Thursday, July 19, 2007

On this day...
  • in 1333, the Battle of Halidon Hill took place, final battle in the Wars of Scottish Independence
  • 1870 Franco-Prussian war - France declared war on Prussia
  • in 1879, Doc Holliday killed for the first time when someone made a mess of his New Mexico saloon (That's if you don't count all his dental patients who probably contracted TB when he coughed in their faces in Doc Seegar's Dallas practice)
Esteemed people born on this date:
  • 1814 Samuel Colt - made some wonderful things
  • 1834 Edgar Degas - painted a couple pictures
  • 1865 Charles Horace Mayo - opened a clinic
  • 1941 My Dad - all-around, generally wonderful person

Happy birthday, Pop. You're the best!

A couple years ago I saw a rose I really liked at a local flower emporium, so I bought the bush and brought it home. This was a tea rose, very cabbagey with about 200 petals on every bloom, and the color was the palest peachy yellow, almost pinky. What wowed me about this rose other than the dense blooms was the marvelous, antique-rose style fragrance.

I've been gardening for years and years, but I've pretty much limited myself to native perennials from this area, heat-hardy plants that don't need a lot of watering or hand-holding. I've never checked into what it takes to have a rose bush thrive. I sort of envisioned the old-fashioned ladies with the little net-hat on and a hand-held fumigator, dusting the roses with mystical powders to kill bugs and make 'em all purty. In other words, I rather imagined they needed lots of pampering in order to thrive.

SO... since my general philosophy on gardening is that you look until you find the combination of plants which will thrive on your particular degree of neglect, I assumed the rose would hang around a bit and retire early in a ladylike fit of indignance. Not so. This rose LOVED the place where I planted it. The soil was PERFECT! It LOVED the exposure - not too much sun, not too little. I never watered it? NO problem! I had one happy, monstrous rose bush which threatened to take over half the yard, even though I'd just tipped it into a hole in the ground without so much as soil amendments, bone meal or a howdy-do.


So, on Sunday I took pruning shears and pair of limb-cutting shears and began snipping back the branches and suckers. It was incredible, because it took me about an hour and a half just to cut back all these canes. And I still haven't dug up the rootball - I can only imagine what that's going to be like.

Anyway, please learn from the example of my cautionary tale - if you plant roses, you'd better think of it as a commitment. Not necessarily a commitment to spend a lot of time maintaining, but a commitment of a huge parcel of time to get rid of it, should you ever tire of its lovely, genteel self. Better still, put it in the middle of a pasture, where it can just go wild, and you can visit on that rare occasion you actually want to see it.


HollyB said...

Happy B'day to LaP's Daddy! Any Feller who could raise such a fine Female Shooter as she is has got to be a Heck of a Guy!
Seriously, I've been hearing tales about you for months now and can't wait to make your acquaintance.
I hope you have a GREAT day and clean up on the presents. Enjoy the cake and ice cream.

FHB said...

Good advise. Planted one by my front door and constantly have to prune it back. Tedious.And happy birthday to your cool dad.

Anonymous said...

Roses are so pretty, but do require a lot of care.

Happy Birthday to your dad. Hope he has a wonderful one.

Becky said...

Happy birthday to your dad! I love roses, but I don't have a yard:(

Lin said...

Send your dad our birthday wishes, too! I really envy folks who still have their parents around.

Oh, please save me some rooty bits - that rose sounds divine! I'll lavish attention on it and it will die in the standard two weeks anyway. I'm more effective than Round-Up in that respect.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Happy birthday, Mr PF!

My mother in law always grew roses whilst still living in her own house. They ae well matched to each other - prickly and bothersome.

Flo said...

Happy birthday to your dad!

I'm with lin on the plants. I can kill anything and the more flowers, the faster.