Rose Cuttings – October, 2007

We’ve heard it over and over: “Use compost, mulch your beds, and add more organic matter.” The benefits of mulch have been widely reported and emphasized.

As a gardener, I don’t disagree. In fact, it becomes more clearly a necessity to gardeners the more we learn about it. I certainly have become more smitten with compost and the miracles it imparts to plants

Its magic lies deeper than the obvious physical qualities that mulch and compost provide. Yes, it provides a barrier for weed seeds, helps to buffer soil moisture, pH, and temperature, and imparts beauty to the landscape, but the most compelling attribute is the life that it sustains. Mulch and compost are food for bacteria, nematodes and fungus. By-products from this foraging are the life-sustaining fertilizer and minerals that plants thrive on. Plants create a symbiotic relationship with fungus and bacteria that enable their existence. In essence, it creates a living soil. Now, with summer temperatures steadily climbing, mulching your plants becomes imperative, not only to eliminate as much stress as possible, but to make plants thrive.

Therefore, it is nice to know, as you overlook your garden from the comfort of your climate-controlled home, that you have done everything possible to make your garden comfortable, too.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit the ARE Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses, and to order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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