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Drive-ByFebruary 4, 2009

Hi! Hi!

Just a few thoughts, thrown at the computer as I hurtle by:

1. What happens to roses when they are allowed to grow wild with NO care, for perhaps five years? This is on the Western coast in a beach climate. (For the new book. I'm not planning on planting and then neglecting roses.) (Although I do want to plant roses. So perhaps I AM planning that.) Would they live? Would they spread? Shrink? Bloom?

2. It's almost the weekend! (My weekend, that is. One more shift and I'll be off for four days. Huzzah! Less skiing, more errands this weekend.)

3. I got a fish! I need to show you pictures. He's on my writing desk, and I lurve him. I thought it would be nice, when I'm spacing out while writing, to stare at a fish, and perhaps that will come, but right now he's more of a distraction. Look! He ate! Look! He spit it out!

3a. I couldn't think of a name for my fish for a day or two. When I DID pick a name (I will reveal the fantastic name with the photo to come), I said to Lala, "I named the fish!" We were in the kitchen at the time. She was holding a piece of salmon to be grilled for dinner. She was very confused.

4. Speaking of fish, we're having sushi for lunch, which is thrilling. Sushi at work. We never leave site for lunch, and we brown bag it every day. This is big time.

5. I like you! (And fish, apparently.)


Edited to add: I forgot to tell you that the Whoreshoes broke up! You should come to their last hurrah: February 12th at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. I'll be there, with knitting.


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You like me!

It probably depends on the rose. Here in New England, rugosa rose have naturalized all over the place, especially along the coast. Personally, I love them and think they make lovely hedges, but they do have a tendency to overgrow and have potential to be invasive. Not as bad as multiflora rose, though. Hate that stuff. In fact, I'm pretty sure that was what Maleficent planted around Sleeping Beauty's tower.

If you plant roses that are on their own roots, they thrive. They will just grow be beautifully. Grafted roses are not so hardy,and can have viruses that shorten their life. The variety that you bought is likely die and the rootstock will take over. We had a rose bush that was 15 feet tall and bloomed all over, and this is in Upstate NY.

I feel the need to comment on the irony of the juxtaposition of the fish that is swimming around on your desk and the ones that will soon be in your stomach. ;-)
Mmmmm. Sushi. West Coast fresh sushi....Did you think of the sushi because of the fish?

Try rugosa roses. They're seriously tough and don't require much of any attention beyond watering. They've even adapted to high salt content spray, etc., on the east coast. (And they live in my Darwinian bootcamp of a garden in central OK, with really no special care except very occasional waterings during our droughts/heatwaves.)

I don't know much about roses, but I know many antique rose varieties were collected from un-cared for graveyards and abandoned farms. Those bushes survived without care for decades, and are reportedly very hardy.

Partly it would depend on the rose, they thrive on vicious pruning. I had one reduced to inch-long bare twigs, last seen it was a 6ft wall of yellow blooms and looked glorious. The less cultivated types of rose would do better left wild. Dog rose would do fine, just spread and keep going, tea roses might struggle a bit. I'd expect a tea rose to be mostly bush and not much rose, but a pruning would revive it nicely.

We have wild growing Nootka Roses up here in the PacNW. They look more like a cosmos than a traditional rose but they smell divine. They grow and grow and grow w/o human intervention.

Can't say the same thing for the rose "stick" that came w/ the house. It's so pitiful. =(

I have to second the comment by Laurie on the fish as pet/fish as lunch irony.

I want some fish! (for both pets and lunch)

I hope there's no connection between numbers 3 and 4. ;)

I confess to being a neglectful gardener: I have a couple of rose bushes that have gone wild. One is a grafted variety the other has its original root stock. Both have grown very tall, a little wider, and somewhat tree-like, with the older "stems" becoming woody and trunk-like. The blooms are mostly near the top with most of the leaves, though some new growth comes out of the base. The grafted bush also has low-level blooms of the root stock variety, providing two colors and styles of blooms on one bush. I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon a temperate climate.

I just remembered: there's also some wild rose in my lilac hedge that spreads from the roots like suckers. They have small, not very pretty blossoms, lots of stickers, and remind me of blackberry brambles only they don't get nearly as big with the longest canes being 6-8 feet long.

I really don't have any business owning a yard!

I like you too. I had a fish, a fancy goldfish, who got sick. I took him to the vet in a tupperware bowl. They weighed him and gave him 2 shots. The vet kept saying "Cool!" since he rarely if ever saw sick fish that were still alive (when in vet school he had a business called the Fishicians, and would maintain private tanks). They vet's name is Byron, so we named the goldfish after him. The only other fish I named was a little goldfish captured at the neighborhood pool on Goldfish Day when I was about 8. I named him Cassius Clay.

