Monday, May 8, 2023

Bouncing back from winter woes and unfair foes

First bloom of 'South Africa'

In 1785 Robbie Burns wrote “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I can attest to the fact that the best laid plans of gardeners can go sideways as well. Very sideways. I thought my roses were safe and sound from winter winds and critters, but alas, I was wrong.


It all started during Christmas week when we had several days of below zero temperatures. I’d covered the roses in pots in my “Driveway Garden”. The roses in my cottage garden all had a nice blanket of leaf mulch around the canes. Everything seemed to make it through the cold pretty well.

By early April I noticed several of the driveway roses had turned brown. The Christmas cold and several late freezes had taken them out. Then I brushed against one of the roses in the main garden and it toppled over. The roots were completely gone.

The same thing happened with two rose trees and six other bushes in the cottage garden.

Bloody Voles.

Vole photo courtesy Britannica
 It was sad and infuriating. I have tried to put two of the roses (‘Emily Bronte’ and ‘Double Red Knockout’) into intensive care in pots. We’ll see if they make it. But in the meantime, I had a lot of roses to replace.

'Emily Bronte' is on life support
 So, I placed orders with Roses Unlimited and Plant Addicts. Three weeks ago, ‘Music Box’, ‘True Gratitude’, ‘Bonica’, ‘Outta the Blue’, South Africa’, ‘Flamenco Rosita’, Caramella Fairy Tale’  and ‘Snowbelt’ arrived.  I already had ‘True Sincerity’, ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Peach Drift’, and ‘Baby Ballerina’ standing by from the driveway pots (all looking very healthy, I might add.)

Hope my 'Flamenco Rosita' is as pretty as the one at the Biltmore
 Before I gave the voles more goodies to chomp, I did a little research. I read that putting a layer of chicken wire at the bottom of the hole should keep the varmints out. Another suggestion was a layer of pea gravel. I decided to do both and yesterday had a gentleman come out and help me plant nine roses with the wire and gravel protection. Everything looks terrific as of this writing.

'Music Box' at the Biltmore
 I feel very confident I have done everything I humanly can to keep my new roses safe and healthy.

 Fingers crossed, my efforts will make vole plans go awry this time.

The polyantha 'Snowbelt' and 'Cat's Pajamas' nepeta






Christopher VanCleave said...

Wonderful post. So glad for another opportunity to begin another season of growth and blooms!

Lynn Hunt said...

Yes Chris, as sad as it all was, I am super excited about starting again with new roses.

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Oh yes, here's hoping the voles and critters will leave the roses alone, and that next winter won't be so cold for you. That's normal for us, but quite cold for you, right? Your roses and photos of roses are always so beautiful!

Sunil Patel said...

Hello Lynn, I get so mad when plants succumb to pests like this. We don't have voles, but have vine weevil and chafer grubs that happily chew right through plant roots just under soil level to the point where you can just lift the top growth out - it just comes away. I hope your chicken wire and gravel will keep them out for good. I'd be putting in double layers!

Anonymous said...

Fingers and toes crossed!! Just loved this newest entry!!

Lynn Hunt said...

Thank you Plant Postings. I sure appreciate your comment about my photos and roses. I'll keep 'em coming!

Lynn Hunt said...

Thank you, Sunil. It has been heartbreaking and maddening. But gardeners must be optimists! Fingers and toes crossed for your Open Garden Day. Can't wait to read how it went.

Lynn Hunt said...

Thank you Anonymous! I'm so delighted you liked the posting. Take care!

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