lived nearby I come do it myself.!

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  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Vapor, I just ordered another beg of Black Kow in the 50-pound size and it cost $35.00!!!! Oh well, it's only money, but that's what happens when you don't get out much. The local stuff you're getting fresh sounds wonderful!

    Lisa, I was so wrong about Lady Ashe! The new pictures your son took are sublimely beautiful, and I would be thrilled to have the lady in my garden in addition to Aloha. I've just looked for places to buy it and everyone is sold out. I can certainly see why. I also wanted more apricot roses and have Abe Darby, Evelyn and Sweet Frances, with Reve d'Or and Star of the Republic coming this fall. My first love is pink roses, but I'll take anything other than bright red and bright yellow/orange.

    One thing I will say about watering, there is nothing that beats rain. The rains this winter transformed my garden, but unfortunately we most probably won't have any more for another six months unless we're extremely fortunate.

    I saw the first Southern Pacific Rattlesnake this year last night after the sun had gone down. I had planned to water but he was stretched out on the pavement near the hose and I decided to just leave the nice little snake alone and water today instead. The venom of this snake has apparently increased in toxicity since it has mated with another very venomous species of rattlesnake that occurs in a part of its range, and it is now considered to be potentially lethal. In spite of that I could not bring myself to harm it. Man is the deadliest animal of all, now more so than ever, and at this point in my life I'm no longer certain that my life is more valuable than that of any other creature. That's not to say I won't be darn careful when I go outside tonight.

  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal

    Ingrid, I always love pictures of your garden! Aloha reminds me of Compassion, which I have as a mistake rose from RVR. I notice they both have New Dawn in their heritage. Compassion is just starting to open new buds so I will be able to see how heat effects them. I have had to stay inside since 9am when it started getting too hot for me even in the shade. Wish my body could take the heat, but it cannot. Now that the sun is setting, time for a short walk.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    That's just crazy, Ingrid. I just checked and Walmart has it on sale again for $2 #25bag. Free shipping over $35. They rip you guys off in CA!!! That's cool, but very scary about the snake. You did the right thing. Just be careful out there and make alot of noise!

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  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    Most Home depots sell Black Cow in the Garden Centers for 50lb for 5.95. Even in Calif it should be under $10. Get a garden Center person to load them in your trunk.

    The $2 Walmart sale sounds great too.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    I've just checked, and Black Kow manure is not available in any stores within 50 miles of my home. I do wonder whether the Black Kow for 5.95 isn't topsoil rather than manure. They come in slightly different bags and the topsoil is very cheap compared to the manure.

    Stephanie, I wonder if so many of us can't tolerate the heat may be partly because the sun's radiation is so much stronger now. I was just outside at 1 p.m. and my skin felt burned even standing in the shade. Plenty of hardscape and boulders here don't help, of course.

    For the first time we're toying with the idea of moving to a northern CA coastal location.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    But I bought was pure manure but I know exactly what you're talking about. They do sell something that's compost and manure that's very cheap or topsoil and manure. I have seen that in huge bags cheap. I just think they know they have a captive audience over there in California. I wonder if you can order it from Walmart online it said free shipping $35 but I have no idea where that stew or anything at all. I'm just throwing it out there. I know you guys have it under control and I'll probably check this all out before. It's just really shocking! I can understand about that heat. It's the reflective Sun that so hard.

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  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    vapor, I cannot buy it on-line from Walmart, the name doesn't even come up. It's okay, though, it's no more than a dinner for two in a nice restaurant,, and I consider it money well spent. If something costs $5, how does that even cover the cost of production of the bags and the labor; how can it possibly be that cheap without hurting someone?

  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal

    Is Black Kow an East Coast product? I have never seen it in any stores around here. Maybe it’s expensive since shipping from far away? There must be something local that is equivalent; I am now on a mission to track it down and report back. But this is what I know now. I see several products from California companies in local stores that look pretty good, but I haven’t tried them yet. Fox Farm, which I vaguely remember is $18.95 a bag (cu ft?) at my local DIY Center store, yes pricy! Then there is Kellogg Garden / G&B Organics. Here is the G&B Organics compost that looks good and they say to look for it at your local nursery. I will check the local Armstrong.
    https://www.kellogggarden.com/products/gborganics/gb-organics-purely-compost/.
    Then my nearest Lowe’s has Kellogg Compost in stock for $8.50/3cuft. I will get a test bag, since sometimes they are just 50-90% fine wood chips, which is not the same as a good compost!
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kellogg-3-cu-ft-Organic-Compost/3011773

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    The last few days have felt very hot, in the higher nineties, and the garden suddenly looks rather shabby. Cole's Settlement practically overnight had all its leaves curl up and I'm worried about it. The compromised root system is hurting the plant and I'm afraid I may lose it. The blooms of many roses are shriveling badly within a day or two, even in the roses that have only morning sun. I don't know if it's only my perception, but the heat and sun feel stronger than they have even a year ago.

