The Baffins Are Coming

photo photo photoEvery year when these Baffin roses explode over the front fence I’m the recipient of vigorous, sometimes long-winded compliments about the romance of roses cascading over a weathered fence. Everyone from dog walkers to casual guests loves these roses.

Everyone but me.

Every year I think this will be the one when I take the damned things out.


They’re eating my fence, for one thing. Their canes are so tough and vigorous that they literally push the pickets off the rails.  And their thorns make disciplining the canes very painful. No rose gloves go high enough to protect your upper arms from their vicious thorns, but if you don’t get the canes growing horizontally, you end up with a bunch of eight-foot-tall canes with a pompom of flowers at the end. Not attractive.

And then there are the Japanese beetles. They also love the roses. At times they hang in the hundreds from the flowers, looking like a shiny, writhing, copper necklace. Japanese beetles shred the blooms and the leaves. Unfortunately, they don’t kill the plants.

These roses are garish. Oh, in moderation, say ten blooms on a small bush at the garden center, Baffins are pretty enough.  But thousands of them? Visible from space is not my idea of a successful gardening scheme.

I wish I had a more amusing lesson to draw from this experience.

But only this comes to mind. Gentle readers, be careful what you wish for. Because I wanted vigorous, zone 4-hardy roses that didn’t need fertilizers and constant pampering to train over my fence, just as I’d seen in so many British gardening magazines.

DO NOT PLANT Baffin roses unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences of horrendous success.

Over and out from the gardening trenches.

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5 Responses to The Baffins Are Coming

  1. Chocolate mint is my headache. They are wonderful herbs…if potted. Otherwise, they take over the universe.

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