Thoughts on all things garden themed from an antique dealer gone amuck! I write, play with the dogs, and fill my house with garden art. There is hardly time to work the dirt!

Copyright 2010-2013 Barbara Barth, Writer With Dogs

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Death By Roses

Day one, daylight savings time. For a gal who has put off working in the garden for three years the knowledge that this was the beginning of daylight savings was like an alarm clock blaring in my brain. Everything I have not done in three years I decided to tackle today. Well, not everything. But more than I'd done in months, years.

I am blessed with a private back yard that has several well established beds. I do nothing and things bloom. Not the same things every year, since the stronger plants take over the weaker ones. I also have a variety of small trees in my big beds that were not there last time I really took a look. The larger trees put off seeds, pods, whatever trees do, and baby trees were birthed. Trees that now will need to be dug out if I hope to have flowers again. But wait, my butterfly bushes, six feet tall will bloom. Never mind.

My huge deck with the lattice inserts blocks the offensive part of the yard, the untamed, unruly, ungodly mess that used to be full of daffodils and lilies. My containers that line the brick patio and deck await lavender, rosemary, and other small herbs. There is hope for me with some garden chores.

I used to spend hours in my yard, years ago. Things have changed, and six dogs romping in the yard bring their own pleasure. Flowers are not as important as the dogs being able to run through the remains of the grass and bask in the warm sun on my deck.

My concern for my dogs may have prompted my garden endeavors today. I could not go down the deck steps into my yard without being grabbed by large, leafy, green limbs of another unknown border plant, out of control by the back of the house. A lone, almost dead rose bush, reached out from the backside of the house, down my the entrance to my basement. Brown, thorny, limbs, like an octopus reaching out in all directions. I knew those two areas would be my target today.

I felt well equipped. I'd just purchased used vintage clippers from an antique shop. Rusty with charm, I was curious to see if they were sharp enough to cut the spindly limbs. They were. Like a mad woman in my pj bottoms and sweater top, I clipped and pulled, breaking some branches by hand, superwoman at best, nut case at least, until the back side of my house looked respectable. I came away unscathed. My new garden gloves with their heavy palms seemed perfect to gather the limbs and drop them in the back fenced area that I use for mulch. Ok. I don't use it for mulch. It is just easier to toss everything over the back fence where it can't been seen, then to haul it down my long driveway, to be picked up by the garbage men tomorrow.

The sun was hot. Two of my dogs followed every step I made, Chloe, the seven pound Chi, and Bertha, the wildebeest. The other dogs saw I was at work, and went back to sleep on the sunroom sofa. I joined them for thirty minutes, since all the activity had me at heart attack level. My face was beet red.

My second wind hit me an hour later. I grabbed my gloves and headed straight to the back bed. My prize rose bush was out of control. It nailed me with its long arms as I passed it earlier to dump the other clippings over the fence. Three years and it had reached out to cover the entire area. It roamed over my six foot, vintage, metal angel in the middle of the bed, and covered an even larger pink iron cart. Tendrils wove in and out of the angel and cart, so long I could not tell where each began and ended. I knew it was not safe to walk by the bedI had already gotten nailed. Thorns eight feet high stood two feet past the flower bed. Soon my lawn man would be back to take care of my weeds, mow them down until, squashed, the green color gave the illusion of grass. I didn't want one of those dangerous thorny arms to nab him as he rode by on his mower. Then there were the dogs. I worried they would try to run into the bed and be trapped in a maze of thorns.

For over an hour I carefully clipped, tugged, pulled, and cleaned out the overgrowth. Thorns tore holes in my cotton PJ bottoms, snagged my white fleece vest, and ripped at my legs and arms. They pierced my gloves and drew a spot of blood. Time after time, I got caught and had to twirl to unhook myself from the rose monster. I succeeded with my chore. By twilight my bush was tamed. The last injury came as I lifted the piles of thorny limbs to dump over the fence.

I don't know if this is the season to prune roses. I never know what to do when in my garden. It was time to take control and that is what I did today. There is enough of my rose bush left with life so I will be curious to see if it blooms. It was no more shocked by my attack then I was by its attack on me! I am still alive, I assume it is too. We will meet again later this spring to see who fared the best.

Today I felt like I had death by roses. Tonight I am treating myself to death by chocolate.


  1. ;-) Roses can definitely hurt you. But that doesn't mean I won't grow them. I love them. Glad you had a good day clearing out the old canes. You will be rewarded with new growth and lovely blooms.

    Have a wonderful week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hi Lorraine - sent you an e-mail. I love roses too. Thanks for the encouraging words that my roses will grow.

  2. Chocolate saves lives, in my opinion. I was also pruning roses yesterday, so if that is a mistake we both made it.

    1. We may be OK on this! I'll be posting follow-ups on my yard work and we'll see how rose bush does. The chocolate was delish when I settled down last night!