Plantidote of the Day 2011-05-23
Yes, a rose -- again!! Why not? They're beautiful, and they're in bloom. In one of those odd events involving large numbers of people collectively going into denial, every spring the portion of southwestern desert known as Zone 10 practically turns into a rosarium. Thanks to the miracle of purloined water, residents in dozens of Southern California neighborhoods proudly fill their yards with roses, roses, and more roses, one of the thirstiest plants in existence.
Water is so important to rose growing that it's the first necessity listed in the Sunset Western Garden Book:
Water is needed at all times during growing season for best performance of most popular garden roses. Inadequate water slows or halts growth and bloom. Water deeply so that entire root system is moistened.
Unlike so many plants that require less water once they're established in the garden, older roses actually need more! As a neighbor likes to say, "My day consists of watering the roses and then watering them again."
So with all the plants there are to choose from -- including some spectacular chaparral, succulents and cacti that can thrive here with almost no water -- it seems odd that gardeners in Zone 10 would be so determined to raise something so inappropriate to the region. Are people in other parts of the country obsessed with roses, too? Or are Southern Californians especially delusional?
Full disclosure: I have two rose bushes inherited from the previous owner. Both are growing in pots now, since I've convinced myself that they require less water that way. Which proves that living in denial is not that hard, at least not where roses are concerned ;-)
Readers, please send twig (firstname.lastname@example.org) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.
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