Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gardening thoughts - Roses

This has not been the Year of the Roses.  Walking around my yard today, I came to a sad realization... most of my rose bushes did not survive the winter.

I had decided last year to stop spraying the Winnipeg Parks along the side of the driveway (there were 11 on each side, until now) and to not replace them if they didn't survive.  They were planted as a linear shrub, and I suspect their proximity resulted in a fungal problem.  I didn't like having to spray them with chemicals every week to deal with it, so I stopped last year.  It seems as though the roses on the north side lived, but the south side is all gone.  Since my neighbour and I will be planting a row of dwarf lilacs along the property line, I don't think the survivors will last a whole lot longer.

There also used to be three Winnipeg parks behind the deck.  They're in a location that is too shady, and they're crowded by a trio of cedars planted behind them.  They look like they might come back, but I don't think they'll do very well.   I suspect that if the last winter didn't do them in, being crowded out by the cedars will.

The year that Oliver died, I planted a Mordan Blush in his memory.  It has struggled for the last few years, and this year it looks like it's gone.    I'm thinking of planting an apple tree in it's place.  Oliver used to love to climb the apple trees at my parents' place, and that way I can block the view between my deck and the neighbour's hot tub.

I've also got a couple of Mordan Blush on either side of the front garden in the corner.  I *might* be able to save them if I cut them way back, but it'll be iffy.  I'll probably give them a shot, but suspect I'll be planting something new in their place late-season.

The William Baffins, which have always stood guard on either side of the dog pen gate, went from being aggressively large bushes that needed to be whacked back periodically to suddenly being firewood.  Not a single leaf has sprouted from their branches.  I'm not sure what I'll plant in their place.  It needs to be something tall and substantial, but maybe something that doesn't grow so fast.

Long story short, I think I'll probably be rose-free after this year.  I love roses, but they're too high maintenance.  Roses were the one plant in the gardens that were holding me back from having completely natural, chemical free gardens.  I'm hoping that if I stick to planting more native plants, it'll look just as pretty but take a lot less work.


  1. I just planted 4 more rose bushes this afternoon: 2 climbing New Dawn, 1 Legends (utterly gorgeous huge red rose commissioned by Oprah) and 1 Intrigue (gorgeous violet rose, but not very strong, so I'm not hopeful). Only one of mine from last year survived, but I'm still optimistic. Or stupid. Or blinded by rose-love.

  2. I can't believe William Baffin!
    I would totally be planting a screen between you and the Hot Tub folks. Maybe a 40 ft brick wall.