I really should face it - trying to grow roses in seriously alkaline soil that's more rock than clay in the droughty hot Texas climate is crazy. Yes, I know that Tyler in deep east Texas is a rose capital. They have what roses lust for - deep acidic soil.
This garden is mostly provided with a philosophy of tough love - loosening the soil and removing the biggest rocks, then tossing on some occasional organic fertilizer from John Dromgoole is about it.
Toughing it out with antique roses
My Lady Banks antique rose is located on the east side of the screen porch. It's taken over the corner, wound its way through the trellis, and is now hanging out inside the rafters of the porch. I figured some vining plants were risky to plant on that corner. But having this rose become a vine sneaking its way into the porch was a surprise.
So this little lady's pretty tough. It out-competes the Mexican plums in spring blooms and always looks fresh. So trimming it out of the porch is a job on the bottom of my garden to-do list.
My other rose success is an Old Blush climber. I just finished pruning it onto a new arch to wean it away from the carport. It blooms twice a year and in summer throws new canes deep into the carport. It seems ready to go for a ride, extending leaves - and a few thorns - under the windshield wipers if we leave a car unguarded for long.
Growing to carry on tradition and keep memories
Sure, growing roses here is a challenge. But they are constant memories of my grandmother in Pennsylvania. She not only had gorgeous roses everywhere, she would root them under canning jars along the side of the house and share them with everyone.
When I stayed there during summer vacation, the smell of roses accompanied me while I read books on the porch swing. And I started my experiments in cooking here.
One summer, intrigued by a recipe in a book, I made rose petal ice cream from the naturally organic flowers at Grandma's plus some fresh cream from her Jersey cow. Not an experiment worth re-trying!
Having tough plants in my garden that bring happy memories is a deliberate decision for mental health, demonstrating the principles of Elderyarding®.