"Is the doctor in the house?"
"No, he's out in the neighborhood– and pretty easy to find in April and May."
Yep, he's right outside my front door wrecking havoc on my prize R. rugosa alba standard.
And OMG he's across the street– hey I thought that was a yellow rose.
There he is up the hill– that poor white rose will soon be gone.
Down the lane this union is almost more than I can bear.
Now let's talk hostile takeover.
How many of you darling rose lovers have been awestruck at the sight of this velvety red rose blooming on your white, yellow, pink, peach, orange rose bush? I know it's like magic isn't it? After we've waxed poetic about said wonder, our naivete is soon dispelled though by a nusery person or a more experienced gardener. They will tell you that your rose was once two or three short canes that were budded to a rooted cane of the rose Dr. Huey. The "doctor" gives roses a quicker start than their own roots usually do, hence a quicker turn over in the market. The only problem- Dr. Huey is also bred to bloom and doesn't like staying underground.
If only my mentioning "the Dr. Huey phenomona" would alleviate it. Wishful thinking– all these photos were shot in less than one-square-California-mile!
The rose gardener needs to keep a watchful eye on the problem.
Let's take a better look at my standard Rugosa.
I know many of you wonder how I could let the suckering go this far. Just look at that one cane trying to pass over the top. This is a classic example of why Dr. Huey stock was chosen for the trunk– it's a ramrod.
(The dear doc must be wondering what's with that bit of green and white fluff above the trunk.)
I tried in vain many times to dislodge the canes.
See the for yourself, it just wasn't going to happen. Cutting suckers just makes them come back stronger. They must be carefully torn away– not possible in this case.
These suckers on Mary Rose are much easier to remove since they're growing away from the plant. But no matter how far from the plant, it's important to dig down to the growth source to dislodge (tear away) the cane.
Annual spring trips to the garden and nursery delights of Sonoma County first inspired this post. As we'd cruise through beautiful scenery, the hair stood up on the back of my neck when I'd see the interloping Dr H. I mean really I'd rather see all pink roses (this one is Sweet Surrender). Many people must delight in the good doctor. He does have a pretty high ranking on helpmefind. To each his own, however it was fun getting this post out of my system.
Sweet Surrender is the "S" in my rose alphabet, and is featured in my book R is for Rose. Intense fragrance and a gorgeous face marked this rose a favorite of mine for a long time. So when I see it's beauty diminished by suckering I'm a little sad.
PS If you remove a rose from the garden, roots left in the soil will sometimes develope into Dr. Hueys. They're pretty easy to pull out if you catch them while young.
Wouldn't you know suckering" has another conotation in the rose world. It refers to the underground runners on many species and near species. A more interesting subject that I'll post about at another time.