Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Madame, may I present Mr. Shovel

On Sunday deciding to remove roses was surprisingly easy - possibly from some quirk of mood or attitude. I had sunk the shovel next to 'Madame Scipion Cochet', a Hybrid Perpetual from 1872, in preparation for digging up her nearly leafless body. HP's usually aren't very black spot resistant, and though not horrible she could probably benefit from fungicide spraying - which I don't do.
She had a few leaves but only at the ends of her canes. I could put another more deserving plant in this spot. Perhaps it was time for the grand experiment to end. Perhaps Hybrid Perpetuals really aren't meant for my no-spray Florida garden. She looks decidedly unhappy. Do you see a rose in this photo? Neither did I.
Then I noticed several flower buds - six to be exact, and then I noticed absolutely no evidence of alfalfa around her. I wondered, "Did I pass her by when I was doling out the pellets?" I couldn't remember feeding her, but I can't remember a lot of things the day after I do them. Maybe I didn't feed her a few weeks ago with the other roses, and that's why she looks so pathetic. I was really giving her the benefit of the doubt because all evidence of alfalfa is gone everywhere in the garden.
Hmmm, with six flower buds she's definitely trying hard. OK, decision to shovel-prune rescinded. I gave her a bunch of alfalfa pellets (again, I think), nipped the ends of some of her non-producing canes and gave her a reprieve.
However, I left Mr. Shovel behind to remind her how serious I am and how easy she can be compost.

P.S. See the lemonade I made out of lemons? My birdbath column got broken quite a while back, and I haven't had the heart to throw it away. Well, I took a new look at it on Sunday and decided to stick it in the ground broken end down - in other words, upside down. Not too bad, ya think? Now I need to buy another glass ball for the other pedestal.


  1. Your Madam Scipion Cochet looks as if she left her clothes somewhere else :). You know, if you really love the blooms, I would grow some bushy perennial right behind it. My Angel Face has pretty bad foliage problems, but there is a big 4' tall penstemon that grew all around and into it, and all I see is a nice bushy mound of penstemon with a few rose bloom sticking out of it here and there.

    That upside down birdbath looks great! You have a real designer talent.

  2. I have some roses too, candidates for the same thing, like your Mr. Shovel. Sad, but sometimes, better for the garden, and for us ...

  3. I don't like taking out Mr. Shovel. I don't usually do it until something has croaked. I LOVE your glass ball and what a neat idea to turn the birdbath base upside down.


  4. It is very difficult to actually dig up anything that shows signs of life. I think you did the right thing and you'll know soon enough. Great idea for the broken bird bath.

  5. A yeah, that shovel would get my attention if I were a plant. I hope she grows as it is hard to give up on a plant. Love your idea with the broken bird bath. I've got a base somewhere in the garage....hmmm, all I need is a pretty colorful glass ball. Thanks!

  6. Just another rose lover looking for any excuse....I should shovel-prune a few myself; starting with Sally Holmes.

  7. I have no trouble digging up an under-performing rose in the garden. I usually wait until right before my garden club's fall plant exchange to do it. Most of my rejects have found new homes in other gardens. The only one I actually pitched was Mme Pierre Oger, and I consider that to be a public service.

    What the Madame probably needs is fertilizer and fungicide. If your garden does not contain these things, perhaps another garden will oblige.