Roses are like children. You yell at them when you shouldn't. You ignore them when they want your attention. You forget to give them lunch money. But they forgive you and love you anyway. They continue to bring you joy beyond measure and so it is with my roses.
I knew from the beginning that this would be a good year for the roses. They got an early start, just like every other thing in the garden this year, since spring came about three weeks before it usually does. There were flower buds forming before they barely had enough leaves to support themselves.
So I let them do their thing. I went about other gardening business, both inside and out, and I didn't give the roses much notice. Time passed and then they started to bloom. Well, that got my attention now, didn't it?
As I walked over to admire a bloom, I said to myself, "Ooooooh! Ahhhhhh!" and I took a sniff at it. "Mmmmmmm..." And it was then that I saw that all was not right in Eden. The leaves had multiple holes in them. Nearly all the leaves, especially toward the bottom of the plants. If I hadn't known better, I'd have thought the Japanese Beetles had come early, too.
But that wasn't it. After some investigation and seeing little tiny worms crawling on the underneath sides and even one big enough that it would have made good fish bait, I realized every single one of my roses was under attack by sawfly larvae. There are a couple different species that attack rose leaves and mine were a light green with only faint white markings. There may be another insect in cahoots with the sawflies, too.
I'd let it go on far too long, but I got out the Bayer 3-in-1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control*, mixed it up and gave the roses a spray. I don't like to use anything, but dire circumstances call for drastic measures.
So how did the roses repay me for my negligence?
See? Just like kids. I've been forgiven.
* Contains Merit insecticide, which is toxic to bees and should be applied when bees are not active.