I mentioned recently on the Oklahoma Women Bloggers blog that ‘Cl. Old Blush’ had Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). I don’t mean to harp on this subject, but gardening isn’t always just sunshine and bluebirds. I wish it were, but that would be heaven, not planet Earth.
Since my son was here this morning, I decided it was time to tackle ‘Cl. Old Blush’ and the other rose I’d seen with RRV. I knew it would be hard to pull this climber down, so I started out early this morning with our DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw to get it down to size. Brennan came out later and dug out the roots. His part along took an hour an a half and much of his nineteen-year-old strength.
I thought I’d become philosophical about the demise of roses in my garden, but I’m afraid this one got to me. I pulled the canes off of the arbor yanking with everything I had. Claire took pictures.
Then, when she walked back indoors, I began to cry. I know it’s ridiculous to cry over a plant, but this was the first rose I ever planted in this garden. I started with two ‘Cl. Old Blush’ and two ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ roses over twenty years ago, twenty-five I think. It’s been an anchor since the back garden began, and I loved it. ‘Cl. Old Blush’ was the first and last rose to bloom each year, and it was never any trouble. It never needed spraying. It was a beauty year after year.
Now, it’s no longer part of the garden. It makes me sad even as I write this.
After we dragged all of the canes down into the lower pasture to be burned, I couldn’t help but think I’m going to lose every rose I have. This was before I found three more roses with the disease in my upper rose garden today. My sweet son dug out every one of them, and he never complained although roses are such a pain. I didn’t cry in front of him, but he knew I was sad. He even said maybe I should just dig up all the ones in that bed and start over.
Maybe I will.
I was going to go against my better judgement and move ‘Peggy Martin’ into the spot where ‘Cl. Old Blush’ was. RRV doesn’t infect the soil, just the roots of the plant. However, the roots were so extensive on the old rose that we couldn’t remove all of them. I don’t know what I’ll put on the arbor instead. I don’t want another Wisteria frutescens, American wisteria. I have two where other climbing roses once grew. I have also used American honeysuckle on another arbor. I’m fresh out of ideas. Before you suggest it, I don’t like autumn clematis. It stinks, and takes over here. I’m constantly digging it out. Right now, it’s taken over ‘The Fairy’ rose. By the way, I saw some suspicious rose foliage on ‘The Fairy.’ Like Scarlett O’Hara, I’m not going to think about that today.
By the way, Brennan wants me to tell all my gardening friends that if they have pretty daughters, he is available for rose removal anytime. With the way RRV is rampaging throughout Oklahoma, we may need to take him up on it.