How Not To Start Your Spring Vacation or "Am I Dead Yet?"

I was off work Friday for Good Friday and I'm off this entire week for Spring Break. I'm hoping to get some major gardening chores accomplished and I decided that the first order of business would be to clear out the Rambling Rector rose on my pergola that I wrote about a while back. Well, after wrestling with RR all day Friday, recuperating on Saturday, and finishing up today, I can say that the deed is done but I'm telling you it was a fight to the finish. Lord, this is one vicious rose - I swear it had it in for me! I had already cut the rose back a few months ago so the major clean-up involved getting the long prickly canes off the top of the pergola. Since I couldn't stand on top of the pergola, all I could do was work from a ladder or stand beneath it and reach up with lopers. I did both and it was a long and tedious job.

I don't know what was more pleasurable - having my body pinned against the ladder by swinging canes with death hooks digging into my back and then trying to disentangle myself or pulling down a portion of canes and actually breaking a prong off the pergola. No wait, the worst part was actually dragging the canes out to the street. This is a rather long route with narrow passageways, steps, etc. Like I said, the canes were alive and out to get me. They kept snagging on my jeans, other plants, my skin! I thought about posting a photo of my scarred arms but I don't want to gross out any readers. The Leona Lewis song "Bleeding Love" was playing in my head all day. I was bleeding all right but it wasn't love.

Friday night I could barely move. I soaked in an Epson Salt bath for about an hour and loaded up on Ibuprofin before crashing.

This is what is left of the vicious bugger -

You can see he has already leafed out and is ready for some more action. I'm going to find him a new home (in someone else's garden).

Now, I have a huge blank section at the corner of my pergola. (You can see the piece that broke off lying on the ground). I have learned my lesson and I will never plant another rambler without researching it fully. The rose Reve D'Or, which you can see in the photo, is going to be so much happier now. I haven't decided which rose I'll plant in the place of RR and I might even decide to plant the crossvine that I have wanted for so long. Pam, over at Digging, keeps tempting me with her photos of it. I'm not sure how it would work among roses - any suggestions?


  1. Interesting--so would you advocate building pergolas sturdy enough to stand on for maintenance work if necessary?

    I'll bet that Epsom salt bath felt gooood. I had shingles a couple years ago and I took Epsom + oatmeal (Aveeno) baths a few times a day. Saved me from committing suicide.

  2. Chuck, the pergola is sturdy enough to stand on. The problem is that the slats are very narrow and you would have to be extremely careful or you would fall through. Another reason are the thorns from the roses. Not fun!

  3. I,also, have the same vacation schedule as you and have been able to work in the garden doing those things that always gets put off until later. Epsom salt baths are wonderful after a day in the garden working. As to what to put on the pergola, I think I would seriously consider something without thorns. From your description of the "House of Horrors" procedure you endured in taking out that rose, I would not want to ever have to repeat it.
    Jan Always Growing

  4. Phillip,

    Just last week I thought I might ask a friend with a truck to pull out a rose that has gotten way bigger than I imagine and with its girth has come mean canes. Vicious canes, that I spent an hour slowly chopping of in small pieces! So what shall replace yours?

    Please forgive me but in a fit of blogger fun I have tagged you; goodness first the rose then the chainmail questionaire. See my latest post for details.


  5. Ouch! I sympathize, Phillip, but at least it's done and going to be moved. I can't comment on the vine Pam likes because it isn't something I have here. But I'm sure others will have thoughts on that.

  6. The 'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine is well behaved for me, Phillip. It blooms before my roses, so it might be a great vine to plant there, giving you color until your roses take over.

  7. What a battle! I think the crossvine would lokk good with a rose. I have moonflower and sweet pea planted with my climbing rose. But the crossvine is evergreen I believe so I would add some good foliage as well as bloom color when it is blooming.


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