    Last night I was going through old garden pictures and happened upon this lovely photo from early June, 2018, when we had a heat wave here, with temperatures up to 113. It brought home to me how dramatically the winter rains (plus perhaps the new mulch covering) changed the garden landscape from one year to the next.


  • titian1 10b Sydney

    What a contrast, Ingrid!

    I feel a little torn at the prospect of you moving. Your garden is a part of my psyche, and yet I know wherever you go, you will create something beautiful.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked titian1 10b Sydney
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    What a contrast!!! Sorry about your heat. We've been in the 90s also, but with 75%+ dewpoint, so humid. Oh well. We're getting pop-up rain today so that's good! Ingrid, I ponder the same thing, but of course, pricing doesn't truly include all the costs of production, just those it's easy to price-out. However, I will say the both the alpaca and turkey farmers were thrilled to off load their manure. The guy at the turkey farm shoveled it into my rolling trash cans directly and charged $3 for it. It's normally $5 for a large bucket scoop. I think there's just an endless supply so anybody would be welcome to scoop it up and bag it. There was a humongous room where they shovel it, but I think I have enough at the moment for the roses. When I do my hill I may just add some on top of the fallen leaves to age over the winter. Then I would need a lot.

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  • Krista_5NY

    The contrast is striking. Winter rains are so beneficial, I hope you'll have plenty of rain in the winters ahead. Droughts are a concern.

    Sorry to hear that Cole's Settlement is having trouble, Ingrid.

    That's a sweet photo of the rabbits and the water bowl. Do you see jackrabbit hares in your neighborhood?


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  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Trish, what you said caught at my heart. Truly. So much of me would be left behind, and who would feed and water the wild animals?

    Vapor, "scoop it up and bag it" sounds so easy for an able-bodied person, but for us the whole process is just not doable any more. Our poor roses have to live" mean and mean" until the day when having roses at all becomes impossible because of climate change. I'm glad that you were able to avail yourself of such a windfall, and your roses will flourish and be all the more beautiful and healthy because of it.

    Krista, we have no jack rabbits here, which I'm happy about because I imagine they'd be voracious feeders given their size. They do have them in the Anza-Borrego southeast of us.

  • Lisa Adams

    Those pictures are worth a thousand words, Ingrid! There’s nothing like real rain. Water from the hose will quench a rose’s thirst, but that’s about all. Our tap water doesn’t contain all the magical things that rain does. (It ought to contain all sorts of magical things, for what we’re charged for it:-)

    I was just thinking this afternoon how fierce the sun felt. I couldn’t stand to be out in it, and it’s cooler at my place than yours. According to my phone, your high was 96F today. Mine was just 86F. What a difference those 10-12 miles inland, make. In the other direction, Carlsbad had a high of 72F today. I was there at 10am today, and it was only 68F. It felt wonderful to me. Those few miles closer or away from the coast make a huge difference in temperatures.

    I was about to recommend a less expensive manure compost that I bought last year on Amazon. I don’t produce nearly as much compost as I need, so last year I ordered some great stuff called “Michigan Peat 5240 Garden Magic Compost and Manure”. I was very impressed with the quality and it was only $11.22 for a 40lb. bag, shipping included. I’m glad I checked Amazon before posting here, because the price is now $39.39 for that same 40 lb. bag! If I would have known the price would nearly quadruple, I would have ordered more than 3 bags. Your $50lb bag of Black Kow is a better deal. Lisa


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  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    Ingrid. Ingrid I was in no way suggesting that for you or any of us. I meant company's coming in on a large scale and getting this manure for nothing so it makes it very cheap and they sell it cheap. There is just so much of it when you go to these places they are happy to have anyone take anything. I'm sure I could start a business doing it if I wanted. Actually that's why I was talking about the black cow in the small bags because they only weigh 10 lb instead of 25 and 50 lb but obviously you don't have those so it's a moot point. I'm just glad you get something that you can use. It's so hard to write what one means.

