How to Tame a Wild Rose

As a gardener, this year has hit me hard because I am still recovering from my kidney transplant surgery.  I’m doing well, but my doctors aren’t allowing me to play in the dirt.  If I do anything else, I have to wear a mask and gloves.  Anyway, since I’m not the type of person to indulge in self-pity parties, I took advantage of the recent cloud cover and took down a wild rose that has worked its way into the pomegranate tree in the backyard.

The ongoing California drought has taught me well. Since there seems to be no end to it right now, I still look on the bright side. With the drought and fire season in full force, I am still saving water. I only water my plants, shrubs and trees once a week. If anything dies, that’s all right with me. Now, I’m looking at my home landscaping as an “almost” blank canvas. When I get the doctors’ approval to dig in the dirt, I’m going to incorporate hardscape and drought resistant plants to my yards. Right now, me and Mister Jack have agreed not to have a garden this year. He has allowed the lawn to die.

For me, it’s all about saving water and electricity. Since I grew up on a pear orchard in the Sacramento River Delta, I appreciate what farmers do.  Farmers work so hard and take incredible risks because farming relies on the weather.  The lack of rain and snow has hit California agriculture hard, and many family farming businesses continue to suffer.

So this is my game plan this year, and I’m sticking to it:

1) No annual vegetable garden.
2) Buy produce from California farmers.

kill the rose 139kill the rose 137kill the rose 152kill the rose 156

The rose had been ignored for several years.  I have a collection of gloves.  The thorns on a wild rose are just plain nasty.  My worn rose gloves would not do because of the worn leather and holes in the gloves.  I ended up using another pair of gloves.  You cannot be careful enough when working with these thorns.  I can’t walk away from a wild rose without some kind of wound.  Although I admire its roses, there are times when you have to bleed for its beauty.

kill the rose 140

This is what I have left.  The summer sun was getting to me, so I quit for the day.  Gardening is always a work in progress, and I’d rather be gardening than doing housework.  We agreed to take the rose down to ground level.  Although Mister Jack offered to move it to another place in the backyard, I have my doubts.  Since our yards have changed since we first moved in, we need to change our landscaping to something that suits our needs.  Although gardening has always been a part of my life, I’m looking at plants and shrubs that need less water and care.


  1. marlenebertrand · July 9, 2014

    I am so glad you are doing well in your recovery. Just the fact that you can get out for a short while says a lot. I know that mask was extremely hot in this hotter-than-ever weather. I have a rambling rose in the far right corner of my yard. I cut it back to about three feet. It grows so fast and although it is gorgeous when it blooms, it always seems to be overgrowing the area, encroaching on other plant space. I didn’t know I could cut it down to the ground and still keep the plant alive.

    I’m really paying attention to this drought situation, too. Hubby and I have cut back on watering and so far the plants have not suffered. In fact, I discovered on my little trip to Napa that grapes are sweeter when they are “stressed” from drought-like climates. We didn’t grow as many vegetables this year. In fact, like you we want to support local farmers. Going to farmer’s markets and flea markets makes a lot of sense to us. Also, instead of going to the grocery store, we buy corn or whatever we can from a local farmer. We live out in the country and pass by at least two farmers selling their harvest, so there is no excuse for us passing by a farmer’s fruit or vegetable stand and not buying what that farmer is offering. There is a lady up the street who raises poultry and sells eggs. We all need each other to survive in this world. Every little bit helps. It’s so good to know people like you, Arlene who feel the same way.

    • Arlene Poma · July 9, 2014

      Marlene, us Californians would be nothing without the ag industry! You and your hubby are very fortunate to own your piece of Heaven in NorCal. I live in the North Sac ‘hood, but I’m so close to everything because I need medical attention. All I need to do is get in my car and drive. Within minutes, I’m in Placer County to the north. Or I can drive south and look for country goodies. There are so many farms and farmers markets around here, and that is what makes living here so easy. Also, Sacramento has its restaurants and the Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Movement. I cannot afford to attend the major culinary events ($$$), but there’s plenty of other events that are either free or not as hard on the wallet. For health reasons, I will always need to be minutes from Kaiser Permanente. Because of my surgery and my post-surgery appointments, I was very lucky to live about 15 minutes from the UCD Medical Center. I was born in Sacramento, but grew up in the Delta. The summer I turned 12, we moved to South Sacramento because my father retired. Both of us kinda died when we moved away from that pear orchard. It didn’t belong to my father. He farmed for the owners and hired his workers. As a child, I tagged along and worked in that orchard with his crew. That is why I don’t mind working hard. I mean, I was born with a work ethic. I like working hard so that I can sleep at night. I find a lot of peace when I’m out in the country. This includes the rugged coast of California–near the Oregon border. And forests. Anyway, thank you for your recent tour of Napa. It was a wonderful video. I know nothing about wine, but I’m sure you’ve got plenty of ideas on wine making after your recent trip. The only project my hubby and I collaborate on is pomegranate jelly from our pomegranate tree out back. We agreed to make the jelly to give as gifts every Christmas. The jelly is a hit. Unfortunately, I look at this year’s pomegranates and wonder if I’ll have enough juice to make our homemade jelly. Ugh. But that’s okay. There’s always next year. I hope!!! Anyway, it’s all about living simple. I can’t wait until I can get back to a “normal” gardening schedule. Until then, I’m sure I can find something else to do.

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