Pruning the roses is a mindless activity , satisfying with a hint of danger --puncture wounds , torn clothing , hats snatched off and dangling above. I don't mind doing it , after all these years it has become a rite of January , an excuse to go outside . It's a multi -weekend task-there are over 60 here, and the behemoth Reine de Violettes alone takes half a day.
Roses were the first plant I collected , 9 of them in a 3x3 square in my first garden in San Diego. I hovered over them , deadheading , squishing aphids, feeding them with the sort of fertilizers I wouldn't even consider using now. For years my garden strategy revolved around finding ways to squeeze in more of them. I own most of the major rose reference books published in the last 20 years, I've lurked and occasionally posted on countless internet rose forums, listservs and newsgroups (remember listservs and newsgroups?) and briefly joined the American Rose Society.
So , I have these 60 roses. I complain incessantly about the lack of space in my garden. I now collect Salvias, Oreganos, Lilies, Penstemons ..it appears as though I am even a Tuechrium collector. Clearly it's time to let go.
Why do I have Just Joey ? The flowers are beautiful, but the plant looks awkward and spindly. Celebration? Don't know why I bought it in the first place. Paul Bocuse? Clashes with everything. Dug up the pathetic Amber Queen in fall. Ditto French Lace . Hardest to part with is Frederic Mistral. Exquisite blossoms of silvery pink, fragrant , great cut flower , vigorous, great rebloom. Regrettably looked like hell for 11 out of 12 months of the year.
Frederic in October .
Corpus delecti this afternoon.
Yves Piaget needs to go too. Binge purge.
Mystery plant in the backyard
2 hours ago