Be warned folks this post is not rated. Due to the violence against plants it could deserve an X rating. Are we, the collective we, not all haunted by the ghosts of plants we have killed with kindness or worse, shear neglect? It’s scary stuff, the things we do in the name of “taking good care of our plants.” This innocent enough story starts out just when the Texas summer is beginning to really heat up and when plants are really counting on us for just a little mercy, a little extra water and to do them no harm. A very gentle spirited person came along and hoped to purchase an easy care Knock-Out rose bush, and note, I did not say no-care rose bush, plant it, see it thrive, produce a profusion of blooms and beautify her home. Her name and face have been changed to protect the guilty. The face you see is a lovely person, Jaimee Goehring who has complained mightily about not seeing her planted like a wanted poster on this blog. So there you have it, Jaimee has graciously agreed to be a stand in for an attempted murderer and an alleged abuser of a Knock-Out rose bush or shall we say an alleged attempted murder of a rose bush. The date of the alleged crime is on or around early June of this year when the alleged perp came to me and said that she had ripped the poor unsuspecting rose bush up by its roots because she found that its current location was inconvenient. She had originally purchased an easy care Knock-Out Rose called Rosa Radrazz, one of my favorites. She said she decided to transplant it and it was already getting hot. After she ripped the poor little bugger up by its roots she decided that since the roots looked a little straggly she would give ‘em a trim. I don’t know what in the world ever gave her the idea she was an expert on how roots should actually look but at the moment she had shears in her hand and had no impulse control and with a few snips she felt better. We all like to trim stuff above ground, but ripping it up and deciding to trim it below ground because it looks a little ragged, that’s a little extreme. I explained that the roots she trimmed sounded like basically feeder and surface roots spreading to get ready for the insufferable, Texas summer heat. The first assignment I gave this well meaning criminal and plant abuser was to go take a picture of the bush, do not touch the bush, stand back at least 5 feet and to do it no harm. The alleged abuser agreed to stay back at least 5 feet from the victim bush and take a picture, and bring me a picture of the poor wilted plant. Then we could determine a course of action. I could see sincere remorse in the face of this plant abuser and that is why I agreed to take the case. The next day after I examined the crime scene and the victim from the crime scene photographs, I could see with supervision this repentant offender could again be a rose bush caregiver. Here is our course of action. The first killer in Texas heat is dehydration so we had to be sure since it was already getting hot and she so deftly snipped all the surface roots that would have made sure the plant got extra water that the plant did not get dehydrated. Then I asked her to pinch every single dead leave that was left on the bush, that was kind of a penance and it would make the bush look lots better and make me feel better, then I told her to trim every cane that looked dead back to green wood and take
another picture and bring it to me. Then I asked her to deep water the bush. We agreed on a root stimulator and a simple plant food and watering campaign and left the plant alone. I was concerned that the bush was very close to the heat generating bricks and also almost on top of the sprinkler head but Knock-out Roses are so very forgiving I really thought since I could see most canes were green that the plant really would be OK when she first brought me the pictures. She thought the plant was not going to survive and I truly could see it would be OK. I was more cheerleader than anything and knew she cared about being a better rose bush care giver. I knew from the beginning this offender could be rehabilitated and had been restored as a good contributor to the world of growing things.