Let's Hope I Can't Kill Roses Too!

Roses are notoriously difficult to kill, or at least that’s what they tell me. I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!


After feeling bolstered by a guests’ knowledge of the rose garden, a member of the Queensland Rose Society no less, I felt an unbridled sense of longing to “stick it to the roses”. Perhaps I have been barbed too many times whilst working in the garden, perhaps I was giddy with new knowledge, or perhaps I just had blind faith. Whatever the reason, I set off to the local Hardware store to purchase a hand saw and a pair of welding gloves – these would be the new tools of trade. No more going lightly on these babies. If I wanted great blossoming bushes I was to “go hard or go home!”  This mantra played over in my head so frequently, like humming a favourite tune – and it wouldn’t go away.


I began tentatively at first, preferring to follow my gentle heart and prune the long spindly growth with my secateurs. Satisfied with my work, I started painting the branches with my home made white oil – enviro friendly, of course. Not long after I had completed pruning (or so I thought) I was greeted by my knowledgeable guest. We exchanged pleasantries about the cottages and how they would love to return. I spoke of an alternate trip home so they could see the waterfalls. This innocent banter lasted for quite some time, all the while we were standing in front of the roses. As we shook hands I couldn’t help myself “do you think I’ve pruned enough off these rose bushes?” Immediately upon uttering these words I felt as though I knew the answer but I didn’t want to hear it. He had such a disarming smile and gentle disposition, surely he would let me down easily….

”Well, to tell you the truth” he began….”I would consider you gave these bushes a trim, they certainly haven’t been pruned.”


That is how it began. Soon he was making gestures quite low to the ground, and expertly guiding his fingertip along the branches showing the desired slope of the cut and compounding this information with suggestions of the preferred tools of the trade. Oh my! I don’t know if I could. But he seemed so certain and who was I to question? “It looks like they were pruned well once, but they’ve been let go at some stage” and as he looked up at me I smiled and said “we’ve been here for 7 years”. The glint in his eye said it all, I was the culprit. 7 years of neglect. What is worse is that all the while I thought I was doing the right things, but here I was slowly killing them with kindness. A pat on the arm and an invitation to text photos should I need guidance and he was gone. I looked back at my roses. The same plants that not long ago resembled tidy bushes ready for the spring, now they were screaming at me “look at my untidy branches”, “look at the moth eggs”, “look at my spindly unwieldy shape”…. I grabbed the saw.


Welding gloves are absolutely fantastic. They shielded my arms from the unforgiving spikes and allowed me to focus on the job at hand. This time, I felt like a surgeon amputating undesired limbs. It had to be done for the good of the plant “go hard, or go home”...”go hard, or go home”….the song played on in my head and I found myself attacking these plants with renewed vigour – I was helping them be the best rose bushes they can be!


The sun is setting as I glance at the pile of sawn off branches sitting on the heap, I turn to look at my once proud rose bushes, full of thorns, and I see small stumps. Now the voice in my head is screaming “What have I done?” I slowly reach for the white oil mix and tenderly brush it on the small stumps I left behind. “What have I done?” ...my new mantra. I head inside for a glass of wine. I let out a heavy sigh and return to the garden with my goblet of courage. Time will tell. Spring is just around the corner and I will soon know.


As I walk away I can’t help but wonder if roses are really notoriously difficult to kill!! I’ll make sure to post an update in the Spring!


Posted By: Kerrin  11 August 2013 11:16 AM


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