Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roses Project

As a kid I didn't really pay much attention to flowers and plants and such; they were just everywhere, like trees and dirt and the sky, I suppose I took them for granted.

Once, though, for what reason I can't remember now, I brought my Grannie a red rose.
It wasn't the kind of rose like you buy at a florist, but some sort of wild growing rose, I guess. It wasn't exactly a rose 'bush", but there alot of stems, that just kind of grow up out the ground together. They get pretty tall/long, and roses grow on growths off the stem.

Anyway, Grannie wrapped the stem of the rose I picked and put it in a glass of water on the windowsill, and it grew roots. She gave it back to me to give to my Mom, who planted it, and it grew like crazy into a whole 'nother 'bush'.  It was like magic, the way that happened.

So then some years ago, my husband's Grandfather passed away, and left my husband his home.
His Grandmother had long been deceased before then, but she had been an avid gardener in her life, too.
Among fruit and nut trees, several green plants I don't know the name of, Easter Lilies, some of those most beautiful Azalea bushes I've ever seen (*note to self; get these next), there were some of the sweetest, loveliest little pink teacup roses.  Like the sweet, pink little roses in the French Cottage Shabby Chic decor.

I'm told they are called Seven Sisters roses, and are an Heirloom rose brought over from Britain in the early 1800's.

A few years later, the County built a new school close to the place, and bought a chunk of our property to build a new 3-lane road. We moved, and although I always have plans to get back over there and take cuttings of his Grandmother's plantings, I haven't yet made it.

However, as it turns out, apparently at some point my Grannie had taken a cutting or a flower of the roses and  made her own rose bush. They planted it beside the chain-link fence in the backyard, and it has grown up and over and now 'waterfalls' over the fence. It is so pretty when it blooms in the Spring.

Last year my Aunt gave me some cuttings from it, but I killed them. I killed them with impatience, as it turns out. I didn't learn that until just recently.

Earlier this Spring I was at my Aunt's house, and the roses were blooming so beautifully, so again, she gave me some more cuttings.

This time I brought them home and cut them into about one-foot lengths and put them in bottles of rain-barrel water. (We've noticed our garden doesn't do quite as well when we water with City water; it stays alive, but that's about it, the veggies don't grow. So I wanted to give the roses rain-water in hopes that would help.)

One cutting had blooms, so I stuck it in water and sat it on my kitchen windowsill.

I put the bottles on a board on the backporch wall where they would be safe if it came a storm and the wind picked up.  But I pretty much knew they weren't going to get enough sun.
So eventually I decided to give up the water-rooting, and just stick them in the ground instead.

Most of them didn't make it for whatever reason, only 3 lived.
Which, in actuality, is probably a good thing.  Growing these roses could be like spawning vampires gone out control; they are an aggressive and invasive plant; beautiful, but dangerous. If all 24 cuttings had lived, they could have probably taken over the world by themselves.

I still had the one sitting on my kitchen windowsill, mostly because I just never got around to getting rid of it yet.
The flowers were dried and crispy, it had gunk - algae looking stuff growing in it, and it hadn't grew any new leaves like the ones outside in the ground did, so I was was pretty sure it was dead, but for some reason I'd keep adding water to it. Tap water even, that's how sure I was it was a goner.  My son asked me the other day why I kept watering it, and didn't get rid of it.  I don't know why.

But then this morning I found this:

It took 2 months and 2 days, but it grew a root in water, just like Grannie used to do it!
That's how I figured out I killed last year's cuttings with impatience; I thought they died and I threw them out within a couple of weeks.

I took it out, and dug up the other 3 from the planter box, and transplanted them all into pots with compost soil:

Now let's see if I can keep these babies alive, and maybe plantable next year sometime.  I plan to plant one here in my yard, and one in the family cemetery next to the Grandmother's grave stone.

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