The queens of the garden, the roses for those of you who don’t know, are most unhappy about the ill treatment they received in December, January and February. No offense to Shakespeare, but you might even call it the winter of their discontent. Even with the royal robes of leaf mold and pine bark, they shivered at the unseasonable -17F.
The roses are not amused.
Many of them died all the way back to where the snowfall collected on the ground. A few, like ‘The Fairy’ or ‘Carefree Delight,’ laughed at the cold, but none of the Knockouts® were happy. Most are now only eighteen inches tall. ‘Cl. Pinkie’ is in intensive care, but I did see a bit of new growth about a foot above the ground. She was twenty feet high only last summer. My favorite, ‘Carefree Beauty,’ is fine by the way. I am so glad.
The English roses next to the house are fine, as are some of the Noisettes and Chinas placed on the East side of the house because they are more tender. All were cut back to nearly nothing. One note: the StoryBook Garden roses look splendid. They were placed in a good spot too though.
Oh, and the crapemyrtles, those knights in shining armor, also suffered mightily. Many died all the way back to the ground as in olden days of yore (my childhood). I am still waiting to see if the large ones will remain trees or become shrubs again.
Now, before we all weep in frustration, just remember, if you plant many different types of plants in a garden, give them
good excellent soil, and water them wisely, your garden will be beautiful no matter what the weather.
So, don’t cry for them good people. It’s simply off with their heads (the dead canes) and onward through spring we go. One of the things which makes gardening endlessly interesting is that the results are different every single year.
One more thing, this would have been a disaster if I grew grafted roses because they would have died back below the bud union. Something to keep in mind when you choose your queens this spring.