The Death Of William ShakespeareWednesday, March 18, 2009
Long may thy worthiness thy name advance
Amongst the virtuous and deserving most,
Who herein hast forever happy proved:
In life thou lived'st, in death thou died'st beloved.
A Funeral Elegy for Master William Peter, William Shakespeare
If you don't garden you probably don't understand the concept of a perennial. These plants come back year after year. Some don't need proper care, others do. But with just a bit of garden knowledge perennials can return year after year. Hostas in particular are long-lived perennials and can please you for half a century. What is important to hardy perennials is that they get a winter rest. There are several types of hardy perennials. Some can thrive in Vancouver but die in Edmonton and Winnipeg. Perennials are given hardiness ratings so that those growing them in different areas of Canada will not suffer too many dissapointments. Perennials like humans need a period of rest to recoup energy. Hostas will not grow in Florida because they need a winter dormancy period. Smart Floridians still manage to grow hostas by popping their plants into the fridge for a couple of months. The cold signals the plants to go to dormancy.
Roses are shrubs or small trees and they follow, in most cases the, practice of dormancy. Roses in Vancouver will welcome cold Christmas and January weather as they sleep in preparation for a spring jump into botanical awareness. But if the weather should warm up in February the rose bushes will shift out of dormancy. This is what they did this year and then with our subsequent cold weather and snow roses were caught when they least expected it. I must report lots of dead or dying roses in my garden. The telltale sign is a cane top with lots of pink buds but as you look down the canes you notice the browning. As the canes die the buds whither. If there are no other healthy canes then the rose has gone to its maker. There are some possible (slime) Lazarus situations where come spring the "dead" rose will send up some new canes. I can only hope this will happen. I will help induce the moribund bushes by watering (as soon as it gets a bit warmer) the roses with a mixture of water and alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meals seem to jolt roses into action. My hard to grow but ever so beautiful Rosa 'Baron Girod De'Lain' had one remaining cane over the fall. It is dead. There are perhaps five or six more roses but the one whose death breaks my heart is Rosa 'William Shakespeare'. It wasn't an easy rose and it never really did all that well. But for years Rebecca has been growing up to enjoying in the garden with its deep crimson blooms that are extremely scented. The blooms themselves fade into glorious purples. It will be difficult to replace it as the rose was de-listed by David Austin and he launched an "improved" Rosa 'William Shakespeare 2000'. I will have to ask Rebecca if we should buy it or just glory in the memory of William Shakespeare, a plain William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare again