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It is with great sadness that I must report that many of my new rose bushes have perished, brought down not by slugs or blackspot, but by the winter feeding habits of the Tomato Rabbit.  So called because she lives in a den next to the bed that houses the strawberries and one giant yellow pear tomato.  Now, I am very fond of the Tomato Rabbit.  I left the yellow pear in situ so that she could have a home for the winter.  I quit weeding over there.  I quit mulching.  I even felt guilty watering, since she would hop out, bedraggled and pouty and damp, when I turned on the sprinkler. 

There's lots of delicious rabbit-friendly food in my yard.  She could have all the grasses, the spare tomatoes, the nasturtium greens, the peppery flowers, the lilac bush in toto, but noooooooooo.  She had to eat all my rose bushes to the ground. 

Not content with a stem here or there, she mowed those suckers to the bare earth.  No leaves, no stems, just sad dead twigs about an inch long on most of them, and on two slightly less wretched specimens, the twigs are about four inches.  Only Radio Times has a decent branch left, but even that is just ten inches and so many other twiggy bits are exposed to the elements, I fear for its recovery.

I think they're all toast, except the already established Jayne Austin and Lady of the Myst, both of which are bethorned from stem to stern, thank goodness.

See, I read that sometimes the roses will come back, despite that kind of abuse.  However.....we managed to get a cold snap down to six, with a bunch of ice on top of it.  I think it's best to assume that losses will be heavy.  There's so many cuts and so little plant left and only part of a season to develop roots...

I have built large fences around each remaining rose, twig or not.  And now I know how poor Wise Portia perished (twice) this past summer.  She must have tasted good. 

The Pook, while an admirable hound in many ways, does not chase rabbits.  Well, he doesn't chase our rabbits.  See, the Pook classifies things as 'family' and 'not family'.  Family rabbits are not for chasing and must be protected against maurauding cats (we had lots of these in Waldo).  Non-family rabbits can be chased.  Same with mice, squirrels, ground squirrels, etc.  The Pook has an intense level of pack drive, a moderate territorial drive (you can see this because his reaction to postal visits increases dramatically when family is home), and minor amounts of prey drive.  I still remember watching the rabbits at the Waldo house graze on the grass while the Pook lounged sleepily in their midst, soaking sun into his old bones and keeping an eye out for cats.

In any case. 

What this all means is that I have to select roses again.  Which is always fun, but also dashed expensive.  

So, my fellow rosarians and rose fanciers and flower fiends, what say you?

The area I'm primarily filling in is the long edge of my privacy fence.  I'm basically creating a heavy border with lots of small climates for various critters and many perennial flowers. 

In the past, I selected many delightful naughty roses, and called it my slut garden (with deep affection).  Wife of Bath with her jolly laugh and pink petals is coming back for sure.  I'll probably get another Radio Times as well.  Beautiful pink blooms, rich scent, decent growth, lasts in a vase. 

I'd put in several peach roses, but wasn't overly impressed with most of them--they were either mostly yellow or white.  My favorite peach remained Lady of the Mist (really gorgeous shift from pink to apricot to almost lavender) and her scent is fantastic. 

The red I tried (Tower of London) died early, so I won't be bringing it back either.  I already have on Abraham Darby (in the front), so I figure one of him is plenty (he's already making a bid to climb the house, OK?) and the front also has a bunch of Zephyr-whatsits bourbons and an

I'm considering deep pinks, medium pinks, and rich apricots, plus one red.  I've decided I just don't enjoy white or cream roses.  I like bursts of color with my scent.  Also, I like the Austins with their rich scent, especially the myrh tones, but I'm happy to entertain other varieties.  Repeat bloom, good vase time, etc.  I have a Peace in front that I really love, so I may get another of those.  So beautiful, such great cut flowers, even if it does look spindly, I don't care. 

Naughty overtones in the name a big plus!
vom_marlowe: (Default)
So we're having the painters come to do the trim on the places we can't reach.  That means that they must be able to, you know, actually reach the trim.

The people who owned the house before us were utterly clueless.  Examples include but are not limited to: spilling a bucket of paint on the floor and leaving it there to dry, jerry-rigging their own electrical system in a way that made the electrician scream and leap backwards, hammering a plank of wood on the floor (no, I don't know why), putting bright fish wallpaper boarders on poop brown paint, and planting a black walnut, of all things, six inches from the house's foundation. 

Uh, yeah.

So. 

They also allowed a Dr Huey rose bush to grow to a height of at least eight feet tall and about four, no six, feet wide.  That sucker is HUGE.  It's also scraping against the house, which is a major house no-no. 

I love roses, don't get me wrong.  But I love my house's siding more.  I consulted a friend about pruning it, and she said I probably couldn't kill it if I tried, and that Dr Huey was notorious for being, well, not just hardy but indifferent to rain, sleet, hail, sun, and the occasional act of god. 

So last night I went out, wearing rose bush gloves (they're more like gauntlets, to be honest) and a chambray shirt to cover my arms, and did my best to prune it. 

I am now limping, scratched, covered in bandaids, sore, and grumpy.  There's an enormous pile of rose wood that refused to fit into the yard waste bags without poking me in the face, so it's just going to have to be taken away in bundles. 

The damn rose: caught my hair, poked through heavy leather gloves to gouge the back of my hand, ow ow ow, bruised my thigh, scratched my scalp, pricked my wrist (through leather AND canvas, the fiend), and generally caused havoc.  The clothes I was wearing are a dead loss.

Did I mention that it was 104 out?  And that was when it was cooling off.

I staggered back inside to lick my wounds and take a cold bath.  Except it's been so hot that we no longer have cold water.  It's luke warm, even on pure cold. 

But the painters can get to the house.  Which is something.  I guess.

*wanders off to apply more disinfectant to yet another thorn wound*

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March 2016

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