Poetry and Gardening

Musings from the days of a creative writer/gardener with a true appreciation for nature, meditation, and poetry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Frustrations: Black Spot and Shade

For the past few days, I've watched the healthy climbing rose that has bloomed a deep, hearty red for the first time in the four years since I've lived at the house become a yellow mess.  The leaves are all falling off, littering my front porch and spreading their spores all over the ground.  It's Black Spot, and I'm tired of dealing with it, especially since it seems to happen overnight!  Now, I know I'll lose this climber, and it's probably going to spread to the bush next to it (which has hot pink blooms that aren't as tight as I would like a rose to be and when they bloom, they instantly fall off), and to the others in the garden (I have a Tropical Sunset bush that is currently in bloom, and around the corner, a Peace rose, then an antique bush that's deep red -- almost black -- and the most pungent of all of them).  Nothing I do that's organic helps Black Spot.  I've tried the dish detergent/baking soda mixture, as well as several others, but they don't help.  The only thing that has worked in the past is a very strong chemical that I bought at the rose center nearby, but it was pretty expensive ($60, if memory serves me correctly). 

This is one of the heartbreaks of growing roses.

Perhaps if I pulled all the bushes out and created a more open-air type of rose garden, it would take care of some of my issues, but I really like the climbers, and obviously, they have to have somewhere to climb.  I'm going to visit Witherspoon Rose Culture, a nursery that handles nothing but roses and is a wealth of information, as soon as I can, but in the meantime, I think I'm going to have to cut them all back, which breaks my heart.

The other frustration I'm having lately is dealing with my backyard gardens.  I worked on rebuilding the soil last year so that I could start a "cottage garden" on the sunny edge of my natural area.  I've planted some bulbs, put in more than thirty packages of seeds (another ten packages this past weekend), and have nursed it along, but it's drier than the moon out there and just as cracked.  I'm going to have to put in just plants/flowers that will deal with dry shade.

If there's anyone out there who could offer advice, I'm open to suggestions!

Today's poems is not about the frustrations with roses, but rather about why we grow them to begin with . . .

Roses by George Eliot


You love the roses - so do I. I wish

The sky would rain down roses, as they rain

From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?

Then all the valley would be pink and white

And soft to tread on. They would fall as light

As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be

Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!