If ever there was proof that we are living the Chinese Curse, 2014 was that proof. We are indeed living in interesting times.
2014 has been one of those years – for nearly everyone I know. It has been a year of highs and lows, of triumphs and frustrations, of deaths and of new beginnings. It has not been easy, but in the end, it has been worthwhile.
Our 2014 came in with a bang – although the previous October started off with an earler-than-usual hard frost, our weather leading up through the holidays led to vibrant new growth on my favorite Granada rose bush, which I photographed with some disbelief on Christmas Eve.
Then, in the first week of January, we had back to back lows of 8 and 7 degrees respectively, the lowest I have personally experienced in my life, which resulted in a burst water pipe in the studio, along with the death of all that vibrant new growth on the Granada rose. What can I say? I’m a Sun Belt baby. I remembered to leave the water dripping in the main house, but although I remembered to crank up the heat in the studio, I forgot all about leaving the water dripping. Oops.
I thought it might be the death of the rose itself, but it wound up coming back strong in the spring, and today – New Year’s Eve 2014 – it has vibrant new growth again, despite several hard freezes so far, including back to back lows of 19 degrees and 17 degrees respectively in early November. Quite a rose – especially considering that I fell in love with it during my childhood in suburban Los Angeles, both from the rose bush my mother planted in our back yard, and for the many more from which Granada Park in Monterey Park took its name.
Tonight we are expecting a low of 27 degrees, with the same again tomorrow night. Tomorrow, I will be taking cuttings from the rose to root over the winter. I am pretty confident that I can get them to root, but if not, cutting the rose bush back at this point will only help it, as it will then put all its efforts into its root system. And, if they do root, I’ll have that many more Granada roses to enjoy.
Most sources cite the Granada rose, and heirloom variety also known as Donatella, as being hardy from Zones 6 through 9, though a couple of sources state that it is hardy to Zone 5a, which is exceptionally hardy for a hybrid tea rose. My mother’s Granada that I loved so much as a child was huge and spectacular by the time we moved across town, gorgeous in its nearly year-long bloom, and the sweet, spicy scent was always what I really loved about it – it was completely in its element in Southern California.
After leaving my native California, I tried several times to grow it in my adopted home in the Tampa Bay area, but the rose was less than pleased wth the high humidity and low soil fertility, and did only okay, never living beyond a few years. Our water table was too high, and although it would do okay for a year or two, eventually it would drown during a period of flooding. Roses like water, but not THAT much water – and the high sulphur content in the local groundwater was probably not helpful. C’est la vie.
Our current Granada rose abides beneath our bedroom window, our only south-facing window, and was covered in blooms up until the beginning of October. Interestingly, for the second year in a row, it has shot up a huge vertical cane over six feet tall, although it is not typically a climber. Apparently it forgot to read that part in its description. Last year’s cane died in our ridiculously hard pipe-bursting freezes, and this year’s cane will be drastically shortened tomorrow, leading I hope to more vigorous growth in the spring.