Roses Can Be Very Cunning

ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)August 12, 2014

I mentioned somewhere along the line that I was thinking of getting rid of William R. Smith because for the last two drought years it had done almost nothing except guzzle water and refuse to bloom or even look presentable. Since it was going anyway I cut away a lot of the ugly old leaves and used them as mulch under other roses and in the process shortened some of its branches. I also gave it only cursory water, not wanting to waste any on this loser.

So what does Bill do? He sends out a bunch of new shoots and leaves all over his miserably thick branches (it would have been quite a job to dig up his tree-like trunk). Scalped and chopped down, deprived of water and this is the result? I no longer understand roses, maybe I never have, and I don't think I ever will. I don't know what the final outcome will be, but if he continues with this outrageous behavior he's obviously going to stay. Can plants think and read our minds? Beginning to wonder.......

Ingrid

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vmr423

Ingrid, have you seen that 'Nature' documentary on PBS called "What Plants Talk About"? It's pretty amazing.

How long have you had Old Bill? Maybe he was just getting ready to shape up anyway, but it's quite possible that the 'ship out' alternative was somehow a known factor? Who knows- maybe he is lurking on this forum? Very cunning, indeed...

Virginia

Here is a link that might be useful: 'What Plants Talk About' on PBS' Nature

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:00PM
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mauvegirl8(Texas)

The documentary is fascinating.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:12PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I've heard plenty of stories about roses that were threatened with the shovel who suddenly put on a spectacular show, lol. Obviously Bill took your threat serious!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:54PM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Ingrid, my wife and I have the regular "march or die" conversation with our under performing plants, roses included.

Some plants can be quite surprising and some well, they get kicked out. Though I normally put them in the back alley, in case a neighbour would like to have a free under-performing plant, which they do :-)

Bob

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:23PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

William was so cunning that until I was out just a little bit earlier I wasn't aware that there were three flowers on the other side of the bush, hanging out over the edge of the hill. I cut them and brought them inside, and they're exquisite, although much smaller than usual. It's dark now but I'll try to take a picture tomorrow.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I've been told "If you want something to grow, prune it" Once my Susan Louise was a very awkward plant. It was broken in half by snow and grew back wonderfully. When a rose looks entirely hopeless I try cutting it to the ground at pruning time. More often than not beautiful new canes result. Lately I've taken to doing a light pruning after a flush of bloom, which encourages new growth and more blooms. Otherwise I'm not a heavy pruner at all, but sometimes it's just the thing.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:32AM
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prickles(Los Angeles, CA)

St. Cecilia responses to threat. I went outside with pruner in hand and was going to cut her down yesterday, but then, to my surprise, she seemed to have shaped up, i saw her with three perfect blooms and a few more buds. How delightful was that! She even appeared to have cleared up her flaws of mildew and rust, nearly no rust! Now I have to rethink of possibly relocating her to a sunnier spot, but Mr shovel is ever ready to dig her up!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:44PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

mendocino rose, I think you're right. In addition to my beautiful and prolific SdlM in front of the house I have another one in the back, in an admittedly bad spot. I decided one short flush of bloom and then nothing wasn't worth the water I was giving it. I cut it way down in preparation to my husband digging it up and then forgot about it for perhaps two weeks. The next time I looked it had a bushel of beautiful new leaves on it and not long after that, buds! I've never seen a rose clean up its act so quickly. It gets a second chance now and we shall see.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:32PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I promised to take pictures of William R. Smith's flowers which I took inside. They were even lovelier last night but I prefer daylight for rose portraits.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:27AM
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jaspermplants

Ingrid, those are so beautiful. There is just nothing like a tea rose.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:53AM
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muscovyduckling(Melbourne, Australia)

Ingrid, I blame you (and Jackie) for my newfound obsession with teas. And those local Tea Ladies didn't help the situation one bit.

Gee, he's a stunner!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:08AM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Lovely rose Ingrid. good you had the talk with it!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:46AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

What a beauty. I'm glad you gave it another chance.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:35AM
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vmr423

Beautiful flowers, Ingrid. If I had more sun, I would be planning a Tea garden for sure.

Hmmm... ARE there any shade-tolerant Teas?

Thanks for the eye-candy,
Virginia

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:41PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Thank you all for the complements. When it was flourishing, this rose was one of my favorites because of its large silvery pink, gorgeous blooms and I'm so glad that it somehow revived enough to convince me to save it. It would have been such a loss since it's a mature rose.

Virginia, I would say that in a warm enough climate almost any tea or China can stand some shade, preferably morning sun and afternoon shade. My Mutabilis in the winter gets only a few hours of morning sun and the rest of the year not much past noon but still does very well. I would try one or a few before you decide that they won't grow in your garden. I don't know which are the best to recommend but that might be a question for you to ask here.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:32PM
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vmr423

Thanks, Ingrid- I have a young 'Mutabilis' that I rooted from a cutting earlier this summer- I am very much looking forward to having its "butterflies" in the yard. It's good to know that it can handle some shade, since most of the yard is bright shade.

I was curious about how old your rose was- perhaps he just needed to lose some old growth that he couldn't continue to support under your stricter watering regime? Hard to say, but I'm glad he gets to stay and provide you with more of those lovely blooms.

Enjoy!
Virginia

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:23PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

This is when it would be nice to have a "LIKE" button!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:58PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Virginia, William is 4 1/2 years old. I'm beginning to discover that tea roses close to that age do respond to trimming in a positive way. I also had the same experience with the China, Mutabilis. Light pruning seems to wake them up in some fashion, even William, who had not been given his regular dose of water. He was mulched, however. I've had the same experience with Le Vesuve, Mrs. Dudley Cross and Miss Atwood. Some people feel that teas should barely be touched, but at least in my climate and in my garden that has not been the case.

Jeri, I'm very glad you LIKE! I'm learning that before giving up on roses one can try several things such as moving them or cutting them back and removing old, tired leaves. After all, one has nothing to lose with a rose that may be facing shovel pruning!

Ingrid

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:31PM
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