Sunday, April 19, 2015

sesoR deredruM

In homage to my daughter's love of The Shining, and for Danny Lloyd's great child acting in the movie of the same name, you should read the title of this entry backwards to find the true meaning....

I had a sad start to this gardening year as I assessed the damages done by our recent cold dry Winter and still dry Spring, but I still had to face the worst moments of the season last week during my garden spring cleanup.  This Spring will hereafter live in my memory as "The Year of the Springtime Rose Massacre."  I set forth a couple of weeks ago with sharpened secateurs, honed trimmers and spade, intent on ridding my garden of any visible signs of Rose Rosette disease.  'Amiga Mia', 'Aunt Honey', 'Frau Karl Druschki', and 'Benjamin Britten' were ruthlessly ripped at young ages from my Kansas soil.  Shovel-pruned alongside them were 'Altissimo', 'Gene Boerner', 'Grootendorst Supreme', 'Calico Gal', 'Golden Princess', and 'Butterfly Magic'.  I was particularly sorry to sacrifice my favorite siblings 'Mme Isaac Pereire' and 'Mme Ernest Calvat', and I will miss their intense perfumes and come-hither blossoms this summer.  A once-blooming climber from a previous rose rustling episode was yet another casualty, forever destined to be an unnamed memory.  With malice in mind, I also took advantage of the wholesale slaughter to rub out 'Sally Holmes'.  "Sally Homely", as I refer to her, was only showing questionable signs of Rosette disease, but I pruned her on principle, a token offering to the God of Healthy Roses.

Only 'Folksinger' remains as a possible Rosette Typhoid Mary in my garden, on life support since I know she was previously infected, but in her defense she has shown no further signs since a low cane-pruning early last year, and her new growth all looks healthy at this time.  Of note, 'Golden Princess' was the second I have lost to unmistakable signs of Rose Rosette.  Out of 200+ individual roses, is that a coincidence, or is this cultivar unusually susceptible to Rose Rosette?  And stalwart survivors 'Purple Pavement' and 'Blanc Double de Coubert' died back to their roots this year.  Did these tough old Rugosas succumb only to the cold and drought of winter, or are they also silent casualties of Rosette infection?  Both appear right now to be growing back from their roots, but I've never seen the slightest winter kill before on either rose here in Kansas.

Today, I aim to continue the rose carnage, but this time I'm facing a different foe.  My beloved 'Red Cascade' was a victim of a pack rat blitzkreig this winter and I'm going to destroy their nest and free him from bondage,  You can see the mulch-formed mass of the nest in the center of the picture at the left, surrounded by all the dead and sick 'Red Cascade' canes.  I'm sure my counterattack will involve a great loss of innocent young rose canes, but I will not rest until the fascist pack rats have been pushed back to their prairie homeland.


  1. I can barely imagine having to dispose of so many RRD infected roses at once. My heart breaks for you.

    1. Well, Connie, you've had your losses too. Let's hope that it's not coming from somewhere down in the woods. I rather suspect now that I brought it into my garden with a 'New Dawn' rose a couple of years back.

  2. How heartbreaking for you. Here's hoping all your others remain in the rudest of rude health!

    1. I'm hoping that all the OGRs and Rugosas are more resistant. Maybe this will just make my mind up as to what I'm growing.


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