I know that “into every life a little rain must fall…”

But four inches in 24 hours seems a tad excessive. It certainly was for my luxurious New Dawn climbing roses.


Two of the three New Dawns were ravaged by the rains and 30 MPH winds. I would sit down and have a good, long cry, but frankly, I’m more cranky and confounded than sad.

I’m cranky because these trellises cost a pretty penny and weren’t really that sturdy to begin with. (Hear that J&P?) Okay, I’m also crabby that I didn’t have a real plan for these roses when I planted them. I was a novice gardener and didn’t know that New Dawn roses are NOT delicate plants, but are really dagger-spiked behemoths, even if they are pink.

And I’m confounded as to how to support these rampaging roses without unlocking the family vault and hauling out wheelbarrows full of money to throw at the problem.

I had planned to install a fence to support them until the fence experts told me a custom fence would cost me nearly as much as a new car. Then I wanted to build a trellis system until I had to acknowledge that I’m not designed for digging two-foot deep holes in hardpan Maryland clay. I could buy some dynamite, I suppose, but I don’t like fireworks either.

So I went for what I hoped was the easy, if not necessarily cheap, solution. After two years and four inches of rain since yesterday, I concede that the easy solution was not a long-term solution.

So here we are–me and my beautiful, devastated beasts. The rain has meant more than a bit of dampness. Now I have a real dilemma.

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  • Kate says:

    Oh, now that’s a shame, Robin. Yes, the weather here has been terrible lately. Like April and it’s May! Those howling winds lasted nearly 24 hours. Sorry to hear about your roses.

  • El says:

    Ah, girl! It’s just your clay soil and not necessarily the wind that knocked them down. When clay gets supersaturated, bad things happen 🙂 You should see what I try to do to keep sunflowers aloft around here. Big boards laying on their roots with concrete blocks to hold them down: yes, NOT exactly ready for that closeup for the gardening magazine!!

    Anyway, I guess all I can say is this is what I expect will happen with anything I set to stand tall around here. The New Dawns will be fine, as they’re kind of (beautifully) weedy anyway. Once the soil dries out, it’ll concrete up quite quickly around the trellises.

  • Robin says:

    Bless your heart; I hope you find a satisfactory solution for your roses. And I hope you have lots of sunshine to dry out your soggy clay “soil”,

  • Gail says:

    So sorry, the winds we had were terrible but without the rain. New Dawn seems kill proof here at Clay and Limestone.

    I think the trellis with hog fencing that Pam (Digging) has in her Austin garden is economical and sturdy, but not sure it would work in your garden. What do you think?


  • Oh, Robin, I am truly sorry. ‘New Dawn’ is not for the intrepid. Mine are trying, right now, to pull over a very large arbor. I hope you find a solution. They are pretty if troublesome.~~Dee

  • Christine says:

    I have heard of letting larger more robust roses climb up trees. Would that be an option?

  • Angela says:

    Come on over! I’ve got more than a few wading pools in the backyard from the rain.

  • Brenda Kula says:

    I don’t have the slightest idea. I’ve never gotten roses to do all that well, and I don’t know why. So I’m not about to touch this one!

  • Pam/Digging says:

    I’m sorry about your roses and your trellises too, Robin. I hope you can find a good solution that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

  • Lisa in CA says:

    Robin, I am really sorry about the damage to your roses. Mother Nature can be flat out mean sometimes.

  • What a drag! I don’t know how economical it would be, but I’ve seen Roses grown on anchor chains between stout wooden uprights.

  • Kim says:

    Oh man… that sucks. I have faith in you if you decide to dig those holes in the Maryland clay after all, though. I remember all of the good work you did when you first got that garden started!

  • Layanee says:

    I feel your pain! I do have New Dawn on the pool fence and the pool fence is pretty basic. It is a necessity to fence a pool here according to zoning rules but this fence is heavy wire fencing which really disappears from a distance. I wanted the area to feel less enclosed. If you could get those ‘boys’ to dig you just a few post holes you could then put fancy posts in and just galvanized metal fencing which won’t show once the roses grow around it. Fancy posts, beautiful roses and disappearing fencing. Just a thought. Oh, what you really need is an Equipment Manager.

  • zvrk says:

    I have had my New Dawn rose growing against the wall of our house (as it’s usually the case in England)since we got it for our wedding (it will be soon 10! years) and it’s been trouble free.
    Hope you’ll have luck with yours (finally!)

  • Rick says:

    Sorry to hear about the trellis problems. I have started to vote with my dollars. Before $4/gallon gas, I used to play “baseball” with a vendor. Three strikes, and they were “OUT!” Not any more, one strike and they are out. If a product does not do as advertised, they hear about it, and I do not become a repeat customer. I don’t know any other way to get companies attention. There are too many people out there trying to get my consumer dollar to buy faulty or sub-par products!
    Okay, I will get off my soapbox now…