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The Promise of Julia Child

May 27, 2015

On this day, at the end of May, I spent a good part of the evening dead heading and trimming back roses that had grown too long and gangly for the weight of their blooms.

It’s not an unusual activity. Since planting my roses, I have found that it is essential to prune them back at least once a summer to keep them from falling over as they grow faster and taller than their still-spindly canes can support while reaching for the often-weak Pacific Northwest sun.

The unusual part is how early in the year that I have had to do this. Generally, I make it to the summer solstice before I have to trim back the canes. This year, not so much.

And because we had no real freeze to speak of, my rose bushes have already been plagued by pests. Aphids have come in conspicuous numbers, hopping, skipping and jumping between plants. I have also dealt with early cases of fungal infections in the forms of rust, black spot and (the heretofore unusual) powdery mildew.

Through it all, one plant has stood out.

One plant that has — both in years past and this year — remained untouched.

My beautiful Julia Child has managed to grow strong and resilient, resisting all needs for trimming spindly canes and repelling every pest, mite and fungus that has been the scourge of my other roses.

This is, to say the least, an immense surprise. After all, while I generally try to select roses that are deemed disease- and pest-resistant, I have found that many in the rose industry appear to subscribe to the “liar-liar-pants-on-fire” type of marketing practices. Abject hyperbole seems to fill every description they write for their roses (if that’s not the case, I wouldn’t want to encounter roses that are considered less than “disease resistant”) because all of my roses that have been termed relatively free from pests and disease are filled with — surprisingly enough — pests and disease.

But not the Julia Child.

This rose, which I didn’t expect much of, has grown strong and seemingly immune from all manner of illness and strife. It thrives even when I ignore it. The blooms overwhelm me every year, and this year is no exception.

JC 01

My Julia Child. The purple is a sage brush that it is holding up.

JC 02

JC 03

A mass of flowers hiding among the top of the rose bush.

JC 05

The clippings just from the Julia Child. I was completely overwhelmed.

If only every rose bush was this hardy and prolific …


From → Random Beauty

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