Watering in this COLD and Drought

Warrenton, VA

Well All, Sissystars started a topic last summer called "Watering in this heat and drought," and as Hubby was outside last week, watering away, and in January, I thought that I'd put a thought into your head about doing this, especially for your newly-planted shrubs and trees.

Also, I sprayed a Neem Oil mixture on my trees, bushes and roses, for winter protection and also for smothering pest eggs/fungus/diseases. Are you all doing this? It is the first time I've ever sprayed in Winter, but this does seem to make sense.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Yesterday I pondered watering But when I check soil seem moist. I think if you have planted shrubs or trees this year, it may be wise to water now.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I think it is tricky. A lot of perennials die because of "winter wet." And I can tell you that the clay on my awful front hill holds water this water for a long long time. So I wouldn't recommend getting the sprinkler out -- just watering plants you have reason to believe need the extra water.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I Have a question--not specifically to do with watering--BUT--how many of you believe in cutting your
Roses back in the early winter? Many places i see this is recommended.
I have always cut my Roses back in early spring--when the little leaves start growing.
However--by then--there is already a lot of growth on the Roses.

Also--How many of you cut your Butterfly Bushes back before winter sets in?
Mine are already showing new growth and I really do not like to see that.

Last spring--almost overnight--Spider Mites chewed up every leaf on my B-Shrubs.
Wondering if I cut them back NOW--it would be better.

I have never felt that anything outside needs watering yet either. We have had so much rain--
I never got to mow my lawn for the last time. Everything is constantly wet.....

Thanks--fighting sniffles at this time. I hope that is all it will be. Gita


annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Here is a link to the Drought Monitor Map for Maryland. It is updated weekly on Tuesdays I think. Shows me here in Annapolis at moderate drought.

It is too easy to ignore my tucked in for the winter garden but truth is that all of my container growing plants need a good drink to keep their roots from drying out while they sleep. So they will be watered tomorrow. Because they are in containers (and nothing is frozen here ) I know that drainage isn't a problem this week. Hey, do watch that clay soil. Yep, tricky to walk that line between dehydration and root rot!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

today I remembered that I have two big clay pots by the front door with pansies in them. Those do need to be watered. And I added some blue-water type fertilizer
to them.

I am no rose pro at all, but I think it's fine to cut roses now. The point of cutting in spring would be that by then you know where any winter damage is. Ditto on the butterfly bushes. I think you would do well to cut them and remove all cuttings and even rake up debris. I also have seen them growing right through winter they never seem to be completely dormant.

Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

I always cut my rose bushes back when the Forsythia bloom. Wouldn't cut them now because they'll try to push out new growth if the weather warms a little. I have 40 bushes (lots of them Hybrid Teas) and there is always a great deal of "die back" from winter winds and chill. When I cut off the die back, there's still quite a bit of the bush that can continue to grow. My Butterfly Bushes get cut back in very early spring. So far this has been working.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks Sally---You are always very helpful.

Roses--You do exactly what I do. That is what Alan Summers always said--"Cut your Roses back when the Forsythias bloom".

Ditto for when to cut back my Butterfly bushes. They are on 2 corners of my "YUK" bed--so not the greatest
environment. I have NEVER seen them bloom like they do on pictures or in Nurseries.
Always a bit puny. I need to feed them--or something....Growing among a mat of tree roots (hence the "YUK") is not very
conductive to a healthy plant.
They also are old---one of them actually split in half way down near the soil line. The whole inside of the
stem, as it comes out of the soil, seems dry-rotted. Watering is sparse in this bed--as the tree roots
suck up every single drop.


central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Containers may need watering but all the frost and little bit of snow we had is keeping the ground pretty damp, I don't think I've ever watered anything in the winter

"Wouldn't cut them now because they'll try to push out new growth if the weather warms a little" that's what I was going to say
They say last rose pruning should be before first frost.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I had read that as well--but never got to it. That would have been something "new" i was doing....
My Roses all are very old. Years ans years. They are Hybrid Teas. The lower stems are woody.
I am amazed that they bloom at all!

Sometimes I am thinking of digging them all up, amending the soil, and starting all over with new Roses---
but that would cost a bit of $$$.
Besides--I have some that are not easily available any more...long out of patent....

I want to say that--IF any of you EVER come across the one called "Sweet Surrender"--run to buy it.
It is very hardy--the most fragrant one I have ever had--and quite disease resistant....
Never know--may just find it on the Rose rack at a Wallmart or such.


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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

G- " ...I have NEVER seen them bloom like they do on pictures or in Nurseries.
Always a bit puny. I need to feed them--or something...Growing among a mat of tree roots (hence the "YUK") is not very
conductive to a healthy plant.
They also are old---one of them actually split in half way down near the soil line. The whole inside of the
stem, as it comes out of the soil, seems dry-rotted...."

My butterfly bushes, had two nice ones, now one, and it has that nasty split too. It was very feeble this year. Just get rid of the darn things. I will if you will!!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I just put some butterfly bushes in on the front hill. Was that a mistake?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Our soil is still plenty wet from the soaking we got awhile ago. The only thing I ever water in winter are the perennial beds tucked back under the eaves, and I do that by tossing some loose snow back there. The snow will help to stabilize the soil temp as well as offer some moisture. Ric

I can't seem to find an appropriate pic , but I'm sure many of you have seen our foundation beds.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

And beautiful they are!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

happy, I loved mine for some years, just that eventually they decline. Like fifteen years.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh, ok, they I won't pull mine out at daybreak...

