Ever-Blooming Roses During the Good, the Bad, and the Bugly: Borers of Bitterness

The destruction of a cane borer.

Borers of Bitterness

While puttering about my urban rose garden one Spring day, I discovered a hollow and dying cane on one of my hybrid teas. Though small and usually unseen, the rose borer impacts the life of a rose’s cane and possibly the entire plant. The rose borer is a worm like larvae that typically digs into and hollows out a freshly cut cane. They also target young more pliable canes to dig in to and set up their nests. A rose borer could be labeled as a good bug as it eats its share of aphids. However, the rose borer could easily be labeled a bad bug as well for it causes canes to wilt and die. Furthermore, some borers just keep digging until they reach the bud union at the base of the rose bush potentially causing the entire bush to perish.

​To protect your roses from borers, seal off freshly cut canes with a dab of Elmer’s multipurpose glue. Refrain from using Elmer’s school glue as rain fall or watering your roses can wash off the sealant. Also, in a pinch, you could drop clear nail polish on the end of a freshly cut cane, but be advised chemicals in the nail polish could damage the cane, which defeats the purpose. If you notice the damage of a borer, go ahead and cut back the cane until you reach the healthy filling of a cane. Upon doing so, seal off the end of it. With each cut you make of your canes, dab on the Elmer’s glue so the borers will eventually run out of options.

​“Bind this warning, ‘Seal the Torah within My disciples’.” Isaiah 8:16

Elmer’s Glue seals a rose cane.
Smokin’ Hot, a hybrid tea rose.

The internal damage an unsuspecting rose borer does to a rose bush reminds me of how easily the unrecognizable sins of unforgiveness and bitterness creeps within the canes of our soul. I have noticed in my own life, I tend to forgive others for their harmful behavior towards me, but often I fail to forgive myself for some of my own harmful and impacting decisions. Without even realizing it, hints of bitterness borrow deep into my canes. Nightmares and other circumstantial triggers clued me into such a wilting and potentially devastating issue hidden within my heart. Despite knowing Abba Father (God) forgives those who repent (Psalm 103; Isaiah 1:16-20, 43:25), I would walk around with self-imposed shame, guilt, and condemnation. While I realize I cannot control the actions of others, I can control my choices. Unfortunately, we must live with the consequences of our choices and one particular decision haunted me for years.

Thankfully, upon realizing our Father’s love and lavish mercies, I could cut out the bitterness and unforgiveness bored deep within my soul, while sealing my heart and mind with His commandments like we seal the freshly cut cane with Elmer’s glue preventing further damage. When I reflect on His forgiveness, love, and instructions for living, I am free to flourish producing “ever-blooming roses”.

‘Florentina’ Transplant Update

Since relocating my climbing Kordes rose, known as ‘Florentina’, last fall, she is showing positive signs of healthy growth this March. In a previous post, I noted that Florentina was failing to thrive on my beach balcony, but after permission from the HOA, I was able to transplant her into a sunny garden bed here in my condominium community.

Thus far, the foliage looks healthy and she certainly is growing sprawling canes. I hope to see her produce luscious blooms of brilliant red in the near future!

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A Sucker or a Rose?

If you are a person familiar with the Bible, you probably are familiar with the concept of God being like a shepherd. Ezekiel 34 speaks to God judging between sheep, rams, and goats to see who is truly of His flock and who isn’t.

sucker

{photo credit: Hanford Rose}

Similarly, us gardeners need to discern between actual rose canes and something called “suckers”. Many rose bushes you buy at local home improvement stores and nurseries are grafted onto a hardy, vigorous root stock. If you see a knot at the base of a rose, this is called a “bud union” where the two plants are united. Once planted, below the ground is the hardy root stock. Above the ground is the bush you selected for it’s color, fragrance, disease resistance, etc. Sometimes, what’s known as a “sucker” grows up out of the ground alongside the rose bush you purchased. The sucker is a separate cane that has manifested from the root stock. The sucker often looks similar at first to the rose bush you bought – after all, it is still a rose cane. Eventually, as both the sucker and the intended rose bush develop, the gardener will realize the sucker is indeed a very different bloom than the one they bought. If one is new to rose gardening though, it would be easy to assume the sucker is in fact a normal part of the rose bush until both mature. It is then, one will clearly be able to differentiate the two just like the reapers could in the parable of the wheat and tares. Once the gardener determines the difference, the sucker must be removed.

How about you? Are you a glorious rose in God’s garden or are you a look-alike sucker that will eventually be removed?

Ever-Learning

aphid

{photo credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey}

Now that it appears Spring has fully sprung, I discovered an influx of aphids enjoying my aspiring rose buds. Aphids are tiny insects that smother the tips of rose canes, foliage, and buds while sucking the life out of any given plant. Left unchecked they can damage a rose bush and therefore, prevent a hopeful bud from blooming. Aphids often camouflage with the greenery of many plants, although they can come in a variety of colors. Perplexed as to why an abnormal amount of aphids were clinging to my canes this Spring, I reached out to my local rose society for answers. Despite my roses’ healthy foliage, nutritious soil, and lack of disease, most likely the mild winter didn’t suppress the previous year’s aphid population and their eggs allowing for more to flourish this year. Thankfully, with rose gardening comes an informative community of rosarians ready to help one succeed in growing beautiful roses whether through your local rose society or online. Facebook groups offer a fun way to see blooms from all around the world while getting answers fast! Regardless if one is educated through the web, books, experience or all of the above, gardening, particularly rose gardening, requires an attitude of ever-learning!

Similarly, I have found as a rose in God’s garden, we too need an ever-learning attitude for there is always more to learn about God, His Word, and His principles. After all, it shouldn’t surprise us that there is an infinite amount to learn about an infinite God. If you aren’t growing in God, then you probably are shriveling just as the aphids do to the foliage of a rose. Perhaps now is the time to reach out to your local body of Christ, being the church, to get the answers, accountability, and the encouragement you need to thrive just as I needed to reach out to my local rose society for help.

To learn more about treating aphids and other insects commonly found in the garden, get a copy of my book Ever-Blooming During the Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.