Thursday, May 22, 2014

The End of the Affair

Geoffrey Chaucer is a jerk. When he coined the phrase "All good things must come to an end", he must have either had a sadistic streak that enjoyed misery or been mostly morose and resigned to rottenness and despair. Either way, one of my favorite roses ended up in the trash and it's all his fault.


I've finally found the culprit behind the black spot pandemic in my roses. I should be happy, elated, and all those other joyful synonyms but I'm not. I'm just frustrated. Graham Thomas was supposed to be perfect: handsome, charming, and full of stamina. I swooned over his vigorous, full blossoms and admired his glossy foliage. 


Graham Thomas was my own personal Superman.


I thought we'd be together forever. 


But my expectations were just too high. Prone to black spot and too weak to fight his enemy, he gave in, took off his cape and slowly defoliated. Naked was not his best look and I began to avert my eyes. Organic fungicides and sprays were applied, his fragile ego stroked, and a long winters rest given to recover.


But old habits die hard and as soon as his new foliage burst with vigor from thick stems, black spots began to appear. I had hoped the Rose Rescue Plan would save Graham, but it just wasn't so. There were no sad love songs or weepy poems in this break up, just a shovel up his ass and a toss to the curb. When I'm done, I'm done. Adios!


But I miss him. Not the spotty, scrawny stick languishing against my fence but the handsome, sturdy Graham I fell in love with. If Chaucer hadn't fashioned that stupid quote, we might still be together.


After heaving him to the trash, I had only one true option: I needed to go shopping. Retail garden therapy with my best gals and a glass of wine were in order. My dogs and I headed for the home office, slammed the door, and bought some plants. No one dared intervene.

I needed more of what never lets me down, dresses in spots, or looks pathetic against a fence. I needed clematis, the queen of all climbers.


I purchased Fair Rosamond and Sugar Sweet Lilac
fragrant clematis from Brushwood Nursery.


Fair Rosamond was planted in Graham's empty spot and Sugar Sweet Lilac is mingling nearby with swamp milkweed and phlox. The affair is over and the good thing has ended. Goodbye, Mr Thomas!

61 comments:

  1. Tossed him to the curb...poor guy, but hey, what the heck. I always thought that they were supposed to be one of the hardiest, and the toughest. But not to be. Well, you know what they say, there are always more fish in the ocean.

    Jen

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  2. Love it! I too am nursing a broken heart; my Zephirine Drouhin met the same fate last year. Still not over him!


    S
    xo

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    1. I fell for his good looks but what really counts - a fabulous personality - ended up being a bust. Oh well! Moving on... :o)

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  3. HA!!!! Shovel up the ass! You have no idea how badly I needed to read this post tonight! Brilliant and good bye to mr. black spot. Your replacements sound just right! Happy gardening pal! You rock! Nicole xo

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    1. He was sacrificed to keep everyone else happy. Life in the garden can get rough!

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  4. Glad you solved the mystery, but sad to say goodbye. He was a beauty, but it sounds like you handled the situation the best way possible. So long to that nasty black spot!

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    1. The spots appeared as soon as the leaves did. He was rotten to the core and I'm better off without him. But damn, he was a looker! ;o)

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  5. LOL, you did the right thing. Brushwood is a great online Clematis nursery. I bought a handful from them last year, and they are all thriving. And we know that can't possibly be because I'm such a great gardener.

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    1. They are one of my favorite places to buy vines. I just love them!

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  6. Replies
    1. Being mad at him for letting me down made it easier to dump him.

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  7. Black spot.... oh no... But the clrmatis look so stunning, great for climbing I think.

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    1. They are stunning and will climb up anything that offers support. :o)

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  8. So sorry to hear about Mr. Thomas.....I think the clematis was a good choice for his replacement....good for you for moving on.

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    Replies
    1. Broken hearts will mend. A replacement always helps. :o)

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  9. Breaking up is hard to do, but a little retail therapy and a glass of wine always help. The new clematis look very promising.

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    1. I'd never heard of fragrant clematis so I had to give them a try. I just hope they're not one of those plants that are only fragrant when you've sniffed so hard you've sucked half the flower up your nose.

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  10. Breaking up is hard to do. I hate it when I lose a rose. Makes me fell like a loser. (Ha! I should have read Jennifer's post first, but we are both right). Love the clematis.

