Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let them Eat Cake.

Yeah, sure.

Now I know why Marie Antoinette loved her rose garden so much.

She didn’t have to work in it herself. If she did she would have probably taken a shovel to it and dug the whole sadistic thing up.

From Loropetalum chinese

Yesterday I almost finished the yearly BIG PRUNE at an estate garden .

Despite wearing heavy duty long armed gloves I still received plenty of wounds, one which I may actually have to go see the Doctor for if it doesn’t heal within the next day or so.

The only redeeming quality of a rose garden from my perspective is that as a horticulturist I get paid for maintaining it.

From Loropetalum chinese

That’s about the most positive thing I can say about it.

From California Gardening

Growing an estate quality rose garden is a shit load of work.

After the BIG PRUNE I will be applying 3 sessions of dormant spraying over the next 3 months of dormancy. This is done to curtail ( but it certainly doesn’t stop ) the uninvited dreaded black spot, rust and mildew that will taunt the professional gardener all summer


From portfolioMay08.jpg

In late February I will start applying the well aged compost and mulch around the roses.

This usually takes me about 2 eight hour days to complete.

From California Gardening

In late March the buds will be swollen and the aphids will arrive in thick droves.

I don’t use inorganic pesticides so I will have to spend a series of days hand stripping and water spraying off the aphids and in worse case scenarios will apply Safers soap to the buds.

From California Gardening

Then from April to November I will cut bouquets and strip off the thorns for the estate and dead head the rose shrubs every week and do battle with black spot, rust and if the weather is cool and moist, we’ll have mildew to fight with.

The drip irrigation system will require constant fiddling with as well just to get the right amount of water to the root system in conjunction with the type of weather that we are having.

From California Gardening

Compost teas will be concocted and applied as well as baking soda remedies.

If a leaf is found to have black spot or rust it must be stripped before entering into the house. Gawd help us if there is a spotted leaf !

From portfolioMay08.jpg

A rose garden has one redeeming quality from my point of perspective : Job $ecurity.


vignette design said...

I remember growing up and having to do all that work because my mom had the most wonderful rose garden. Which needed to be pruned, sprayed, etc..
The dreaded black spot, the dreaded rust and mildew. You brought it all back for me. These days, I have only Iceberg roses and I don't give a crap about them. They somehow manage to look incredible anyway. Oh and also my Cecile Brunners.....

Andrew said...

I wish there could be a "Like" button for this post, a la Facebook. It made me smile. Knowingly. Thanks for it.

Christine said...

I second Andrew. Roses were just never meant to grow in the Bay Area. Good for you and your job $ecurity, though Michelle. Good luck with getting the thorns out of your arms! That was me a month ago- looked like I barely survived a cat fight.

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Before you invest time and energy applying compost tea, I suggest you read read Linda Chalker-Scott's book, "The Informed Gardener Blooms Again". Between pages 190 and 194, there are several scientifically-corroborated reasons why you should not be using compost tea.
If you are unable to get hold of a copy of this book, please e-mail me and I will be happy to send you you the information

danger garden said...

OMG, I have never been a fan of Roses and this (wonderful) post confirms that I'm right. What a nightmare. Good luck with your injuries!

Anonymous said...

Those roses are sensational. As one gardener to another I say that makes up for all the hard work.

In any case gardening was never easy! And Marie Antoinette got her come-uppance!

Best Wishes
Robert Webber
The Hegarty Webber Partnership

Lisa said...

I remember those days fighting off rust, mildew, and black spot in Oakland. Now I live in Portland and growing roses has never been easier. I bought a handful of old roses grown on their own rootstock and I do absolutely nothing to them except pick off aphids by hand in the spring (which gives me some satisfaction). The SF Bay area just wasn't meant for roses.

Phrago said...

Hey, I used to have a rose garden, complete with all the sprays, dusts, fertilizers, stakes and burlap (never did like rose cones) to wrap them up with in the Winter (half of the year in Michigan!). Then I moved to a new house and somehow the roses got left behind. The only garden plants I like less than roses are Barbaries, which have only one good purpuse, keeping neigborhood children out of the garden. But there is justice for all the scars suffered from rose care. Roses, when left unprotected during the Winter (a hint to those suffering with roses to please a spouse), can become the dining pleasure of da furry wabbit! I don't know how they do it but they will eat roses to the ground. Such a comforting thought, isn't it... Patrick

Christopher C. NC said...

It was the rose pruning job that hooked me up with four new clients last year. She saw me at Client #1's last month and asked me if I would prune her roses again this spring. How could I say no?

gonativegal said...

Michelle, beautiful work!

Being on the fine gardening maintenance as well I feel your pain as taking care of roses for clients has completely ruined the experience for me. There are a few that I personally like (the mini climber Jeanne LaJoie being one of them for it's easy care attitude and lack of super scary thorns) But overall, just looking at a beautiful rosebud holds no joy for me after having to don heavy leather gloves and thick flannel shirts even on hot days to prune dozens of them each year. I won't even get into the pain of having to hand pull out the leaves during spring cleanup from the crowns that the leaf blower refuses to budge.

Fortunately, Chicago kills or cripples most roses even with proper care - our soil is too heavy, we have unreliable snow cover during the winter and sometimes with freezing rains during Dec/Jan & Feb the soil can freeze down as much as a foot even with proper mulching which is a rose killer in all but the most hardy.

It's like a high maintenance boyfriend/girlfriend they are nice to look at for a spell but you wouldn't want to marry one!

But as you well put it "it's job security."

gonativegal said...

Beautiful work Michelle!

From a fine gardening maintenance standpoint I understand your pain. Taking care of several dozen roses for clients each year has almost ruined the experience for me. There's a small handful that I enjoy such as the climbing mini 'Jeanne LaJoie' for easy care maintenance and lack of super scary thorns.

But I hate pruning them and I hate having to crawl in between them to pull out the leaves from the crowns that the blower won't budge.

Fortunately, Chicago kills or cripples all but the hardiest of roses even with proper care. Our soil is too heavy, we have unreliable deep snow cover and freezing rains during the winter which oftentimes can freeze almost a foot down even with mulch.

To me they're like a high maintenance boyfriend/girlfried, they're nice to look at for awile but you wouldn't want to marry one!

MulchMaid said...

I have a "legacy" planting of roses here when we bought the house. I would never have put them in, but I enjoy the ones that look good without any work from me except feeding them. I won't spray them, so if they are too delicate or weak, out they come!
I've added herbs to help them fight off pests, but that's the sum total of what I'm prepared to do. In about ten years, there may be none left, and I'll have a wonderful herb and drought-tolerant parking strip!
I hope medical intervention isn't needed for your wounds!