Spring 2012 rolled around and with high hopes of bushels of flowers, gardening began again in earnest. The roses recovered from their 2011 doldrums and produced nicely all through May. There were however, a few more flower fatalities and some slackers who just hadn't recovered in the courtyard. Replacements were chosen and planted. Extra waterings and fertilizer were brought to bear with some success. Thinking all was well, we left for a two-week vacation in June. Upon our return, we were greeted by stripped rose bushes. The gang of rabbits that inhabit the Casa Wallace property had voraciously eaten the leaves from the bottom of the canes to about mid-way. The bushes looked like they had been given a faux-hawk. Fertilizing and watering in earnest, my hopes were dashed as the the roses continued in a pathetic state of suspended animation. My husband has had to put up with some serious griping about the trials of gardening in the high desert. How I longed for the loam of Back East.
Our neighbors down the road moved a few weeks ago and presented us with their supply of fertilizers when they were cleaning out the garage. We often commiserated on the struggles of desert gardening. Gratefully I added them to my shelf and started experimenting with some I hadn't tried before--fish fertilizer. If throwing a couple of dead fish in the hole with corn and squash was good enough for the Iroquois, it had to be for me. Although the bottle says low odor, don't believe it. The smell of expired fish now permeates the rose garden. The dog, who is a large black Labrador is in absolute heaven. He even licked the spoon I was using to mix up the stuff. (It's organic and harmless.) Clancy stands sniffing the air and then the ground, his eyes shining blissfully. He's tempted to roll in the lantana, but so far he's controlled himself. Let's hope this works and the smell of roses once again graces the front yard.