Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
Fall is often seen as the close of the rose gardening year, but this simply isn’t true. Neighbors as well as garden club members are heading outdoors to prepare their gardens for winter, all with the experiences of the past year fresh in their minds. Now is the perfect time to stop by and say hello to that neighbor with the beautiful roses and ask for tips.
Every rose gardener has a story of success and one of failure for the past year. Maybe you had a rose that was simply stunning as well as a carefree grower, perhaps you discovered a favorite fertilizer or soil treatment, or you actually achieved the impossible and managed to rid your yard of Japanese beetles. No matter the accomplishment, this is information to share. So, stop by the neighbor’s yard you admire most and offer up your tidbit of information.
The easiest way to meet your rose gardening neighbor is to stop by when they’re in the yard and say, “This rose worked really well for me. Here’s some information on it. Now tell me about your roses………” Most lovers of rose gardening will take this as a cue to talk your ear off for the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon hours. It’s best to err on the safe side and test out this approach on a day you aren’t too busy.
Some neighborhoods are very social, and I’m lucky enough to know most of my neighbors and they know me. A wonderful idea is having each neighbor share their best and worst gardening tip of the year. Maybe you or your neighbor found a great source for free mulch, a garden plant that performs well in your area or you just have some elephant ear bulbs to share. A volunteer could combine everyone’s tips and then distribute or e-mail the list to everyone who participated. This also works well amongst garden club members. You’ll be surprised how much you learn from one another.
Fall is also an excellent time to join a gardening club. There is no better way to become acquainted with fellow gardeners in your community than your local garden club. Clubs often get together to purchase bulbs, beautiful their community, offer learning opportunities and sponsor community plant sales. For every gardener out there rose or otherwise there is a club for you. I’ve even heard of clubs that get together just to discuss gardening while enjoying wine and cheese!
If you’re the enviable neighbor whose stunning rose garden is being ogled by the new homeowner next door, why not offer to let them stop by one Saturday and give them some tips. We all got started somewhere. Most gardeners got to be where they are today through self education as well as a hefty dose of good natured advice from more experienced gardeners.
No matter your expertise in the rose garden or your experience level, fall is the time to educate yourself and others. Meet your gardening neighbors, get their opinions on the best mail order catalogs and discover some of the plants they’ve enjoyed. Your rose gardening experience will be richer and you’ll have more to ponder over the chilly winter.