I am pissed. And the last thing I want is a pat on the back or a pathetic, compassionate gaze.
I need to vent, and on top of it all, you are not even my captive audience. You've got that convenient little 'X' above this window to escape my rant. But as for me, this is my life.
My roses are DEAD. Rosa 'Night Owl' and R. Long Tall Sally' are laying on my walk as still as the corpses they are.
So this is what happened. After searching for my misplaced pruners, I started in on getting my climbers in shape. They are really the only roses I bother with. They are up and out of my way, and do double duty in covering up a wall, a fence, whatever. I love pruning these roses: I love the way the canes will look after I've finished, like the tail of a Stegosaurus with spiky side shoots.
So, *snip* there goes a brown branch back to that essential outward facing bud. But it looked all wrong. It was brown inside where it should have been green, especially just above a decent-looking bud. Hmmmm. So I get in a little closer and notice that the whole plant is wobbling at the soil level.
"What the F---?!"
The WHOLE THING comes right out of the ground and THIS is what the "root system" looked like, gnaw marks included:
Can you BELIEVE that? Ooh, I am so angry.
So then I go over to 'Long Tall Sally' and give her a wiggle. Out she comes. Again with the profanity.
Instantly I know. Bloody bastard vermin. See, last year we had a mouse issue. But that was fine because all they wanted to do was hang out in the laundry room, shit on our clean towels, and drag dryer lint around. But we smartened up, crushed a couple skulls, and Keith (being dramatic) left one or two of them in the traps as a "warning" to others. Sweet, ain't he? During the spring, summer, and fall, I guess they had time to plot their revenge. So they thought it might be all mousey-cute to sharpen their teeth on my rose roots? What kind of vindictive rodents ARE they?
I just hate this. Not the mice, not the lost roses, but this: for years, I would be the back patter and give the compassionate eye contact in response to garden annihilation. People who work slavishly only to have their results ruined by rabbits, woodchucks, deer, etc. See, I didn't have any of that. I lived in a shiny garden bubble. But now? I am one of YOU.
Now, to reminisce after the loss . . .
R. 'Long Tall Sally' was a share from my friend and former classmate, Peggy of Westchester Environmental Tree Service who gave me this rose when we were back in school at the NYBG. I nearly killed it, resuscitated it, then planted it safely in my garden. Tall as its name suggests, its canes climbed high, and its flowers were a very pretty pale peachy pinky yellow.
The 'Night Owl' was a cultivar I was SUPER excited about. I even had a really funky clematis planted in anticipation for the color combo. This is a very fragrant and deep dark plum-wine colored rose with shocking yellow stamens--ooh, I am getting delirious thinking about it. Also a climber, this one promised to re-bloom and re-bloom, if only those BLEEP/noun BLEEPING/verb BLEEPers/noun (Mad Libs, anyone?) didn't play God with my garden. Maybe God was playing with me? I'll throw one back His way that's even better: your R. 'Night Owl' looks like the color of R. 'Dr. Huey', the crutch of all grafted roses! Ha! Wouldn't want that mistake in MY garden. Oh, listen to me. I'm not bitter.
So enough. It's over, it's done. I hate mice, rats, voles, whatever resists my will to do garden-goodness. Lesson for this gardener: I will never look with pity upon anyone with a garden story of rodent victimization. It's too painful to experience it, forget being patronized.
Instead of the insufficient back pat, maybe I should just hand out mousetraps to lighten the mood.