The Rose in Winter

The deer have moved south for the winter, and frost has begun to take what the deer left in the garden.  First it was the pumpkin plants about two weeks ago. Then it was the Dahlias. Most of the roses still have foliage.  Some will hold their leaves through most of the winter, here, hoping that the moist soil and bright afternoon sun will provide a return on their investment.

Some will win this bet using winter sunlight to stretch their roots ever further into the soil and be in a much stronger position next spring.  Others, though, will lose the bet and find their resources depleted when spring weather finally arrives.  In the three or four weeks prior to the last frost they will have committed the whole of their remaining strength to the promise of spring and will put out lush foliage.  Then, at the last frost, this tender new growth will freeze to death; and the plant will die. Continue reading