In my backyard I have lots of types of roses, because of my love for the traditional English garden. Some of those roses make up a living wall that splits my backyard into two sections. The beautiful New Dawns that make up this wall are considered a climbing rose, though they need far more structure than most ivies to actually climb. It took over five years for this wall to reach its full height, and it has been painstaking nurtured and trimmed by me along the way. They bloom only once every summer, and it is a spectacular sight to behold.
Last week, most of the blooms had reached their zenith but I allowed the withering blooms to linger longer so any late ones would also be completely finished. On Saturday I finally began the process of removing all the dead blooms and trimming the wall back into its perfect shape. The process is not easy and a little knowledge of climbing roses is necessary.
The process in total took over seven hours to complete. After the first three of those hours my oldest son, was taking his turn to clean up the discarded blooms, asked me, “Why don’t we just take the hedge trimmer to this? It would be way faster.”
“You’re right, but these are roses. If we cut them in the wrong place they won’t bloom as much the next year and it can cause lateral overgrowth that can even kill the roots.”
“Then at least let me help you prune them.”
“No, these roses have thorns so big it’s impossible not to get scratched.” I showed my son the little drops of dried blood along the many tiny cuts on my forearm.
“And your mother doesn’t want you possibly damaging her babies,” my husband interjected from the other side of the wall
I pursed my lips at him over a perfect section of trimmed wall but I couldn’t deny it. The darn man knew me too well.
I turned back to my son and decided to kick his offer further down the road, like next year or the year after that, or maybe after I’m dead and I won’t be able to see my beautiful babies destroyed by my impatient family’s hands. “You know there are other things in the garden that need pruning too.”
Looking back on the exchange I know my overprotective response is ridiculous but I can’t help it. I’m not this psychotic with anything else in my gardens or house, but these roses represent years of dreaming of my own English garden and it’s finally coming to fruition. No touchy!