Garden Reports and Rejoicing – November 7
A customer came into the garden center today with a slightly frosted rose in her hand. “Can you identify this for me?” she asked. Based on how it looked and smelled, I guessed that she was holding a flower from Fragrant Cloud. This led to a brief discussion of the pleasures and pains of rose growing.
The customer was frustrated that most of the hybrid teas she planted became so black spot ridden that after the first year they were bare sticks most of the summer. Given this, she wasn’t sure if she should be unhappy or relieved if they died in the winter.
What was getting in her way was the expectation that roses had to be treated in one particular manner. Over the years she’s been given all sorts of instructions for mulching or covering in the winter, fertilizing and fungicide spraying…many perfectly reasonable approaches, I’m sure, but they were, for whatever reason, beyond her.
“Plant them as annuals,” I advised. “Stick in three or more new plants every year…usually new plants make it through one season without black spot, so why worry about sprays or winter protection?” Some might think this wasteful, and be reluctant to dig up a live plant, but she was thrilled with this suggestion.
How frequently do we turn away from something new because “that’s not how it’s done”? What solutions do we overlook because experts advise other approaches? If plan A and B don’t work, do we need to try C and D, or can we skip right to R?