I can't believe this worked!!!
Earlier in the spring, a week or two after I'd planted my band of the HT Butterscotch, I was noodling around in the garden and stepped on the poor thing. Broke it off right at the base of the soil, with nothing left of the cane and precious little root system established yet. Well, I figured it was a goner, and stepping on things is something I consider one of those acceptable but highly regrettable mistakes, given how close I plant everything.
Still, after muttering some choice language at myself, I looked at the little green sprig in my hand and figured I had nothing to lose, so I stuck the remaining plant top into the ground about 2" deep next to the (presumed) root system. That left only about 2" above ground, so I was expecting to see a relatively fast death of the plant, kind of like sticking a florist rose stem directly in the ground and hoping for the best.
To my surprise, the little squirt hung in there. For a while, it just sat there not dying, and I figured the moisture in the soil was maintaining the green of the plant but it would eventually be toast. Just this week, though, I saw the sprig putting on new leaves! Against all odds, it seems to have put down roots from the base of that tiny stem (no wider than a bamboo skewer) and decided to survive. It wouldn't be that phantom growth you get in early spring from canes that will eventually die, since there's not enough stored energy in the top 2" of the plant to support that kind of growth. Go figure, eh?
I think the reason this sprig survived and other attempts to resurrect severed bits or canes of roses have failed for me, is that it was split from the base of the plant and had some active growing points already at the base of the cane. I've never had any luck with pinching off a few inches of the tip of any other rose and getting it to grow, and I suspect there's something different about the growth "instructions" at the base of a new basal break - or in this case, the only existing cane. You'll all enlighten me if I'm wrong, of course, but I'm now resolved to try sticking more canes back in the ground, particularly the ones that have fallen prostrate on the ground from our very wet weather and separated from more established canes at the soil lines. Should be the same principle, I think.
Anyway, I'm thrilled to recover from at least one mistake this spring (OTOH, no survivors yet from the alfalfa "mistake" I posted about earlier). I realize that this is my third and probably last try to overwinter Butterscotch in my zone and it has a rather slim shot at overwintering even in my warmest most protected bed, but it's nice to see it showing some gumption at least this summer, and maybe a little hardship now will boost its immune system to the winter cold.
Here's the little survivor...yay!!