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  • vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)

    Lisa, I regularly use "Garden Magic Compost and Manure" because it's widely available in good nurseries in my area and it is indeed excellent. But the price for a 40 lb bag is about $5.99 and sometimes $4.99 locally. Even $11.22 is way too much not to mention $39.99. What are they thinking? You might want to talk to your local nurseries and ask them if they would be interested to order it. I often buy on Amazon with my Prime membership, but this is ridiculous how much they charge for this compost & manure.

    ETA: I've recently started using 'Coast of Maine Lobster Compost' (luckily, of all places, Wegmans grocery store carries it in spring) and now alternate it with 'Garden Magic.' Both are excellent. (There is a huge difference in prices for this lobster compost as well - Wegmans sells it locally for $7.99 while it's whopping $27.79 on Amazon.)

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)
  • Lisa Adams

    That’s an excellent price, Vesfl! I really didn’t mind paying $11.22, considering it included the shipping across the country. I was shocked that it gone up to $39.99. There’s no way I’m going to order more at that price.

    I’ve never seen ‘Coast of Maine’ products offered locally, but I distinctly remember the name from reading an article about seed starting mixes. The writer had tested many different seed starting mixes, using all the same batch of seeds. The ‘Coast of Maine’ lobster seed starting mix was the clear winner in every way. I realize their seed starting mix and compost not the same products, but I would imagine the company makes top quality mixes of all sorts. I’d love to get any of these products (Black Kow, Coast of Maine, Garden Magic) locally, but I have yet to see them. I don’t get out to the local nurseries nearly as often as I used to, so maybe someone carries at least one of them.

    My local agricultural shop (Grangetto’s) carries ‘Gardner & Bloom Organic Purely Compost’. It’s very good, but I don’t recall the price. I usually have one of my sons pick it up. Gardner & Bloom also makes a nice organic acid planting mix, that’s great for the plants that struggle in my alkaline soil.

    I can’t get over the price differences. When we still had the cows on the dairy in San Marcos, we always had a huge pile of manure out front. People could take all they wanted for free. I think we charged them $5 or $10 if they wanted someone to dump a big scoop with the loader into a truck. The cows are all up in the Bakersfield/Hanford/Visalia area now. All the milk is brought down here daily by the tanker full, and only the processing plant remains in here in San Marcos. I never thought I’d see the day that I paid for cow manure. Good compost made with well aged manure is of course different from straight up dry manure, but I’d use it if it was still so easily attainable. Sometimes I miss the “good old days”. Lisa

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Lisa Adams
  • vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)

    Lisa, I've heard great things about 'Gardner & Bloome Organics' products. I always wanted to try their compost but it's not distributed in my area.

    Thanks for sharing that information about the 'Coast of Maine' seed starting mix, I'll keep it in mind in the future. I'm using their potting soil and it's also excellent.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)
  • Lisa Adams

    As far as I can tell, the Gardner & Bloom compost is at least as good as the ‘Garden Magic Mix’ that I got last year. I can understand why we have different products on opposite ends of the country. Big bags of soil mixes aren’t exactly easily and inexpensively shipped cross country. It does make sense economically, and environmentally to find a good, local product if possible.

    Roses and plants sure do love good manure and compost. I can always tell when I’ve recently mulched a plant with manure or compost. It often sends up new growth, or another round of blooms. I’ve often read that you shouldn’t use compost in potted plants, but I do. I see lots of earthworms in my container plants. I figure something good is going on in there, so how could I go wrong by adding some compost? I do usually add some slow release fertilizer too, but they seem to like compost and manure just as much as my inground plants do. I only wish I could produce as much as I need, myself. Lisa

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Lisa Adams
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Lisa, thank you for mentioning the Gardner & Bloome compost at Grangetto's. We have a Grangetto's here and if they don't have it they can always order it from their other store. I would bet it's cheaper than Black Kow, for sure. I wish I could see earthworms, even in the ground. I might have seen one or two when it was rainy but nothing now. Don't know how the poor roses here manage to struggle along, but I'm grateful.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Here I go again, just in case you have the slightest desire to see more of the same.

