Monday, June 18, 2018

Validation

Growing roses for competition in Portland, Oregon, is like racing at Daytona. An acquaintance said she shifted to organic culture because a neighbor developed cancer, and she couldn't bear the thought of having contributed to the illness.

We chatted about the joys of growing roses, even at my level of skill, and I learned a couple of tips. One is that on the morning of a competition, my informant goes out into the garden at dawn and asks, "Who wants to go to the show?" She shares my policy about aphids: if she can't see them from five feet away, she ignores them. I spray aphids with cold water when I have the hose out of a morning, and I plant cigarette butts near the roots. Neem oil, that I have not used, apparently takes care of other pests. 

My roses have been wild and wooly and full of fleas, since for years I concentrated on growing Nootkana. The Portland gardener did not know Nootkana, and I explained that it is like bamboo with fangs. I am no longer in the Nootkana business, but I miss the wild canaries that came with it,  and I miss its leaves, that smell of apples and honey after a rain. 


My informant was pleased to inform me later in the day that her volunteers had won in their division of Portland's rose Olympics -30-

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