The gardens of course needed a great deal of attention with weeding and trimming being the order of the day. Right now, the roses are absolutely glorious and I think deserve an entire post of their own - we have well over 90 plants of many varieties - climbers, tea roses, standards - and many of them have started blooming now.
Some of these roses are ones that have been grown from cuttings and are vigorous growers, others need more nurturing. We've been concerned about some of the plants that have had a hard time recovering from the grasshopper plagues of the last couple of years, but it looks like most have pulled through and are thriving again. The iris are adding some wonderful color as well - these plants have all been given to us by other iris lovers and have really come into their own the last couple of years.
Finally, the problem of thistle infestation was addressed. We have encountered yellow star thistle, but the primary culprit is bull thistle, a thoroughly noxious and non-native plant. We've tried various attacks, including hoeing it out, but really had not enough of an effect until we bit the bullet and went for the chemical route. It wasn't our first choice, but it does seem to be working, and each year it the volume of spraying is reduced and so are the number of plants. The Transline tank is rigged onto the back of the ranch four-wheeler and then taken to the infested areas. (The first couple of years, the tank was backpacked in - a cruel and arduous task!)
A great deal of research was done to make sure that the herbicide would absolutely NOT cause any harm to any of our beloved ranch critters. Also, passing classes in appropriate usage and getting a spray permit is required before you can purchase the Transline.