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When rose gardening gets rough

Updated: Jan 16

If you feel discouraged with gardening or rose gardening in 2022, I hope this post helps you in a small way to assure you that you have done the best you can and give you some encouragements. I, too, experience gardening adversities.

This spring, if you lived next door to my house, you would hear me growl and scream with anger almost every morning when I came out. My pleasant garden visits quickly turned into visits filled with disappointments and anger. It feels like entering a battle field.

It's hot, it's humid, it feels sticky, and what I see in front of me really makes me angry and want to cry. The garden which once looked tidy and lovely, now is/has:

  • full of holes from armadillos digging ALL OVER the place (yes it's my daily battle with them still, I get extra lucky because there's more than one armadillos due to the wilderness behind my fence)

  • Small plants got uprooted

  • Perenials and annuals which I bought and planted were dead and are slowly dying due to their roots getting disturbed repeatedly from armadillos

  • full of barriers that I set up along the fence trying to block armadillos. Totally beautiful!

  • awful smell of mothballs which I experimented trying to use them as armadillos repellent. They end of repelling

  • full of weeds and more weeds

  • full of pests - thrips, leafhopper nymphs and who know what else

  • full of my frustrations

We spent NOT just a few minutes, but hours, weeks, and even months trying to create our sanctuary and little space in hope to see our fruits of labor. I totally felt cheated when I came out one day and armadillos destroyed what I created in one night. I was really angry, felt despair, and discouraged.

I get frustrated too (trust me). That's ABSOLUTELY OKAY to experience anger, disapointments, frustrations, and discouragements. Things happening around our world have made life challenging to live on a daily basis since Covid and now inflation. Many of us start seeking gardening as a way to create small joy by growing plants/flowers, to relieve work/life related-stress, or escape from daily life uncertainties/struggles and many more.

I hear you and I totally understand because I, too, am in the same boat.

But here's the thing......our mental health/engery is so important. Getting frustrated is okay, feeling disappointment is okay, getting mad is okay but it doesn't serve us to hang on to these negative feelings. It's best to recognize situations, let go of things we can't control, and set our new expectations of what we can accept in a way that it won't cause too much stress.

Gardening and roses in general has taught me important lessons year after year (and I'm still learning, thanks armadillos!):

We can only do so much: trying to control external factors is a losing battle - is something I've learned the HARD WAY be it in personal life, parenting, work, even gardening.

Prevention is great and we can do it to a certain degree, know that we try to be resourceful, do what we can to prevent bad things from happening...yet it is still happening...grrrrr! As a former perfectionist, an inability to control stressed me out badly. Over a lifetime later I finally learned to let go and go with the flow. Life changing!!

Dealing with mother nature is extremely stressful as she will do whatever she wants and whether we like it or not. Since I don't spray, I notice a higher volume of pests this spring - much higher than last year. Not spraying my roses with anything does make me question if my roses will survive or not year after year. That's the fact.

I know I can't change this weather. It's beyong my control. I may still get frustrated, but that won't' change this climate and these pests from coming in. However, I'll change my internal factor - something I can control.

If I can't be outside longer than 5 mins in this heat I can't expect my roses to look all healthy and still have pretty blooms. Instead, I'm going to do what I can to nurture them, water, feed them well, thank them for still trying to give me flowers even though they're small and not full, let them go dormant if they want to, enjoy what they can give, and most importantly breath.

Your hardwork is NOT a waste of time/money or energy: the way many of us see this - we spent LOTS AND LOTS of money buying soil, compost, fertilizer, benefical insects, preventative sprays and all things garden-related to create our garden. Not to mention back breaking and sweaty hours of digging holes, planting, and all.

But you know what?

First thing first, you're determined to bring your vision to life and you did take the actions to make it happen.

Look at it as a life goal. Even if the end result wasn't exactly what we're hoping for, but you were excited and had fun during the process and you DID it. Focus on the journey, not the destination if that mattered.

What about those hours of you breaking your back working so hard and sweating your buns off in the garden? Think about how many calories you burned or new tricks/tips you may have discovered. You may not realize you had a great workout, got stronger from lifing soil, bending up and down working in your yard. Kudos to you!

You haven't lost anything, you've gained physical strenght and got extra points for determination.

You have gained new knowledge, even new friendship with new garden friends, and the best part? - new experience through this challenging journey.

Take a step back: each and everyone of us face adversities at different points in our lifetime. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to step back or take a break to allow some room to breath and then try again.

Perhaps we can find something else to focus on, and come back if/when you're emotionally ready. Do you like tea? I love tea and I like to experiment trying different types of tea. Having an afternoon tea and reading a good book is uplifting.

I have taken several breaks from my garden a few times this spring when I experience frequent armadillo visits and yucky thrips crawling all over my roses. I take a break fro my garden and find something else to focus on. Then when I feel I'm in a better state of mind to cope, I go out again. That makes a different when your mind is in a better state to face/cope with challenges.

I hope you all stay cool and feel encouraged to continue with your gardening or rose gardening when you want to again. Despite unsual, early hot weather, I managed to fill up this small jar with a few roses out of 50 that I have before heat/sun fried them the other day. Take are all.


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