18 May 2006 - 2:12 PM
If only their needs were miniature, too
Inadvertently left off yesterday's list:
4 basil plants (back), 1 'Kentucky Colonel' spearmint (front, by the pond, next to the lemon balm), and 1 yellow miniature rose 'Canyon Cupido' which Maman gave me (front, in the centre bed).
Maman likes giving me miniature roses. I like miniature roses as a concept but I find they're kind of tricky in terms of practical application.
They make terrible houseplants. Every ill that can befall a rose seems to befall them when kept potted. Spider mites and powdery mildew seem to be baseline problems; it only gets worse from there. I once tried to deal with a potted mini with those problems with some horticultural soap and a move outdoors. Not only did the spider mites thrive in spite of the soap and the mildew not dissipate with more ventilation, but it got aphids and blackspot into the bargain. It was less a potted plant than a potted assortment of biblical plagues. I half expected it to get its own tiny cloud and rain of miniature frogs.
Miniature roses seem to do better outdoors, or at least winter provides a season without bugs and fungus so they can start fresh in the spring, however bedraggled they are by September.
They're sort of a bother from a design standpoint, too. Most of 'em are small enough you have to put them at the front of the border, but no one sane has ever argued that a rose bush is a shrub of great beauty. Beautiful flowers, yes. Beautiful shrub, not so much.
There's also the matter of them needing to be fed and pruned and weeded and mulched just like the full-sized bushes, only with the gardener's face about 6 inches above ground level. Which, to be fair, is a height you need to stoop to sometimes with larger shrubs, but somehow it seems more inconvenient to be doing it with the miniature.
Oh well, no one ever said pretty things come without sacrifice. Remind me of that next time I'm cussing and picking miniature thorns out of my thumbs.