Thursday, 9 June 2016

Surrounded by the Enemy

Before I started this battle, or war, with rose rosette, I thought things would be simple. I believed all I had to do was tell people once, and they would take care of the problem. I believed a newspaper article, a small garden segment on the news, a flyer, anything, would open their eyes. All I could manage to accomplish was literature, flyers, and some posts on Nextdoor.  I believed my own neighbors capable of the realization that rose rosette was bad and should be eradicated as quickly as possible. I suspected my neighbors would set a shining example for other neighborhoods.

 My belief has since changed to what will it take to open the eyes of those around me? What have I failed to do? Am I a failure? My own neighbors ridiculed any information that I tried to share, it was just too bothersome to receive an email in their email box. One neighbor sent a letter accusing me of trespassing, harassment, and threatened a restraining order just for leaving a flyer on their door! Another neighbor accused me of violating nextdoor policies, another complained they just received too many email messages in their inbox.

The terms evil and spiteful comes to mind of how I am being treated. Am I supposed to just crawl into a hole and hide now? Do I now be nasty just like them? What should I do next? How can one get through to those who refuse to listen? Flyers are out of the question, so are more post on Nextdoor. I am now considering printing up signs. 

Should I consider legal action? While there is no specific law in my state forcing someone to dig up their diseased rose bushes, there are nuisance laws to protect your property. I could go to a judge showing how their diseased roses pose threaten my property and have a court order issued forcing their removal. My husband and I decided against this approach, still it does not make things any easier for us.  We are considering seeking financial compensation should we lose any more roses to rose rosette.

There are rules in my HOA about destroying vegetation, but I suppose that does not apply to roses. I am still trying to figure out why I have to sit here day after day being tormented, while others ignore the fact that they are putting everyone else's roses in danger? I have every right to protect what is mine.

I am now regretting moving here. It is not the strict rules of the HOA, lack of storage space, or even the minuscule kitchen that has turned me against my living in my home, it is my own neighbors! Their lack of compassion, decency, and respect for other people's property.  If our finances allowed, I would move away today. Living here has now become uncomfortable.

Once my mailbox was bashed a year or so ago, not sure why. My cat has been poisoned intentionally or non intentionally.  I have neighbors bashing me, neighbors turning my love of growing roses into a daily war of can and will my roses survive?  I heard rumors of tires being slashed here in this neighborhood for disagreements. I wake up each day wondering what may happen. It is like being surrounded by those who wish to destroy what you love. If the tables were turned, if I was the only one with rose rosette, would they conduct a witch hunt against me? As it stands I am outnumbered.

This war I am having with rose rosette has not been pleasant. There has been little victory as no one else seems to be removing their infected roses, especially the worst case of it right next door.. I had several roses that I had ordered before I noticed all the rose rosette in the neighborhood. For days I cried to my husband how I should not plant them, but instead send them to my brother's house. Two roses that were a gift I did not remove from the box,  but instead sent away to my brother's house. My mind and heart was playing a game of tug of war do I keep them or let them go? I choose to keep the rest of the roses against my better judgement and planted them.

Every day I look at my roses at least twice a day to see if there is any suspicious growth, grateful for each day my roses remain without signs of rose rosette. Everyday I wonder if my neighbors hate me, just don't give a damn, are really that uncaring, or are they possibly just plain dumb? Or is it a combination?  There I said it, maybe they are just plain stupid, selfish, and inconsiderate. I have been fighting being critical of my neighbors, but what other explanation could there be? It has been about 2 months now, what excuse do they have that is so compelling to explain their wanting to spread a fatal plant disease that destroys our national flower?

For the past week, I have been very sick with some sort of crappy flu. I have felt miserable, and been low on energy. I don't believe it is acceptable for me to go to public places spreading my sickness to others. There is medicine available to make me well. For a rose infected with rose rosette, there is no doctor or medicine to save it, there is no cure. It is not acceptable to spread rose rosette on purpose.  I watch slowly as most of the roses in my neighborhood look deformed, and slowly die. I believe I am wicked when I wish the roses would die quicker, maybe then they would be gone from my neighborhood.  I wonder if people are smart enough not to spread it. From what I have seen on another street, probably not, one person had a new potted rose right beside a rose infected with rose rosette. Is this how they deal with it? They have obviously not paid attention.

The worst part about rose rosette is that it spreads when it is ignored. This is the main reason that I keep posting about it is to bring awareness. Maybe my neighbors think I am stupid and I made this rose rosette disease up because Knock Outs are not my favorite rose? Knock Outs lack so many qualities that a true rose lover is looking for such as beauty, grace, elegance, fragrance, history and do you really want me to continue?

There is no such thing as a plant and forget about it rose which is what many think Knock Out roses are. People are planting what they think are plant and forget about it roses, then when the roses come down with rose rosette they just ignore it. Real roses are not meant to be forgotten. These are not people who love roses, these are people who want to pretend they can grow roses. If you are going to grow roses, please do not spread rose rosette disease.

I read of a lady losing many roses because of a negligent landscaper in a nearby subdivision. The landscaper said he would remove the diseased roses from that subdivision but never did. She lost most of her roses because of that landscaper in that subdivision. I often wonder if will I suffer the same fate. Many may think its just a rose, its just a plant. Do they also think its just a cat, its just a dog, they were old, they were sick?  Are people not supposed to love their plants? Are people not supposed to care for their plants? If a man builds a house then loses that house to a disaster, do you tell him it is just a house? If one plants a garden gives that garden care and love, is the answer its just a rose get over it? Am I not supposed to have roses because of my neighbors? 

It is not just about my neighborhood, my neighbors, my roses, it is about all roses. If I am unable to succeed, are there others out there who are also unsuccessful? Are roses doomed because so few care? There are people out there spending time, years, decades, effort and money attempting to stop rose rosette, yet it still exists.  Unfortunately my neighborhood is a prime example of why it becomes so bothersome. The problem may not have gotten so out of control if people would have listened and taken action. Again, my neighborhood is a perfect example. There are so many examples of ignorance, lack of concern, not doing anything, and taking too long to do anything that is causing way too many roses to be destroyed with rose rosette.

 I don't want to save only my roses, but other people's roses too, as many roses as possible! When I see it in public places, I now make calls or send emails. I emailed a local bank, who in return would notify their landscaper. About 2 weeks later the roses are still there. Too many landscapers are planting and forgetting roses spreading rose rosette, and this needs to stop!

 I have convinced my local cooperative extension office to give a presentation about roses, where they will inform others of rose rosette.  To me this is a victory, because it is possible others will learn about the devastation of rose rosette and take action. My neighbors have been invited, but it appears they are ignoring the invitation. The war is not yet over, my battle continues.


  1. Wow! I wish you success. Keep us posted. I love your blog!