Whose Roses Are Those, Anyway?

“Those deer ate my roses! Again! They deserve to die. Bring on the Clover traps!”

So (I imagine) goes the Rant of the Entitled Gardener. The rose plants she has purchased, planted in her personal patch of paradise, and nurtured lovingly have been rudely pruned by an intruding ungulate. Of course the deer should die. How dare it destroy the private property of a human being? Being trapped, immobilized, stunned with a bolt-gun and having its throat slit (humanely, of course) is too good for it.

My roses. My garden. My property. I paid a zillion dollars for this piece of land, I pay a bundle on property taxes every year, so of course it’s mine. My word is law here. No deer, raccoon, bat, bug or microbe can exist here unless I permit it. Right here, where this line is drawn is my property. (Of course, it’s an imaginary line, but never mind that).

Right. The soil (which took thousands of years to form), the microscopic organisms that are crucial to its formation, the sunlight, rain and vegetation are all your property, even though you could not reproduce any of them to save your life. Those rose bushes exist by favour of the elements, not because you laid out dollars to acquire them.

Last night we had temperatures of -5 C (23 F) with a fierce wind from the northeast. Tonight is calm, but a low temperature of -9 C (16 F) is predicted for our area. This unusually cold weather may kill or damage some of the many palm trees that gardeners have planted here, leaving them brown and sad-looking. Except the ones whose gardeners took the trouble to wrap them in burlap or construct windbreaks. Those things detract from the look of the winter garden, but save the palms to provide that tropicalismo effect next summer.

What is the difference between this scenario and that of shrub-nibbling deer? Merely that there is nothing one can do about weather except endure it and take measures to mitigate its effects. So why don’t those gardeners outraged by deer buy some plastic mesh or chicken wire and construct deer-proof structures around vulnerable plants, exactly as the palm-loving gardeners do to get their babies through a cold snap?

The difference is attitude — on the one hand, the entitled, short-sighted, intolerant view that seems inherited from the colonial era, and on the other a realistic acceptance of the land on which one gardens.

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5 comments

  1. I used to own a nursery, when people wanted deer proof all year color
    I would always suggest Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby’s wide selection of silk flowers…

    very well put….I have met many “entitled” gardners
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    Like

    1. One of the reasons I love gardening is because I work with living things, rather than inert matter (as in other creative hobbies). It’s all about negotiating with the plants, creatures and climate forces.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

      1. I create Natural habitats, creature friendly…
        my deer love me roses but we seem to have an understanding about them these days…I treat them to corn..and they leave (most of the time) my roses alone…I enjoyed your words….gives one hope that there are more Earth Angels than I thought out there tending the Animal Kingdom….
        Take Care….
        )0(

        Like

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