Too bad (or not?) about the Whoreshoes, I was hoping that someday they would come to Tucson to play (bluegrass is hot stuff here)

Oh, yeah, I have a crazy rose bush in my yard and I was told to stop pruning it, that it needed to get a little wild. I'm hoping for some flowers this year (I had a few last year, then the plant got weird)

Yup, another cheer for the Rosa Rugosa. They flourish, they spread, they can be trimmed back but are then renew their simple old-fashioned modest blooms in no time at all. They love the Atlantic shore, not sure about the Pacific.

I know them from Rye Beach, NH. Lovely.

Hi to the fish!

Sushi also makes a good fish name; that's what my little brother named his.

Re: The Whoreshoes breaking up: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I lived in Alameda for 8 years and the roses were there before me. They were amazing and I never did anything to them, other than tell them how lovely they were. So I am thinkin' you got the great climate, good dirt, now just one of the hardy varities and you will have ROSES.

De-lurking to second the rugosa varieties. I'm almost certain it's what my landlady's mother has planted along the side of our house, and not only do they weather Minnesota winters with no protection, they protect us from any intruders intent on entering the basement windows -- more thorns than I've ever seen! They hadn't been cut back for years before I got to them last summer, and the worst that happened was that they started to tip over and grow sideways -- some fool had tied them upright instead of taking the clipper to them. If they hadn't been falling into an alley, I would imagine they'd just have been a huge bush, with some empty spots from weight dragging limbs down.

As everyone has said, depends on the variety.

Rugosa would run wild, but that's not generally a main garden plant, and there's a north american variety of hedgerose that's similar.
Hybrid teas might do OK for a while, but most likely would die back to the root stock and sprout from below the graft after a while. In which case they would be whatever the hardy old stock that provided the base originally. If your character had a taste for old fashioned non-hybrid-tea roses and the garden was sheltered? Maybe they would have done a secret garden thing?

I adore Rugosa roses and I love their toughness but unless they get a nice long freeze in the winter, they'll die. So if you're talking about NORTH western US you could talk about Rugosas but probably not in central CA and south.

There are roses to suit nearly every climate. You could look up gardening zones (I think in San Jose we're around a zone 10, SF a little colder) and then search native roses for that zone. I think if I left the roses in our yard (I'm sure they're some sort of hybrid) they'd get long and spindly and probably still bloom.

As everyone has said, depends on the variety.

Rugosa would run wild, but that's not generally a main garden plant, and there's a north american variety of hedgerose that's similar.
Hybrid teas might do OK for a while, but most likely would die back to the root stock and sprout from below the graft after a while. In which case they would be whatever the hardy old stock that provided the base originally. If your character had a taste for old fashioned non-hybrid-tea roses and the garden was sheltered? Maybe they would have done a secret garden thing?

One of my friends in college got a fish and named it Sushi.

Well, I've pretty much ignored my roses the whole time I've lived in my house (my thumbs are sooo not green), and they're fine. They're taking over the maple tree that grows nearby, in fact.

I had a fish in college. My roommate and I each got betta fishes, and she was very excited about hers and named it right away. She asked me what I was going to name mine (we didn't even have them yet), and I said, "I haven't the foggiest idea."

She said, "That's an odd name for a fish."

So he was named Foggy.

Although I am not much of a gardener, I do observe the gardens and gardening habits of my mom and my sister-in-law. Also, I have one totally neglected rose that is at least seven years old.

My very old rose is in a container, but the roots have probably grown into the ground. It is still alive, and it still blooms, but it is not at all beautiful. It's stems are long and spindly, and they don't have a lot of leaves, but they still produce pink roses, albeit they look a bit sickly. It's important to note that this is a rose that has never received good care and has been neglected since day one.

My mom and sister-in-law have beautiful roses. I have admired their roses and talked to them about their roses. Neither of them have neglected their roses, but they have told me--when I have commented on the lush beauty of their roses--that once the roses have been well taken care for a couple of years, that after that they are very hardy, resistant to pests, etc. But I'm sure one would still need to prune them.

So, based on my experiences and observations of roses in the beach climate, I would say that roses negelected from day one could live and produce flowers, but it would be spindly and sort of bare looking. Roses well tended early on, would later be lush and big and overgrown for quite a while, but, if they were never pruned, would eventually not thrive so much.

I hope this helps!

I used to live in Western N. Carolina in the Smokey Mountains. It was beautiful- we were in a very rural area. Lot's of old homesteads in the mountains off of dirt roads. Driving or biking I would often see amazing huge rose bushes in bloom. It always seemed so magical to me, to see these domestic bushes thriving in the wild. It also seemed so romantic because someone planted it many years ago, when there was a home or garden in that area.

