A Rose by any other *$#% name…

By: Anne Corke

Jun 15 2011


Category: Gardening

1 Comment

I have a love/hate relationship with roses. I have tried on numerous occasions to include them in my gardens but it seems roses and I are not compatible. I struggled valiantly with blackspot and mildew on my hybrid teas and floribundas, but in the end, I had to admit defeat. Those roses had to go. They were just too needy, too dependent. I wasn’t ready for that kind of floral commitment. Years later, I decided to try again, but this time I wouldn’t bother with those fussy roses. Oh no. Perhaps a few old roses would lend some elegance to the front garden. After all, they are very hardy (that should have raised a red flag!), easy to care for (flag number two!) and simply beautiful. I drove to Pickering to a special rose nursery, brought home my new babies and planted them with loving care in their warm sunny beds where they nestled into the carefully amended soil I had prepared just for them! For a while, all was well. I swooned over the beautiful striped Rosa Mundi. I cooed at glacial Iceberg. I sighed for New Dawn. As my dear old Mum would say, everything in the garden was lovely. But as the summer wore on, the dark side of their characters started to emerge. Deliriously happy in their new home, they mugged the neighbouring plants as they stretched out across the garden. I tried cutting them back but that just encouraged them to spread even more. I tried digging them up but little pieces left behind grew like weeds and took over where the originals had left off. I realized that I was at war! (The war of the roses? No, that’s far too obvious!) And so, a decade later, I am still trying to unseat Iceberg. This spring it has reached the edge of the bed. Where will it go now? Out into the lawn? Across the road to take on the dog strangling vine? (My money’s on the rose!) New Dawn, the only climber of the bunch, is in the south bed trellised against the warm brick wall. Every winter the ten foot long canes die back. Every spring I risk life and limb to prune them. And every year I threaten to dig it up, and then I remember Iceberg. And to be honest, when New Dawn blooms I could almost forget the heartache of the roses. It’s simple pale pink flowers, softly fragrant, scramble up the wall with wild abandon and I think that perhaps I will keep just this one. Oh, and Iceberg, too, of course! And so, my friends, be forewarned. Admire roses from a distance, lest they break your heart!

Copyright 2011 Anne Corke

One comment on “A Rose by any other *$#% name…”

  1. I’ve heard ‘Knock Out’ roses are incredibly easy to grow and are very beautiful…… in case you want to give roses a try again! *grin*

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