    Bishop's Castle (on the right) and Aloha
    Bishop's Castle, which has all the charm and fragrance of the earlier Austins.
    Le Vesuve in the back and Mlle. Franziska Kruger in front.
    A closer view


    A frontal shot of the bush Le Vesuve from the path
    The blooms are much paler than usual

    This was taken quite late in the evening

    In all the years I've grown Mme. Lambard I have never seen this pale a color of the blooms.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    There is something very impressionistic about your setting and pictures. A sort of hazy dreaminess that is really accentuated by the Roses you grow. They are also delicate looking.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
  • Krista_5NY

    Mme Lambard looks like porcelain, Ingrid. Your Tea Roses are scrumptious.

    I looked up Mme Lambard on Helpmefind. I like the roses with changeable colors.

    I, too, love Bishop's Castle, wonderful fragrance to it.

    Beautiful photos, the late evening scene is very tranquil...

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Krista_5NY
  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    Beautiful, Ingrid. Those pale colors are such a surprise.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
  • Lisa Adams

    Beautiful pictures again, Ingrid! It looks like Le Vesuve is really recovering from the dieback it had, previously. I think I remember you worrying that it might continue to decline, although IIRC, you have two of them, yes? Did the wonderful rain revive both of them? I’m sorry if I’m totally misremembering that you had two La Vesuve’s. It’s sure looking happy. Mme Lambard looks to be nearly the color of ‘Mystic Beauty’ right now, a really pale, almost fleshy pink. Lovely to have a little surprise now and then, I always think.

    There must be something of value in your soil, because your roses really do look wonderful. It may not be super rich, but the roses must be getting what they need to be blooming so well. One nice thing about our dry climate and having “non sandy” soil is that compost and manure don’t wash away and disappear quickly. It hangs around long enough for the roses to use the nutrients for a good while. I’m glad you found the info on the “Gardner & Bloom Compost” helpful. At my location, they don’t even show everything they have available. It’s mostly stored in the warehouse out back. They have a list and prices of everything they carry inside. Once it’s paid for, you drive up to the warehouse and they load up your order for you. It’s pretty handy, and I know the bags cost FAR less than the “Black Kow” stuff, just because there being no giant shipping cost figured into the price. I wonder if they have a product list online? I think I’ll check to see what I can find out about what they carry online. I recall their prices for gypsum, perlite, and vermiculite beating Home Depot’s and Lowe’s by a long shot. Lisa

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Lisa Adams
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Lisa, thank you, I did look on-line and even my local Grangetto's has the Gardner & Bloome compost and I believe the man said it costs $11.99, so that is a much, much better price. I've already ordered and paid for the Black Kow, but I'm sure none of it will go to waste. My decomposed granite unfortunately does not hold in nutrients like your lovely clay soil, although it is better than sandy soil, but hopefully the compost will alter the composition for the better. The problem is how to apply the compost with all the wood mulch that's on top of it. This last time I just had my helper pour the compost around and on top of the roses and then I watered it in several days in a row with a strong stream of water from the hose. I'm sure that's far from the best method, which would involve removing the mulch and then mixing the compost with the native soil. I should have a garden helper this Saturday but I doubt he would be able to do all the roses in one day using that method. However, whatever I do is better than nothing, and I will call it good.

    vapor, I wonder whether it's just that my camera is not the best that creates that hazy quality, although it is true that many of the Impressionists painted in a similar Mediterranean light. Perhaps a bit of both, but it may be time to think about a different camera.

    ETA: Lisa, your memory is outstanding. I do have two Le Vesuve, and the one above is the healthier of the two by far. The other one is on life support as it's planted behind to large heat-retaining rocks. The rains revived it somewhat but with months of punishing heat ahead I'm not very optimistic. If it dies taking that thorny devil out will be quite a feat.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    I think it's the time of day with the romantic light. Good going on the compost. If you lay on top the worms should come up to get it and mix it in for you so long as you water it in. Even a couple of worms will multiply quickly if fed.

    ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9 thanked Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    vapor, I'm so glad you mentioned the worms. I will definitely be watering after spreading the compost in addition to the drip watering because I want to be sure to get it down past the mulch. I hadn't thought about the worms pulling the compost down lower, but that will be really helpful, and hopefully it will increase the worm population. It sounds like a win/win in any case.

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