I don't know what roses untended will do on the West Coast- but the did great in Western N.C.!

Since this is for imagery for your new book, what thought came to mind right away is how sometimes roses that are left alone will be covered up by weeds and woodsy brush and then, when summer comes around, they bloom and beautiful colorful surprises peep out from between the brush.

For folks who want to come the Whoreshoes show at Du Nord, it's probably a good idea to get tickets in advance - I think the show will sell out.

Speaking from the NORTHwestern coast, they do just fine. Although without a gardener's pruning, they end up a bit funny-looking.

Most tend to grow up and out, and sometimes sprawl outwards to the side, depending on how long they've been there and how they tend to grow anyway. There will be a fair number of diseased leaves and limbs (shrivelled and either brown, or having many black spots) but the plant as a whole will be doing just fine, thank you.

An abandoned rose plant is kind of like a stray cat. It's doing fine, although it's kinda scruffy looking, with some funny marks and blemishes and the plant equivalent of mats in its fur.

I'll keep an eye out for stray rose bushes and send pix if I find any.

I don't know about in a beach climate, but my dad bought my mom a rose bush when I was a kid for mother's day. It had to be 20 years ago. It has not been tended at all, in fact the house it was planted in front of is no longer there, yet it still blooms! Random rose related story. :)

Spread and spread and spread and spread. Take over the world. If you don't prune them they literally grow wild. Except, as Marcela has pointed out, if they are grafted. But even then, they may surprise you.

You sound very happy these days. I'm glad everything is going so well for you, and I'm looking forward to reading your books when they become available.

Yum, sushi! (Sushi might make a good fish name...no? Kidding, kidding.)

Southern west coast or northern west coast, you crazy writer you? The effect would be really different depending on whether they have plenty of water.

Generally when your standard garden roses go untended, they get tall and fierce, with thickets of thorny canes and just a few hidden flowers. I had a few at my new house when I moved in that hadn't been watered or cared for in about two years, and they looked spooky and dead. I whacked them down to the ground and they're up and about to bloom again. Can't wait to see what color they are.

hey dear, if you still need to know about roses i can tell you all about them next saturday - they used to be my hobby before this whole dang writing thing happened :)

You have a lot of commentors on the East Coast! Myself included. Maybe you should head to a garden store for some research; I'm sure one of the experts there would be able to better answer your question.

Who made sushi and brought it in? I know how to make sushi rolls, but I only do so for special occasions. I got invited to a vegetarian pot-luck once and made cucumber and avocado rolls, which is one of the two vegetarian recipes I know, and they vanished. Total prep time (after the rice was cooked) was about 40 minutes for ten rolls, and it was totally worth it.

Okay, for just a moment I thought you meant a stuffed and mounted fish. I thought "I wonder why would she want to look at that? How odd." Then you said it spit up. The image was even odder.

This totally useless comment was brought to you by the letter C, for clueless.

Roses are heartier than people give them credit for. I remember my horticulture professor telling us about 100-year-old roses thriving on abandoned homesteads in the Texas area. And I'm a huge advocate of rose negligence and mine always come back strong every year.

I was sad to hear about the Whoreshoes breakup. I hope it wasn't a bad one.

Again, depends on the rose and the climate. Hybrids grafted to rootstock roses often die back to the graft. The root is usually the rampantly hardy Dr. Huey, which will cover itself with lovely fragrant red blossoms in spring, but really only blooms once a year. If a rose is on its own root and was originally chosen well for its climate and site it will grow to gigantic proportions. Makes you wonder why roses have such a reputation for being fussy.

Yay for fish! I've had at least one betta at work for about five years now. (I currently have 3.) My fish are always named after gods.

Sad. :-(
I always hoped the Whoreshoes would come up to Seattle.

I live a block from Ocean Beach in San Fran and we bought our house earlier this year. We had over thirty rose plants that had been neglected for the past two years since the prior owner had bought the house to flip it and wasn't interested in upkeep after she failed.

The roses do not die. Those are stubborn little suckers. They get brambly and overgrown, and the branches thicken, harden and turn a gray-brown. The vine-like ones creep up whatever fence they have nearby and all of them extend outwards until the weight of them bows the entire branch in an arc to the ground - some of the branches were taller than I am (five feet).

They still flower, quite gorgeous flowers actually, some too big to fit easily into the palm of my hand.

We tried to kill a few to contain the plants but they'd rooted so far we had to dig them up from several feet down.

Now we're down to a manageable handful. Whew.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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