| Before he was Bones on Star Trek, |
DeForest Kelley defended the planet against giant rabbits in...
Night of the Lepus.
Sassy Sue and I took an unusual route yesterday for our morning walk. I knew someone else had a lot of roses, so we walked north a block to check out that yard.
I counted 11 rosebeds in neat rectangles in the front yard. We drove by before, so I knew the layout. But as we approached, I saw that every single plant was unpruned, so dozens of rosebusheswere at the last stages of producing rosehips, not an attractive sight.
I told Mrs. Ichabod about this, and we agreed that the couple who lives there must have serious health problems, because a little daily pruning is not difficult.
The sorry state of the yard reminded me of the saying about Alcibiades, an early Greek leader who vexed the people who knew him -
"Never raise a lion cub, the saying's true, but treat him as a lion, if you do."
I contend that roses are far easier than most people realize, but they do require regular pruning. Trimming back KnockOut roses is even more necessary, because the speed of its blooming cycle is so fast and the growth so vigorous.
|Famous movie stars do not make a weak premise|
any better. Ever wonder why Bones was so grouchy?
Answer - Night of the Lepus on his resume.
We increased our rose crop when rabbits and squirrels ate so many food crops. How can someone plant hundreds of carrot seeds, see them germinate, and have nothing to show for it? Rabbits. I wanted true baby carrots fresh from the soil, and I only got healthy tribes of rabbits.
|This is my backyard at night,|
as I imagined it.
The hot dry weather was rough on my rosarian self-esteem, but cooler weather and rainstorms have given every plant a new start.
Rainwater - The Only Miracle Fertilizer
Time after time, stored rainwater has turned a weak plant into a producer of perfect roses. Gardeners may want to increase their rain storage for that reason alone. I moved several containers into the front yard just to make the trip shorter. I am thinking of rainbarrels on a little cart next year. All I do is gather rain from the water dripping or cascading off the roof - no gutters in the back. In the front I have a plugged gutter - thanks to maple leaves - that gives me similar results.
Anything organic, that is - that once lived, will be a good fertilizer when decomposed.
Harvesting Roses Means Regular Pruning
Some days I simply cut every fading KnockOut bloom off. I think I am done and see more as I return down the path. When the entire plant is droopy from too much rain or too little, I cut the bush in half.
Total pruning gives me vibrant color on all the KnockOut bushes, and many roses are good for bouquets when I need them. I let the two white KOs absorb the insect damage, because I want to keep the pest-eaters well fed - Ichneumon wasps, Tachinid flies, Flower Flies. They gather to say goodbye every time I create a new vase of roses.
God created roses to be pruned. Cutting off flowers spurs more branch and root growth.
Look at the Crepe Myrte, which I need to photograph again. I left the upper blooms alone because of Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal's home deep inside. But I cut off all the blooms on the lower part and mulched the plant with the tender branches and flowers. Now the lower part is in full bloom and the upper part is fading slowly and going to seed, making it into a seed plant for the Cardinals in winter.
Rotten wood that falls from trees in the neighborhood is piled up under the Crepe Myrtle. I told one couple that I visit often - "If the neighbors wonder about my collection of dead wood, ask them how many roses they have."
Compared to KnockOuts, hybrid tea roses are much slower in producing buds, and the buds are slower to open. When they do, they fade slowly - but much faster than a Crepe Myrtle bloom. Every rose bouquet invites therapeutic pruning on the roses. Dead wood is removed. Crossed branches are cut away. The plant is shaped. Some are marked for extra rainwater.
The 92 year old retired rosarian asked, "Do you raise hybrid teas?" He was probably nostalgic because of the massive popularity of KnockOuts. A mature hybrid tea can produce a vase of large blooms all at once. Hybrid tea roses are the most beautiful and fragrant. I aim for the perfume effect when I put a group together. The novice recipient will start to inhale close to the blooms and say, "Wow, the fragrance!" The ones known for their strength of fragrance are a bit much close-up, but good to fill a room with just one flower.
KnockOuts, Peace, and some others are almost devoid of fragrance. Fragrant Cloud, Mr. Lincoln, Pope John Paul II, Double Delight, and some others are long on fragrance.
|Queen Elizabeth II -|
her servants disappear into passages
when she walks through the hallway of her castles.
Likewise, the beneficial rose insects are invisible
to most people but a delight to the flowers.
Treat Them Royally
Roses need proper treatment - respectful, regular, and toxin-free:
They do not belong to the cactus family. They need watering, rainwater from the Creator is best.
They do not like insecticide, herbicide, or fungicide. Do you meet an esteemed person and hose him down with antibiotics, deodorant, and Off!? How about a good puff of Raid, just to be sure?
Queen Elizabeth II has a host of servants to take care of her needs. She does not need your chemical solutions.
|Queen Elizabeth Rose -|
developed by a Creationist PhD - Walter Lammerts.
Likewise, the Queen Elizabeth rose would rather let its tiny servants provide food and protection rather than suffer their deaths in the name of preventing problems:
- Soil microbes develop the foundation for feeding the rose - fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes.
- Soil creatures use the microbes for food and add to their value - earthworms, etc.
- Beneficial insects work over the plant to devour the pests and have families of pest eaters.
- Spiders occupy spaces here and there and capture rose attackers, spawning more spiders.
- Birds and toads eat even more of the pests.
- Garter snakes add to the diversity of servants - all created, engineered to perfection, and managed expertly by God.
|Pink Peace is stunning, especially|
when a group of blooms open at once.
- If the soil is not mulched
- If the beneficial insects are slaughtered
- If the life-giving fungi are killed
- If the fruitful branches are not pruned to be more fruitful - John 15.
|Barbra Streisand is not a diva rose,|
a great producer and always appealing.