Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Survivor of Benign Neglect

There are numerous bloggers, such as Squirl, who post magnificent photographs of flowers. I would not attempt to emulate the photographs of those artful bloggers; I'm not a skilled photographer nor a gardener. I know a bit about lawns because I spent the summers of my undergraduate college years working with grass (and sand traps) on Louisville golf courses.

I also learned about growing roses from my German uncle, Otto Weber. His rose garden was wonderful and he taught me about pruning, fertilizing, watering, and protecting rose from the numerous pests and diseases that can attack them. I learned the lessons well.

Through the years I come to ritually accept that where I live as "home" by planting roses. At the house I owned in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, I created a three tier rose garden and was a rose tester for the Jackson-Perkins company. I planted roses in the yard of the parsonage in Cannelton, Indiana. On the terrace of the apartment in which I lived when I first returned to Louisville, I had planters of miniature roses. On reflection, I find it strange that I have not been motivated to plant roses at the at the home I now own.

This post is not about the roses that I have planted and tended through the past thirty or so years. It is about a rose bush beside my mother's house that has survived about fifty years in spite of benign neglect:

The rose bush pictured above was purchased from a grocery store for about fifty cents in (I believe) the spring of 1957, about six months after my parents moved into the house. To the best of my knowledge, it has not been pruned, sprayed, or fertilized in many, many years. It has also not been dug up, which is the benign part of its continued existence.

I cannot explain why this bush continues to exist in spite of the neglect it has received. I am not a horticulturist. I do not know if this bush will bloom. Yet I have deep respect for a rose bush that has survived so long without being tended. Although I am tempted, I will not prune it or fertilize it. I will respect it, this survivor of benign neglect.


  1. I like those itty bitty roses... I forget what they are called though, but there is one in a planter in my front yard.

  2. Wow...

    It looks better than most of the rose bushes I've had:)

  3. Hi Nick,
    This is June. I wanted to let you know that the rosebush has been trimmed and fertilized and sprayed for bugs every single year since I started helping your mom (almost 10 years ago). She hates for it to get too tall because it might make holes in the screen. Bless her heart, I miss her so bad! Oh and yes it blooms all summer. Big pink blooms!

    Just thought you might want to know. There are some supplies in the basement for it if you want to use them. Hope things are looking up for you.

  4. All I know about roses is that they need to be trimmed back every year.

  5. Hi Nick ~~ I am so glad that things are looking up for you at last. It should not have taken so long.
    I hope you put some water on that poor rose bush occasionally. How is your mother these days? Does it look as though she will get home again, or does she need the care where she is?
    Take care Nick, have a blessed Easter and some visits from friends (with chocolate). Regards, Merle.

  6. Hi Nick. We have one of those bushes by the side of the house. We do water it from time to time and we cut it back when it was threatening our windows but other than that - nothing.

    As Merle said, have a blessed Easter.

  7. P.S. Can you let me know what photo program you use and how you got them onto blogger.

    Lately, I haven't been able to see about half the photos on blogs, including my own.

    I did a survey on my own blog. Everyone else can see them and I'm trying to track down my problem.

    I use Mozilla Firefox which has been great so I don't think that's it.

    Any ideas?

  8. Hi Nick, thanks for the nod. I just love taking pictures of nature stuff. I like your intrepid rose bush. Sounds like it's been getting some care. That sounds like the way most of us take care of ourselves. ;-)

    Granny, I don't know why you can't see your own pictures. I use Flickr and purchase a Pro account for $12 a year.

  9. I am interested in the longevity of plants. Some trees are especially long lived. I read of a rose bush that allegedly was over 300 years old but have not been able to find proof of this statement. Your Mom's rosebush is quite long lived but my Grandmother's bushes were also. She had primarily old roses, not modern hybrids. They were beautiful and had such sweet perfume, which many hybrids lack.