Monday, December 31, 2007
Taming a monster
I'm always reading about gardeners who will not hesitate to get rid of a plant that they don't like or one that is just not performing like it should. I really admire this trait because it is one that I do not possess. It takes an act of Congress for me to give a plant the heave-ho, especially one that is perfectly healthy.
Case in point - the rambling rose, aptly named "Rambling Rector." I guess I've had this rose for about 10 tens years and every year I keep telling myself that it must go! It is a disease-free rose, very easy to grow but it has two drawbacks. The first one is that it is a once-bloomer, meaning that it blooms in the spring for a week or so and that's it. The second and most important deterrent is that it is a monster! The pergola that it adorns is a rather large one - about 20 feet in length - and this rose has rapidly devoured every inch of real estate. You can hardly see the other roses that share it.
This is what it looks like in the spring - glorious blooms, yes - but a tad overwhelming, wouldn't you say?
So, I've finally bit the bullet and for the past weeks, I've been pruning this sucker down. It is not an easy job. The thorns are vicious and it is practically impossible to get access to some of the canes on top of pergola. Today was mild so I was outside working on it again. I took the top photo that shows about 40% of it removed.
Now, my next quandary is whether or not to replace it with another rose or just try to keep it in check. I already know the answer to this and I should just stop kidding myself. Rambling roses are not meant to be pruned in this manner. This rose needs a huge tree to scamper up or a nice pasture or large expanse of lawn to show off in. I will of course try to save it so maybe I will replant it at my mother's house out in the country where space is not an issue.