I had begun to despair that I could never have healthy roses in this garden. I even yanked a few, an unusual action to be sure since I usually must travel a good distance to find them, pay for them, and then go through the trouble of planting them. Two convictions fed my decision. One was an old one that is particularly applicable to small gardens: if it doesn’t work, get rid of it. There are plenty of plants that will! The other concerns a long-held commitment to native plants and wildlife. I just love roses so much that I've always exempted them, especially since they aren’t invasive and I usually have plenty of natives around. But at some recent gardening lecture I attended, the speaker mentioned that non-natives are no better than plastic plants. That’s a little harsh, but the combination of looking pitiful and not even growing well enough to provide a decent habitat encouraged me to pull them. Some roses had even died before I could pull them. Those, I had ordered but from a reliable source, so there’s no telling what went wrong. I’ve raised roses a long time. Antiques don’t insist on splendid soil, but of course they like it well enough. All of the roses in our garden enjoy rich soil, lots of sun, and sufficient water. Anyway, I felt rather guilty for pulling those few, but they’ve been replaced by useful natives. As for the roses that made the cut, they are showing off brilliantly and it’s only the first day of Spring!
Wishing all a beautiful, fragrant Spring!
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes and even then, it’s often not necessary to engage. As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.