Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gardening, Anyone?

When your rake is rusty and a stray vine is using the handle as a trellis, it's hard to convince anyone that you're a gardener.  I am not a gardener.  Although I have a great appreciation for green growing things, I am more drawn to animal husbandry than to gardening. 

My interest in gardening usually comes in spurts in the spring and fizzles out when the summer heat arrives.  This year I didn't even experience the spring spurt.  The heat has set in now, so the prospects for serious gardening are slim until things cool off in the fall. 

In the relatively cool morning hours this week, I have made a stab at gardening.  In other words, I've been removing dead plants and healthy weeds from pots on the deck - the pots I mentioned in my last post. 

The moss roses have already put out a beautiful yellow bloom.  They are looking very perky this morning after the water I gave them yesterday.  I'm always amazed at what water will do for a plant!  That in itself proves that I'm no gardener.  A true gardener is never surprised at what water can do. 

I resisted the urge to buy very many plants this spring, knowing that my life was too hectic to even pretend to care for them.  I did buy some Blue Daze plants.  I'm a big fan of Blue Daze.  This is no sissy plant!  It bears neglect like a real trooper.  When it doesn't get the miraculous H2O, its little leaves may curl up and wither a bit - but it doesn't throw in the towel and die like so many other plants.  No, indeed!  When it finally gets some water, it bounces right back and doesn't seem to hold a grudge.

It even bounces back after a light freeze in the winter.  Although it's an annual, I've had Blue Daze to come back three years in a row - in spite of me!  Even though we had several hard freezes last winter, one of the three plants in the pots at my front door has reappeared.  I removed the dead bodies from the other two pots and put in the new plants. 

I cut the dead heads off the miniature rose on the deck yesterday morning.  I noticed spider webs and tiny crawly things on the leaves so I squirted it with some insecticide that's supposed to kill all the critters that like to torment roses.  I feel sorry for roses.  It seems to me that while you are in the very act of planting a rose, there are hundreds of insects watching.  As soon as you turn your back, they pounce on the poor defenseless rose bush.

My useful knowledge about roses would fit in a thimble with room left over.  Two or three years ago I decided I'd like to plant a rose that would trail along the picket fence that surrounds our back yard.  I bought a climber called "Don Juan."  The label said it would produce fragrant red roses.  Just what I wanted!  

Jerry planted this rose for me, right where I told him to, by the fence.  I had the vague notion that you have to "train" roses, so I set out to train Don Juan to grow horizontally along the fence.  But Don has proved to be contrary.  I want him to grow horizontally, and he's determinded to grow vertically. 

As usual, the problem is my ignorance.  After doing some after-the-fact research, I see that what I really wanted was a rambling rose, not a climbing rose.  Did you know there's a difference?  I didn't.  According to the rose experts who write articles for gardening websites, it's easy to tell them apart.  A rambler's leaves are in groups of seven while a climber's leaves are in groups of five.  Who knew?

So now - what am I going to do with Don Juan?  Like Jack's beanstalk, Don is determined to reach the sky and is never going to trail along our picket fence.

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