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


i would not mind getting rid of mine--but it would be impossible to plant something in their place.
They ARE old! And--this long a bed needs something to "anchor it"--visually, that is.

Also--getting to dig it out, or a new one in, would be very difficult--as there is a split rail fence immediately behind one of them
and the split rail and the 6' tall fence on the other corner. This one is the one that split...
No butt room! No wiggle room!
This is the part of the bed facing my back yard neighbor--NOT the part in front of the 6' fence.

IF I was to get rid of them--or IF I had to--I would just cut them all the way down and make sure nothing sprouts
after that. Then--good old Round Up. Of course--not a job I could handle. I don't have young, strong boys here to fill in.

I keep thinking--IF I could spray it every other week for spider mites--and IF i would fertilize it with something---maybe they
would look nicer--and bloom better. Lots of "IFS".....

1--looking at the corner of "YUK" bed. One of the B-Bushes is in this corner (no 6' fence yet!) 2011
The other one is behind the bird bath--lower left.
2--THE reason I call it my "YUK" bed--in case some of you don't know. This huge Maple is 4' from the bed!
3--Here you can now see how fenced in this corner is now.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Oh darn, sounds like you're stuck with them.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

G - your yard is just lovely, as I imagined it would be - great job! That succulent is gorgeous - which one is it AND, how did you get it to bloom like that?!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


That is one of Two red Epis I have. I got them, originally, from "Kachinagirl" in CA in 2005.
They were just single "leaf" sections.

They never did anything but grow huge for 5 or 6 years--and then in 2011 and 2012 both of them just blew me away!

The one in the above picture is an "ackermanii" (so I was told)--the other one--I still do not know, as there
are too many that look similar.

I have accumulated several :odd" plants for my area (Baltimore, MD), all because of DG.
I also have a huge Ric Rac cactus and , currently, 3 Brugmansias, Clivias, a Brazilian Plume Flower,
Pregnant Onions, etc.

Anyway--Here are some pics for you. MAF people--please excuse me, as this is off topic. Just answering Kay.

1&2--The same Epi as you saw in the above picture
3-4-5--these are from June--2011

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Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Just gorgeous, G!!!! Thanks for sharing your pictures.

Alexandria, VA

My butterfly bush gets spider mites each year too - I HATE that bush. It makes me sad cause I bought it specifically to plant where we buried our canary (it has yellow blooms) but it's been nothing but trouble. If I can find something else with yellow blooms to put in it's place I'll remove it - maybe a yellow rose would work.

Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

I have lots of roses. My Julia Child yellow rose is always healthy, hardy and in bloom.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Roses -- are there landscape roses that you might recommend for my awful front hill, that is made of impenetrable clay (though I have indeed amended it), is subject to erosion, won't get (much) supplemental water and won't get sprayed for diseases/bugs? Another requirement: not too many thorns (because nothing is worse that falling on thorns when you are working on a hill). The only good thing I can say is that the hill is mostly (though not entirely) sunny? I understand if the answer is "no" but wanted to ask....

Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

Look into Drift Roses, Knockout Roses and OsoEasy Roses. They grow to different sizes and need the least care of any rose bushes. I do not even prune mine and they always seem to have blooms on them. These are not without thorns, but I've not had a problem passing by them as I do with other roses.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Roses. Of those three, which do you like the best? Knockouts are so prevalent here, but I haven't heard of Drift Roses or OsoEasy Roses.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Are "Drift Roses" the same as "Carpet Roses"? Carpet Roses sprawl sideways--and are not too high.
Maybe a couple feet? They seem to have few requirements--sort of care free.
I have one--got it years ago when Alan Summers kept talking about these. Mine is red.
Don't know if they come in other colors...

I moved it from my shed corner bed to a corner of my front bed--and replaced it with the Knock Out Rose that now grows there.
The "Carpet Rose" does not seem to belong in a small flower bed. It sprawls too much.

Happy--You may want to see if any of these are still available. They would "hug" your hillside.
Thorny? Yes!
Here is a picture of mine blooming through my Stella D-Oro Daylilies. June, 2012


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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I have what I recall as being a carpet rose on my back hill, and to be honest I really don't like it. The color is garish to my eye. It might just be the location -- it is right outside my kitchen window. I'll bring it to a swap if I ever get around to finding something to replace it. My husband likes it, though....

Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

Here's a quote from the Garden Web:

I just added Drift to my collection of roses last year. I've been growing Flower Carpet roses for over 12 years and I've been really happy with them. Most of the varieties Flower Carpet that I have bloom almost nonstop from about the end of June through our first few frosts. The ones that seem to be the most full in our area are Scarlet and Pink Supreme but I also love Coral and Appleblossom even though they don't get as big. From what I can tell after the first year of having Drift roses is that they are considerably smaller roses - both the flower and the shrubs themselves - but I guess that makes sense because I think that they're promoted as being for smaller spaces. I have mine tucked in some spots between the Flower Carpets where I needed filler.

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