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Garden Update: Life After the First Flush of Roses

It’s June, and the roses are fading after their first flush here. Rose season starts early in Ventura, and the

first flush is usually well underway by early April. Of course, with an early start to the first flush of roses comes an early end to that first flush. That’s just the way of things.

I don’t mind, though, because rose season also lasts a long time here, and I’ll usually get several flushes throughout the growing season. In the meantime, there’s plenty to do still, and other flowers to tend to.

This time of year, the roses usually need a mild pruning or else they’ll start to get too leggy. I snip off the dead blooms so the plants don’t spend too much energy creating hips, and then I give everything a good feeding. I love the G&B Organics 4-6-2 food (not an affiliate link, but I get people asking what I feed my roses, so here you go).

The dahlias are peeping out of the ground now. Alas, I don’t have any blooms to share just yet, but I have lots of other flowers coming up.

Some of them were even delightful surprises.

Non-Rose Developments: Cosmos and Poppies Galore

My kiddo and I planted a whole bunch of cosmos earlier this spring, and the blooms are really taking off now. We planted a variety of purple, pink, and white cosmos.

Cosmos seem very happy in the little strip in our backyard that’s next to a retaining wall.

I’ve never managed to get an Icelandic poppy to rebloom for me, and to be frank, I’m not sure I’ve ever made one last through the winter. Nevertheless, here we are, with a fresh, red bloom on a little poppy plant.

I’m beside myself with glee. I spotted it through the kitchen window this morning and actually shrieked out loud.

Along with the red Icelandic poppy, I’ve also got a nice little crop of pale yellow variants on the classic California poppy. These cuties were a bit of a surprise this year.

See, I had planted the seeds two springs ago and nothing ever grew. I figured they must have been eaten by birds or perhaps I accidentally pulled them, thinking they were weeds. I shrugged and moved on. There were dahlias to tend and roses to prune, after all.

But this spring, the little poppies started to peep up out of the soil, and I was beyond thrilled to see them. I love their soft, buttery color.

Fading Roses and Prepping for a Second Flush

Most of my roses, aside from a few plants in the backyard, are repeat bloomers. That means they’ll have several bloom cycles throughout the rose-growing season. After the first flush, I trim them back a little, give them some food, and wait.

As you can see, these last stragglers are looking a little sad. That’s because May and June are very damp months here in Ventura, with lots of fog and a heavy marine layer.

Excess moisture in the air can cause rose petals to have a bruised look. It can even prevent the rose buds from opening all the way by causing the petals to stick together. As it turns out, cold weather isn’t the only thing that affects roses’ appearance.

If you look closely at these roses, you can see the evidence of the moisture in the air. They’re not impressed. Geoff Hamilton is looking downright scraggly.

See all that browning at the edges of the petals and the weird bruises on the yellow Teasing Georgia blooms? Yup. Moisture damage. So much for English roses needing an English climate.

Thankfully, warmer days are arriving already. The annual fight against powdery mildew will soon be at an end, and my roses will be free to bloom away in warm, dry, sunny peace. I promise I’ll share more rose updates as soon as I have them.

If you’re curious about some of my favorite rose-gardening tools, here’s a round-up of the things I use most! These are affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy something through those links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I will always identify affiliate links for you. Thanks for supporting my work!

My favorite pruning snips: the Felco F-8

Many other rosarians also swear by the Felco F-2

My favorite liquid fish-based fertilizer

My favorite organic mineral fertilizer

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