Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lo And Behold

Last fall I got this crazy stupid genius idea to move a rose bush from the east side of the house to the back yard so it could grow on the picket fence instead of sprawling all over the yard and getting run over by the lawnmower every two weeks. (I warred with the yard guy all last year over his penchant for mowing down my flowers and he won't be back this year.)  Not just any little ol' rose bush, though--a behemoth rose bush that had been growing on the side of the house for decades.  It really needed a better location, because it had been planted way too close to the foundation of the house and it had a mulberry tree growing up through the middle of it. I couldn't kill the tree without also killing the rose bush, so I spent the better part of two days digging a gigantic hole in the yard to get to the roots of the rose bush. When I say "gigantic", I mean a hole so big that Marion asked me if I was mad at him and planning to put him in that hole. 

After I replanted the rose bush in its new location, all the leaves fell off and it looked dead.  My neighbor Gwen (she of the beautiful back-yard garden) told me not to worry. This Spring, while everything else was leafing out, that rose bush looked like a pile of sticks stuck in the ground.  I was sure I'd killed it, and I kicked myself over that.

Then yesterday Gwen came over and asked how the rose bush is doing.  "I killed it," I told her.  "I am a rose bush murderer."

She poked around in the dead leaves at the base of the rose bush.  "Look!" she exclaimed.

I saw one little reddish rose bush leaf poking out.  "Oh my gosh! Is that what I think it is?!"

I scrabbled at the rest of the dead leaves with my fingers, and lo and behold, even more rose bush leaves.  Healthy-looking ones.  Six shoots in all.  True, two of them are so teeny-tiny that they can barely be seen, but they're there.  Proof of life.  I am not a rose bush murderer after all.


  1. Yay!! A lot of old roses are much tougher than we have been led to believe. Congratulations on what seems like a successful transplant.

    Sounds like you don't know which rose this is. If you don't, when it leafs out better and blooms (fingers crossed) I maybe can help you with an ID.

  2. Yippee!!!!

    BTW did you see Verlander got a hit on opening day?

  3. Yeah!

    Decades ago, when I bought my first house, shortly after I moved in, the (terra cotta?) sewer line was found to have collapsed (missed in inspection, hard to detect) and so a few days before the excavators were due, I had to rescue a bunch of old roses that were growing on top of it. The area was eighty feet long...

    I finally dug as far down as I could, and then sawed of the giant roots. Each bush had about foot long roots when I was done. They all survived. Talk about tough plants.

  4. Very nice! We have a climbing rose on the side of our porch. I think I over-pruned it last year, and was sure it was dead this spring, but now I see at least one new shoot emerging. I don't know if it's going to make a full recovery, or just a last gasp of life, but plants really are amazing.