kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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So this week our rosebushes died. Or rather, they were diagnosed with an incurable, fatal viral infection called Rose Rosette and we had them killed -- dug up and burned -- before it spread further. I don't know why I'm so saddened by the loss of a plant, but I am. I don't know how old they were, the one in the back yard was enormous, ten or twelve feet tall and twenty five feet wide, it might have been 75 or a hundred years old -- in any event both of them were here long before me. (I spent some time trying to find a photo of the giant rosebush, I know I have one somewhere, but the only thing I could come up with is this youtube video of my next door neighbor playing annoying elevator music and whistling along loudly with it that I took in order to shame him on twitter.) (EDIT: I did find one photo of Gary walking past the giant rose bush in 2005.)

Rose Rosette is a strange infection that started appearing in the US in the 1940's ... new growth on the plant has an enormous number of rubbery thorns, the leaves are dwarfed, the blooms are mottled -- you can tell that something's not right, but for a year or two it was a small oddity, we couldn't figure out what it was, I thought perhaps it was some interesting genetic misfire, but when the whole bush this year erupted like this our gardner, Wendy, hit the books and discovered the truth. Not only is it always fatal to the roses, but it's contagious. I was in New Jersey when trillian_stars texted to say that she'd found the tell-tale signs of it on the rose bush in the back yard too -- it was oddly crushing and we mourned their loss while landscapers dug them up and took them away.

Click to see larger.

(another shot of it here)

After it had been hauled away I found myself thinking This was never our rose bush, we didn't plant them, they didn't say anything about us, this is an opportunity to plant something together that is us. It's pragmatic, it's true -- now I can plant 30 feet of Venus Fly Traps or belladonna or peach trees or telegraph plants or resurrection ferns and while I'd never really thought one way or the other about those rose bushes their absence is a bigger void than either of us had really expected.

Click to see the rose in all its glory.

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