My rose cuttings are blooming again! I am so happy to see that several of my cuttings survived the rainy season here in the tropics. It was particularly vicious this year and we had a 25 day bout of non stop rain. They called it a “tropical depression” on the news. I think I was the one who ended up with a tropical depression before it was over. I was bored to death with the incessant rain and I was beggining to forget what the sun looked like. To make matters worse, I lost about eight or so of the rose cuttings that my mother had sent me a few months before which were already well rooted and some were even blooming. I can’t blame it entirely on the rain though. I was also at fault. I made the mistake of transplanting the baby roses the week before the storms began and that weakened them greatly.
My mother had sent me about 20 cuttings from her prize winning roses several months earlier and amazingly, about 15 of them rooted. It was truly a rooting record for me because usually I’m lucky to get 2 or 3 of them to root at a time. This time I’d had great success for some mysterious reason. But I had made the mistake of planting 5 or 6 cuttings per pot because of course I wasn’t expecting so many of them to live. In very little time they began to grow taller and soon they were full of leaves and blooms. They began to look crowded in the little pots so I decided to transplant them to individual pots. I was as careful as possible but the roots were so entangled with each other that it was difficult to know which root belonged to what plant. I know that they suffered with the handling. But I figured they’d recover with some care, regular watering and abundant sunshine. And then, Wham! Two days later the storms hit. I have never seen so much water. I was sure that it would continue for 40 days and 40 nights. Thankfully it lasted only half that time but that was quite enough to do serious damage. Within a week I had lost Miss Amber, Almost Black, Rock and Roll, Silver Lady, one Heirloom and one Climbing Joseph’s Coat along with a couple of others who’s names escape me right now. I tried bringing them inside whenever it began to rain hard in an effort to shield them. Then I’d take them back outside when the rain let up a bit, but it was to no avail. The air itself was so humid that the roses were always soaked. They turned brown and then black and then white with mold. However, there were a few roses that I had not transplanted yet and those were the ones that survived. Among them are one Mr. Lincoln (a tall velvety red rose with incredibly long lasting blooms) Heirloom (a beautiful purple rose) One climbing Joseph’s Coat (it’s the only one I have left!) and five others that are crammed into one pot and are as yet unidentified because they lost their name tags during the storm and they haven’t bloomed yet. They are looking beautiful and healthy with abundant glossy green leaves! Double Delight almost didn’t make it and it lost all of it’s leaves, but it survived and is recovering. It already has one beautiful intoxicatingly fragrant bloom which opened up yesterday. I’m hoping that one of the five that survived is another Miss Amber. That’s my favorite rose of all time because of its deep coral colored blooms. Keeping my fingers crossed!