Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beautiful but ......

How can something so beautiful that smells so sweet .....

cause such grief?

Around here, wild roses (also called multiflora roses) are nothing but trouble to any farmer who is trying to keep their pastures healthy and productive. They come up everywhere and before you know it, they are huge mounds of prickery shrubs that get bigger by the year. Our sheep will eat them when they are young and tender but once they get to be any size, they become shade for them.

As with most invasive plants, multiflora roses were imported to the U.S.A. by well-meaning botanists way back in the 1860's. The plants were used as rootstocks for ornamental roses. I'm sure those grafted ornamentals thrived if the wild roses in the pastures around here are any indication.

The Farmer does what he can to get rid of the roses in our pastures. Mostly he mows them down with his bush-hog on the back of the tractor. But sometimes, they are in a place that can't be reached - in a ravine or in a wet, swampy spot. Or under an abandoned truck in a field.

In the fall, the wild turkeys and birds, eat the beautiful red rosehips. In a day or two, the seeds come out the other end, complete with a fertilizer packet..... All ready to go in the spring. It's pretty much a lost cause. Or a lesson in vigilance.....

You probably know from reading this blog, that I've got a thing about old trucks. They are the perfect photo op - an old discarded thing that starts to become a bit of beauty. This red truck in our neighbor's field is surrounded by these crazy roses, cascading over the hood making their own bit of sculpture - both man-made and natural.

I'm sure you have something in your life that is also beautiful but causes you grief. I guess we all have to appreciate the good with the bad.


Michele said...

Love the picture of the truck with the roses - maybe there is an idea for a Toyota ad in there somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. Those roses, at this season, look and smell lovely, but they can take over a field or a patch of woods in no time, and they render an area completely inaccessible because of their amazingly sharp thorns. And like all invasives, they are so amazingly hardy and... invasive.

I took a picture of them making a "rose window" last year (visible here.... hope the HTML works)

Still, right now--if we forget the thorns and the invasiveness--they sure are pretty.

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Wow. What a photo that is! Thanks.

We have crazy roses, too. They have roots that can work horizontally for many paces, then when they hit a wall or garage or tree, the come up. If I go barefoot sometimes I find them through the thorns on those horizontal bits, just under the surface.

At last count we have four of these (they climb if given a chance) on our lot which is not as wide as a city bus is long. I can spend hours every week clipping them back to beautiful (rather than weedy) condition. Even with thick leather gloves, sometimes I get hurt in the process.

And then they bloom (dark magenta which fades to pink). And I forgive them. And we start again.

Diane said...

Ah Yes, multiflora rose!!! I've been blogging about this wonderful plant also. I cut our field down this spring and I swear that stuff reaches out and grabs me and then rips the life right out of me as I mow past it! My farmer, Honey, is trying to clear it but boy is it a lot of work. The other thing we have growing by the tons is poison ivy & oak. We let the field go for way too long and now we are paying. We're retiring to the woods!

By the way, I love reading your farm musings and get a real treat out of your pics of the sheep! Thanks for simple pleasures.


Champagne/StitchPoet said...

hmmm....something in your life that is also beautiful but causes you grief....heavens, I think that must be my husband!

Your last post was also a beautiful grief causing scene! I wanted to paint that picture of the sheep rounding the corner!

oovvhughugstitchstitch, champagne

Sojourner Design said...

Multiflora roses are a source of grief here (in Northampton MA) too. During the 1950's the USDA actually advised farmers to plant it as a "living fence!"

If you manage to kill it it becomes even more evil; the stickers harden as they dry out and dig deeper into the skin.

On the other hand, when rotated into fresh pasture my sheep tend to go for the multiflora rose bushes first. I've read that plants with deep root systems are able to bring nutrients to the surface and provide trace minerals etc to the animals that can't be supplied by grass.

And, on yet the OTHER hand, my greatest source of grief and an increasingly serious problem here is bittersweet vine.


Juddie said...

Isn't it crazy that something so wonderful causes problems. I must say, I like weeds sometimes, especially such fabulous ones as these roses. After all, weeds are really just 'plants out of place'.

But it must be crazily difficult to try to control rampant roses like this .....

Good luck, and thanks for the great pics!

日月神教-向左使 said...