Sunday, March 27, 2011

Casualties of War

In my life, I have really moved. I have moved from North to Central Florida, from one side of town to another ( like 5 times), moved into a home from an apartment, moved rooms around inside said home (don't get DH started on that one!), moved furniture and plants from my family homestead in Georgia into said home, and moved flower beds and flowers around my yard more times than I care to remember. (My daylilies seem like migrant birds, following my every garden whim and foible to a new temporary home.) In moving there is always a casualty. A glass pitcher that gets broken, an azalea that just wont take to its being relocated. Sometimes there is a heartbreak and a few tears that come with the loss, if it be a prized piece, but overall I try not to let it get to me. The move to the new garden scheme was alas, not without its loss, but this time, multiple losses. A 3 year old Iceberg, which I apparently damaged a main root, was DOA in mere hours. That loss I can cope, it isn't my favorite rose, and I have two other white roses, one being another Iceberg. The loss that baffled and saddened me was actually a new rose, one which I planted in September. Reine des Violettes was about 18" tall, had decent top growth coming out of the dormant season, so I figured she was healthy. I dug wide and deep around her, trying not to make the same mistake as Iceberg. What I came up with was a root system that was smaller than a tennis ball. Strange, I thought, for such a teensy root system to be on what seemed otherwise to be a happy plant. I transferred her, watered in, mulched, top-watered the mulch, and thought, "Okay this will be good"...wrong. Dead in a day. This scared me since I had other roses still to move. Now I have moved roses a few times, and never had a problem. The Iceberg was my fault, and I take full blame on that, but I have moved a 6' bush across the yard before, and had little more than a bit of wilt and loss of some new growth. But a baby plant? I am still baffled. Sadly I don't have the time to ponder it, because apparently I have more roses in trouble, stress, danger, or something. Three of the other moved shrubs (out of the 9 total I moved) are yellowing and shedding leaves at an alarming rate. When I researched "yellowing leaves on roses" it gives me a wild range of reasons why: water stress, heat stress, salt stress, the roses do not approve of your outfit for that day, etc. I am just riding this one out, and seeing what happens next. If I have to replace more roses, well, so be it. But I really don't want to lose these three. One is Archduke Charles, which I got 2 years ago at the spring rose sale at Goodwood Plantation in Tallahassee (incidentally, you can see the plantation from the hospital in which I was born, maybe roses and old houses my fate from birth) and the other two are newbies from ARE (so was RdV): Mme Issac Pereire and Kronprincessin Viktoria.

So here is hoping that this a "just a phase", and the roses spring (no pun intended) back into action. Otherwise, my "Rose" line item in the budget is about to get bigger.



  1. Not to worry! Everything you have seems to be in commerce; so replaceable.I've been messing around with old roses since the 70's and I lost all of my rooted cuttings I had received (from Tennessee) of found roses from an old forgotten cemetery last year. So we've all been there, and shit happens. Archduke Charles is my favorite china.

    You're a great writer. I'm enjoying your blog.

  2. Thank you Grouchy, I am of the opinion that, if a rose doesn't want to live, or grow vigorously, in my garden, there are plenty of others that will. I am hoping that Archduke will make it however, because it has been growing so nicely. Thank you for the compliment on my writing, and I am glad you are enjoying the blog so far.


  3. Ken, as a matter of fact my AC is looking really ratty with a lot of yellow, blackspotty leaves and a few dying canes (little ones). I'm not used to having him in the ground so I'm not sure of his habits. He's a good rose for his spot, so I'll try to be patient while I get to know him. Hopefully, yours will perk up. If not, like you said, there are lots of others. Then the problem becomes the choosing. I, too, like your writing.

  4. Thank you Sherry, I enjoy yours thoroughly as well. Archduke is looking a bit better today, at least as of this afternoon. Mme Isaac Pereire, not as good. I am also having the strangest problem on my Anna Olivier, which was not moved, disturbed or changed in anyway during this ordeal. I had to cut off almost every single bud and bloom, because they were hideous! Every petal was browned around the edges, on each blossom. I have never seen it do that before. It had so many buds and blooms, but I just could not let them stay on the bush looking so ragged. Any ideas what it could be?

  5. Hi Ken, I am also enjoying your blog! I am no expert but the problem you described about your buds and blooms on your Anna Olivier sounds like what I believe is making a mess of the buds on some of my roses, which is thrips. I look forward to future blog postings from you!

  6. Ah, yes, the thrips experience. They got my Anna Olivier, too, as well as most of my roses. Even Louis Philippe had them bad. I thought he was just being slow to open, but he was covered with balled blooms - from thrips. A week ago yesterday I removed all of the front garden blooms - oh, except Enchantress. I keep forgetting her. This year's thrips haven't been as emotionally traumatizing as the first two years of my growing roses. And last year was minimal - maybe because of the long, cold winter. AO has a few buds again. I'll have to check them for the telltale signs - pruners in hand.

    BTW, rose deaths do happen, sad though they are.

  7. Hi Ken...I just discovered your blog over at Kay's - My Garden Path. I'm always happy to find another Florida gardener. Sorry to hear about your roses. I've moved them mine many times to new homes with good luck. Generally, I move them in January or February at the latest. I'm always amazed at the small root systems they have. This year I moved a couple of large knock-outs to the opposite end of a flowerbed. I wasn't sure if one of them was going to make it but it's just now starting to bloom and looks great. I do hope you don't lose anymore of your favorite roses, and i look forward to following your blog.