Demolition by neglect doesn’t always work

There are quite a number of plants I’ve let die on purpose, but neglecting plants doesn’t quite have the same effect as neglecting buildings. Those you can count on to fall to bits if you don’t maintain them. Plants will thrive in spite of you.

I’ve lamented and dissected my love/hate affair with roses over and over here—but it is June, it is rose season, and after I’m done you won’t be hearing it for eleven months. It’s just that I am never sure what they’re going to do from year to year. Will they die back too far over the winter? Will they get mildew or blackspot? Will they be attacked by the dreaded midge or maybe Jap beetles?

Now here are two roses that I’ve rung the death knell over several times. The red climber at top died back to the ground a few years back. I never thought I’d see it again and didn’t much care. Here’s my chance to reinvent this bed—without roses—I thought. I ignored it, assuming it could be pulled out once it was completely dead. But now look at it.

And then there’s this yellow David Austin (Charlotte). It was so weak and spindly for years that I’ve nearly torn it out several times. After four years it sent out one bloom. Now it seems to have decided to thrive, but I’d still like to move it, as it blocks some plants behind it. But I’m afraid to.

I feed these roses once a year, and that’s it. But there they are. Who knows what next year will bring.


Not knowin what will happen from year to year is one of the joys of gardening. Your roses look quite happy that you neglected them.
You give me hope that my own ambivalent rose care habits won't kill my one rose--the climber Joseph's Coat.

Popular Posts