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    1. It happens to every one. :o) I could have kept him but he was bad news. Better to just start over. :o)

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  11. Oh no! I have a Graham Thomas climbing rose, I hope it doesn't succumb to the same fate. I'm currently keeping a good eye on the roses while they're in their temporary accommodation (buckets). It is a lovely flower and I know you've gone for replacements, but if you ever did think about getting another similar rose, then I'd recommend "Teasing Georgia", the flower form is simply perfect and the perfume on a warm day is divine. It's pretty vigorous too once it gets going.

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    1. Maybe your Graham is made of sturdier stuff than mine. My Graham was amazing for the first two years and I was deeply in love. Sigh.... I've heard good things about Teasing Georgia but wonder how she'll hold up in our heat/humidity. Off to do some research. :o)

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  12. Oh, that's a tough one to lose a favorite rose. It was for the best since the clematis are more likely to stay true in the long run.

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    1. I have yet to be let down by clematis. I even pulled one out of the ground once when I got mad it and it still grew to make sure I felt guilty, which I did.

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  13. I hope the clematis soon climb high enough to cover your broken heart ;-)

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  14. Maybe Mr. Thomas has a distant cousin who has got what it takes?

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    1. I can only hope! He wasn't too far from my William Shakespeare and I wanted to make sure that didn't become infected, too. There's a lot to be said for an arid climate!

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  15. Sharifa Asma and I parted ways many years ago. Definitely a love affair gone wrong. I say D..m you Mr. Austin for making us believe your roses will grow outside of England.

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    1. So true!! My American garden has killed a lot of English plants. I wonder if they have the opposite problem?

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  16. I'm not sure I'm having any more success IN England...

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    1. Oh no! Perhaps if you leave a pint and a plate of tikka masala next to your roses, they'll perk up. :o)

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  17. I lost two Austin roses the same way Tammy. They ended in the fireplace. No more Austin roses, I said. Your new clematises are very nice, love their colors.
    Have a nice day!

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    1. I have a fire pit we use in the summer. If any more of my roses develop black spot again, I may need to threaten them with a match!

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  18. Thx for funny and interesting post, Tammy. Roy Lichtenstein's pictures went well with the theme, and specially so since he used spots as an artistic technique! Enjoy the clematises.

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    1. I always enjoy clematis! I love pop and comic art. It adds just the right punch sometimes. :o)

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  19. It is a good thing you found your culprit and you'll be glad you did later. I do love the Clematis. Finally seeing for sure one didn't come back but the other did and have to pick up one more for that shrub they climb through.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I ripped out a Happy Chappy rose last year in the same spot. I t was growing at the base of Graham. I'm hoping I've finally found the root of the problem. I just don't want to battle black spot again.

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  20. The funeral processions this year have been long - so much loss due to heavy deer predation and the interminable polar winter. Sorry for your loss of the rose. Glad you are finding solace in the entwining arms of clematis.

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    1. Clematis can be comforting, that's for sure. :o) I found another patch of dead-not-dormant plants this morning. Sheesh! But I've already gone shopping to fill the hole! A gardeners gotta do what a gardeners gotta do! :o)

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  21. That's the problem - we have an expectation of how a plant is supposed to look, and when it doesn't, it's tough to come to terms with the reality. I dug up a rose yesterday that has been a blackspot magnet for several years. It takes guts, but in the end, it's worth it. Love the clematises you have chosen. I am going to add more of those to my garden next year (I'm over my garden budget for this year already!)

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    1. My expectations are often way too high. But it took two weeks for me to convince myself the spots were blackspot again, despite the obvious evidence. Denial, denial, denial! As for my budget, I tossed that to the curb along with the rose. :o)

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  22. Awwww, this had me smiling! So sorry though, it's heartbreaking when things go wrong but it happens in all our gardens...my roses are coming out nibbled to within an inch of their lives....infuriating it is. Your new purchases are lovely....long may they reign.xxx

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    1. I had that problem last year, too. The fatter the bunnies grew, the skinnier my garden looked! I'm hoping for a long term relationship with my clematis! I think they'll be keepers.

