My ancient old Le Vesuve is blooming again!
Another update for those of you who have been following the saga of my 90+ yr old Le Vesuve. From being a glorious amazing flower factory that was 8 ft high and 15 ft wide it suddenly declined, and was dying from the tips of its branches. I figured that since it was 90-100 yrs old it had probably come to the end of its lifespan.
However, always optimistic, last Fall my DH and I got in there and tried to prune away the dead branches (sort of like trying to prune spaghetti - the branches all went around in circles and were all laced together). Three days and many scratches later, we had discovered that 1 of the 2 main branches off the trunk, as well as a completely separate trunk nearby that seemed to be an old tip rooting, were completely dead, which took out 2/3rds of the bush. We cut out the dead parts of the remaining 1/3, but didn't have the heart to actually hard prune or shape it - we just left any branch that had signs of life.
So, of course this Spring little sprouts appeared at the ends of most of the old branches! I am happy to say that some sprouts also appeared maybe 10 inches up from the base of the old trunk. One ancient, crusty, 2 inch in diameter long long branch that was running horizontally actually started sprouting every 10 inches all along its 7 ft length (of course the deer immediately munched all of the sprouts, but I sprayed them with deer go away stuff, and they seem to be recovering). So, now it looks so funny - all of the old branches have little pom poms a the end of them - of beautiful blooms! They are really huge and gorgeous - I think I have inadvertently "pruned for fewer and larger flowers" as they tell you to do with HTs!
I figure I will leave it alone to grow and get some leaves going, and then prune it again next Fall - cutting back the long scraggly branches, and trying to encourage the growth that is closer to the ground. I does appear that it is no longer dying - roses really are amazing!