Our Lady at Work

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Autumn months of October and November are proving to be a real show-stopper in our North Natomas Back 40 in terms of outright color production.

The rose bushes planted in "strategic" areas around the yard are just going nuts with colorful production. I've already highlighted two of them on this blog (Scentimental and Venus' favorite, Saint Patrick). Now it's time for another that simply tugged on the wife's heartstrings the moment she saw it pictured in a Jackson and Perkins catalog.

Gentle gardeners -- I give you -- Our Lady of Guadalupe.

If you're beginning to figure out that Venus is a certifiable Catholic -- that would be a mighty fine guess!

What's the difference between a normal Catholic and a "certifiable" Catholic?

Don't ask!

But -- back to the subject. I know from experience -- mind you -- that what looks great in a Jackson and Perkins or Weeks catalog doesn't necessarily transfer into the same success at home in the front or back yards. There's a lot of work that goes into making a rose bush look "picture perfect," and sometimes that rose just doesn't look like what was pictured.

Then -- there are cases of "dumb luck." Put Bill Bird in that category.

Venus and I purchased Our Lady of Guadalupe soon after moving into our first North Natomas home in 2003. The selling point? For Venus, obviously, it was the name. But she also liked the fact that Our Lady of Guadalupe had been "blessed by the Diocese of Los Angeles, and proceeds from the sale of the rose supported Hispanic College Fund scholarships."

So -- I wasn't one to argue. I purchased the rose. I gave it a prime spot in our first home against a fence. The rose got nice amounts of compost, fertlizer and water. And this rose responded to that wonderful and loving care by promptly FLOPPING during its first five years.

And Gentle gardeners -- I mean this one really just FLOPPED. How do you put it in gardening terms? Latin Terms? "Stinkus Alottus?"

What went wrong? I'm not sure. It just didn't grow all that well. It was one of the smallest Floribunda roses I'd ever seen -- never growing beyond a height of two or three feet. Oh sure, it would produce some nice roses. But it was hidden away -- blocked by other roses located in the front and the side -- other roses that performed -- well -- much better to be brutally honest.

When Venus and I made the move to our new North Natomas compound with a backyard actually large enough to turn around in -- the decision was made to bring some of the existing roses from the old yard over to the new yard. We had overplanted anyway at the old yard -- so why not?

But -- in my opinion -- the rose named "Our Lady of Guadalupe" didn't make the cut. "It's too small," I told Venus. "I'll buy you something else."

She promptly delivered the universally recognized, one-finger "Gardener's Salute" to inform me that I'd -- uh -- lost the argument.

It just goes to show that I should listen to my wife more often.

I'm not sure what I did right this time around -- nor what I did wrong last time. But I can tell you that Our Lady of Guadalupe immediately responded in a positive way to the new digs. It grew to a height of three feet during its first year after transplant. This year? It's slowly approaching the five foot mark. I've never witnessed such a lavish display out of this rose bush before.

Since rose bushes like this one normally take three years before putting on a really good show -- I can only imagine what will happen next year.

Our Lady of Guadalupe attracts a number of beneficial insects to the garden -- including bees -- although the bees in the nearby, neon-pink, "Hello Kitty" hive don't pay it much attention (no, they're not retarded, but I might be).


Fred Hoffman said...

Whew! You had me worried there for a minute. I was wondering how you were going to tie in rose growing with Vegetable Gardening. And, at the very last second: roses attract beneficial insects! Good!
p.s. Beneficials don't like Raid.
p.p.s. For Venus (this is still ingrained from my altar boy days):
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, et vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo opere et omissione: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, omnes angelos et Sanctos, et vobis fratres, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. Amen.

Venus said...

I'm impressed Fred. I didn't know you'd been indoctrinated as a boy.

Daffodil Planter said...

Glad to see La Virgen is doing so well. Just needed a little faith on your part ;-)

swallowtail said...

love your blog! I left my "Lady" behind and still regret having done so... after reading this, she will be the first on my list when it's time to plant a rose! Thanks!

Con salsa said...

Beautiful flowers.