Goodbye English Rose

By Bonnie Grant | June 19, 2022
Image by pcturner71
by Bonnie Grant
June 19, 2022

I absolutely love a bouquet of roses for any occasion. Their scent, beautiful aspect, and their uniqueness make them a wonderful gift. But I hate roses in my landscape. I have never planted a rose bush, but I have purchased homes with garden roses. Garden roses require deadheading, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and special attention to prevent pests and disease. They are simply too time consuming, and I eradicate them quite quickly with neglect. 

Rose Care

Our recent home purchase came with a whopping 21 rose bushes. Obviously, the previous owner loved her roses. I, however, find them a pain in the neck. One of the first things I did was put a notice up at our local bulletin board advertising free roses- you dig. I found a customer immediately in a new neighbor but she needed help getting them out. She took around 15 roses but didn’t want the climbers or the white ones. 

The remaining garden roses weren’t neglected initially. Rose care is a constant chore. I gave them a systemic treatment to fend off bugs, etc. I pruned them in late February. I gave them food and adequate water. They bloomed but I failed to dead head so that was it. Pests and roses are a classic combination. The plants also got notched, chewed up leaves and an intense aphid infestation. I sifted flour over the aphids, but did little else to help the plants. My rose care was definitely not super awesome. 

This year, year 2, I did prune them. But, I didn’t do anything else to them. I mean, I hate to kill a plant but I have an acre and a disabled mate. I have far too much to do and many wanted plants to tend. We had a big heat cycle in June that finally did it for a couple of roses, so I removed the carcasses. Some are hanging in there, much to my annoyance. Same icky dead flowers and shredded leaves. I am quite frankly surprised they are still around. 

I’m sure with just a bit of work I could bring the remaining roses back into the pink of health. But as I mentioned, I don’t have time to mess around with finicky plants. More important are keeping pests off my fruit trees, consistently removing the Goat’s Head weed and keeping a working watering system. Then there is all the food to process and the grass to mow and edge. Other things, like painting the trim have to be finished. So you see, roses are down at the bottom of my list. 

Pests and roses, disease and roses, deadheading and roses. It’s a cycle I don’t care to repeat. So forgive me if I dig out the remaining hangers-on. Their death will allow other more necessary and enjoyable plants to live a long and fruitful life.

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