This is the time of year when having something in bloom in the house is important to me. It doesn’t need to be grand — a few cut tulips, a branch of witchhazel in a vase, a small pot of yellow primroses — any one of these helps brighten days short on sunlight.
Last week, a potted miniature rose with red-and-white striped flowers ended up in my grocery cart. It’s now in a sunny spot in the house, and the buds are opening slowly, which means we should have a few weeks of colour before moving it to a less conspicuous spot to rest until it’s warm enough to place outdoors.
Miniature roses are sturdier than they look, and make wonderful container plants. Over the years, I’ve had good success overwintering them in our attached garage when they go dormant in the fall. Admittedly, some miniature roses are hardier than others, and because my recent purchase is unnamed, we’ll just have to see. The key to helping them survive our Zone 6 winter is not to let them break dormancy too early. Keep them out of bright light and the soil on the dry side (but not completely dried out), and maintain consistent temperatures, if possible. Alternate freezing and thawing often does more harm to dormant plants than cold temperatures. Finally, don’t seal any plant in a plastic bag, thinking you’re providing extra protection; that stops plant respiration, necessary even during dormancy.
For more on growing miniature roses in the garden, see Miniature Roses: Simply Irresistible.
If you’re interested in a wider variety of miniature rose cultivars than what’s found in grocery stores, here are three sources: Select Roses in Langley, B.C.; The Heather Farm and Classic Miniature Roses in Sardis, B.C.; and Palatine Roses in Niagara on the Lake, Ont. Palatine and The Heather Farm ship bareroot plants.
Fruit tree spray schedule podcast
Growing fruit trees can be immensely rewarding as well as challenging. When to prune? When to spray? What to plant? Orchard People, founded by Susan Poizner of Toronto, is filled with in-depth information “to inspire, educate and empower you to grow fruit successfully,” according to her website.
A recent podcast called “Developing a Fruit Tree Spray Schedule” provides home gardeners with the essentials of organic fruit tree sprays, some of which need to be applied in late March.
What’s that sound? Could be splitting tree bark
A sunny day followed by rapidly falling temperatures may cause the bark on a young tree to crack and split. The Laidback Gardener describes the phenomenon in more detail and explains what you can — and can’t — do to help a tree recover.
Looking for a new career?
If you have a flair with houseplants, you might want to learn how these people became “plant stylists“. The pay isn’t bad: one entrepreneur in California charges $2,000 (minimum!) to make aesthetic plant choices for a client’s residence, while a “plant doctor and stylist” in New York City earns between $125 and $175 per hour for her advice. Definitely a step up from asking your neighbour to water the ficus while you’re away.