Reward after summer garden sabbatical and tough years' start
This year marked my 4th year of gardening, in a garden of mostly roses. I sailed through the first 3 years, no rose losses, no "real" problems to speak of. Then this year, the gophers took over, and wrecked havoc upon all my hard work.
After digging up 30 out of 80+ roses and replanting with gopher wire, many roses with only hints of roots remaining, I was questioning my rose commitment. The replanting took so much of my time from other parts of my life that needed my time more, that I said - no more. The other 50 roses - either they survive the gophers, or they don't.
The 30 replanted (in upcoming summer heat) looked horrible all summer. Most lost all of their leaves. The area the gophers attacked hardest were my two favorite sitting areas, and now those beautiful gardens were bare thorny sticks sticking up into the air. I was pretty horrified and extremely disappointed.
So, I did a few things to "cope". 1 - I pulled out a handful of roses that I hadn't been happy with as I refused to put the effort of caging and replanting into unproductive roses, or roses that I just didn't like. 2 - I left my roses and garden to survive on their own over the summer. I had had it. I decided I'd give them copious water, and leave the rest to fate. No pruning, no deadheading, no checking for bugs, no weeding, no nothing. Just water.
Last week I had some free time over the weekend, and exploded through the gardens with pruners, and hand yanked out enough grass/weeds to supplement 17 horses for 2 days with "goodies".
The garden is becoming beautiful again. Aside from the original losses - finding roses on their sides from gopher removal of every stitch of a root, and the ones I yanked and didn't plant back, every one I replanted survived, and I had no further losses. Even my few with single root threads about 2-3" long (that I pruned back to about 3" of cane) survived. All the roses are fully leaved, and most are blooming to some degree now.
If all my replanted roses died, my gardening may have died with them. But I feel renewed. I am in awe of the recoverability and hardiness of roses. They give a message greater and louder than their own ability to survive. I think I have a lot to learn from this lesson...