Digging Up Roses And Examining The Root Systems; Saliva Discolor
I was very pleased to discover sizable root systems on 'Beloved' and 'Flaming Peace'.
Rosa 'Flaming Peace':
I dug the roses up in order to move them to a more appropriate location. I'm in the process of taking everything a %^&* rabbit might want to eat or hide in off the front slope, so the two roses had to go. Since they needed ugly hardware cloth cylinders to prevent rabbits from eating them, I wanted to move them no matter what.
Closer inspection revealed that those impressive root systems were mostly boxwood roots from the adjacent hedge (also being removed). I thought the color of the roots seemed kind of odd--too light. 'Beloved' also had a large Cercis occidentalis root, thick as my wrist, bisecting its territory. The Cercis is about 10' away, and sent a root out specifically to suck up 'Beloved's water supply. Grrrr, heck!
With boxwood and Cercis roots removed:
I hope the two roses survive in their new locations--at least they won't have to share their water with trees or boxwood. 'Flaming Peace' had its best year ever in 2010: it loved the cool summer. 'Beloved', a sibling of 'Veterans Honor', from the same seed pod, I think I read, has consistently better form than Veteran's Honor, with better stems for cutting, but less fragrance. Rust resistance is better than average, and better than 'Veteran's Honor'. 'Veteran's Honor' is mild as to fragrance, but fairly reliable. 'Beloved's is discernible only if you have a vivid imagination and a habit of self-deception. Originally called 'Cesar E. Chavez' to honor the labor leader, 'Beloved' is a fine rose under any name. I hope it survives the move.
Salvia discolor, fat, happy, and guarded:
I replanted the two roses close to Salvia discolor. This is rather a messy Salvia in that it constantly drops sticky litter onto the driveway. However, it has not spread at all--has been, root-wise, perfectly well behaved--quite a relief after rampant Salvia 'Black and Blue' took over part of the front yard. I have gotten two S. discolor seedlings after about 6 years, so it's not a rampant re-seeder, either. In the past drought, the plant died back somewhat and looked rather stressed. This year's generous fall rain has made it particularly fat and happy. Rain or not, the plant blooms year round in our garden. It is not irrigated, but there is irrigation nearby, so perhaps it has tapped into that, though generally I can say it is highly drought-tolerant. The black flowers are distinctive. That tiny little curl at the tip just amazes me.
Our Salvia discolor is the main food supply for a very aggressive Allen's Hummingbird. It seems as if the same bird has been making a living from this plant for two or three years, which makes me think this is an Allen's, since they are reported to live year-round in coastal Southern California. The bird hides in a 'Crepuscule' rose just behind the Salvia, and zips out, screeching, to attack any other hummingbird that tries to get a sip of discolor nectar. The little hellion has buzzed me on several occasions, today as a matter of fact, when I was planting 'Beloved' just to the north of the Salvia. I've yet to be successful getting a photograph of the bird. It moves too fast.
There's nothing so amazing as feeling the wings of a hummingbird touch your cheek, even if the hummer is intent on murder. It is slightly more tolerant of me--I've seen it perform vicious pecks, mid-flight, on terrified Anna's and Black Chins, with tiny feathers exploding outward from the impact. That nectar must be tasty.
At one point I thought about removing the Salvia because of the sticky mess on the driveway, but since it supports such a commanding bird, the Salvia must stay. I have one seedling, growing well--perhaps another plant, supporting another ornery hummer, would be a good idea? Would the bird get even more aggressive trying to guard two Salvias? Dare I drive it crazy with plenty?