The War of the (Wild) Roses

I love roses. Like many women, the scent of a rose brings a smile to my face, and anything rose-scented usually ends up in my shopping cart—both physical and virtual.

After living in our new home for a few weeks, I have to clarify: I love the idea of roses. Their smell is intoxicating, they’re lovely to look at and they do enhance a landscape. That is, unless they’re the wild roses that have taken over our unkempt property. Apparently, they’re having a full-scale war with the ivy for landscape dominance, taking over every redwood stump and surface in sight.

Rose domination

Rose domination

While the previous owner may have kept them at bay, the roses and the ivy caught a lucky break when the home went on the market, and now they’ve established themselves far and wide. I hacked away at their roots when I set about clearing the area for my vegetable garden. At first I thought that the previous owner had a rose garden in that area because the roots and shoots were so plentiful. I could only cut away half the space; the other half proved stubborn and I just didn’t have the strength or motivation to finish the job (Fortunately, we have lots of ugly orange-brown carpet to throw over the area and kill it off).

It wasn’t until I took the hedge clippers to the ivy covering the redwood tree stump in our driveway that I encountered more wild roses. My love of roses began to diminish. Even the area outside of the window in my office is covered with roses and ivy, the latter of which has started growing into the house. I donned by rubber boots and rose gloves and wielded my trusty hedge clippers to cut it all back. So much for my dreams of a rose garden…

When we were looking at houses, I couldn’t wait to create a rose garden that featured the flowers in a variety of colors. I planned the garden in my notebook, and thought about the garden daily. Now I yell profanities as I cut through thickets of prickly rose vines, and think, who the hell would plant these bastards?! My fingers have swelled up from rose thorns. If I had a nickel for every thorn I pulled out of my hands, I could pay someone to do this crap for me.

I will continue to enjoy the scent of roses and will nurture the one that I found in a planter in the yard. However, I’m hell-bent on eliminating its wild relative from my yard, and the ivy, too.

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