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  23. Good for you finding shopping therapy options to drown your sorrow. This is the first year I've sworn off ALL chemicals and I'm concerned about blackspot. And here I am in The City of Roses, for Pete's Sake. But this year, I pulled out--heartlessly I might add--some real low achievers and replaced them with 2 Oregold, which should be winners, if by no virtue than name alone. So far so good. They are growing as if they need to keep the cities honor intact. I'll post a pic of my first roses from those new plants. But I get it--hard to lose a favorite rose.

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    1. I'm determined to grow my roses organically and linked the post above to my Rose Rescue Plan. So far, the other roses are quite happy, although small after such drastic pruning. I went organic about 8 years ago and the garden really took off when I did. I also have so much more wildlife that I did before. I use tons of liquid kelp as well as organic fertilizers from Urban Farms when I have a plant (usually in my containers) that need an extra kick. Tons of compost and worm juice help, too. John and Bob's has good stuff, too, if you have a problem area you need to fix. Their liquid clay buster helped break up my pottery clay soil. It' was either that or get a damn kiln!

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    2. Thanks for the recommendation of John and Bob's stuff. I was all organic for everything else, all veggies, everything. Except for the drama queens--they seemed to need to need their chemicals to combat the rain we have. I do love liquid kelp--magic stuff. Anyway, i feel guilty but had to admit (this is like a AA meeting-:)), that I was holding out on roses ONLY....but no more. I'm clean, I've come to Chessus, Halllelujah. I'll let you know how it works out. Oh yes, good pruning is a big part of this deal I've discovered. It gives strong canes.

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    3. In queso emergency, I always pray to Cheesus. :o) Check out Urban Farms. Their organic fertilizers are like espresso shots for plants. My plants grow like hungry teenagers when I add it to their water. The Garden of Eden is amazing stuff. I bought the rose one this year, too.

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  24. How we cling to the idea of a beautiful plant long after reality says it is not to be. So sad about your beloved rose, but what a terrible guy he was. A no-goodnik.

    My thwarted love affair has been Spigelia marilandica... it disappoints despite all my blandishments, planting anew year after year, and experimenting with locations. I hate to give up on it, but like Graham Thomas for you, it has given up on me. I need to take your cue and simply plant something else!

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    1. Oh no! That grows so effortlessly for me. I wonder why it struggles for you. It's probably a zone, soil, or climate difference. Some plants I stopped growing because I was tired of killing them. But something else will thrive where the spigellia died. :o)

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  25. Oh the dark side of gardening! Well I tossed my beloved Mary Magdalene rose recently so yes I understand completely. Some of them are suicidal is all I can say. Love the clematis choices-- what great plants! Mine are better every year and DEPENDABLE. But hey you are shooting the messenger in Chaucer! He's been dead for six or seven hundred years so it's a reach that he killed your rose. I'm a bit of an expert at dolling out blame but there must be a more viable scapegoat around someplace. For you my dear gardener, Chaucer and I recommend "mighty ale a large quart" --and lots of time among the clematis vines.

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    1. I may have to take his other quote to heart. :o) Fair Rosamond is thriving in Graham's spot. He should have tried a lot harder.

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  26. This made me smile! I should do the same as you I try and can't bear to throw some of my past loves and faillings away! Sarah x

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    1. It took me two weeks to come to terms with our eventual break up. I kept hoping the black spots were all just a huge mistake and were symptoms of something else, although I couldn't figure out what that something else might be. But, ultimately, he just had to go. Love is not enough.

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  27. Sorry to see that lovely rose go (yellow! no wonder you were in love) BUT you're going to be ecstatic with those clematis. Sturdy, dependable, no diseases, and flowers in a million colours and shapes. Can you tell I'm a clematis fan? :)) Nothing like plant shopping to make a girl feel better.

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  28. Ah yes, Mr. Thomas got the heave ho from my garden years ago. I was a dismayed, jilted lover. It isn't a pleasant thing to be duped by a plant that had offered such high hopes for success. "David Austen disease-resistant roses." Yeah right. And I've got a bridge for sale. ... Fortunately a lot of the newer varieties live up to that slogan quite well. But not our Graham. May he rest in peace.

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  29. Ah yes, the old disease-resistant rose that isn't. I am sure Graham lives up to his billing somewhere in the country, but not in the south. It's sad to see him go, but I like your attitude. Don't be a doormat, is what I say.

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