It’s the last day of November. There is a layer of sparkling frost on roofs and the ground, but I can’t make my roses realise it’s winter now. It’s almost Christmas! But a particular rose of mine has plenty of dainty new buds and pale pink flowers on it, she’s living in spring, looking forward to summer. I hope she won’t get all shocked and disappointed when snow falls on her papery petals (or if she hears Christmas carols).
Having learnt how fungal diseases spread on roses, I decided to act for their health and safety. Basically, there is no cure for black spots or rust on rose leaves. I can only prevent it getting worse by picking up the sick leaves that have fallen on the ground.
The recent Gardeners’ World magazine had a very easy-to-understand illustration. Fungi travel long distances by wind. They land on the leaves and make them sick and ugly. The poor unhappy leaves fall on the ground. When rain falls, water splashes from the infected ground back onto the rose, making more leaves sick. That’s how I understand this serious situation. I can’t stop the fungi living or travelling. But at least, I can pick the leaves up. I’ll do everything for my roses!
But I really don’t like picking leaves up from the ground. Why? One: roses are spiky, my fingers end up with a lot of holes in them. Two: rose bushes are quite compact and dense; I can’t easily get to the leaves in the middle. So, I invented a tool for picking fallen leaves around rose bushes.
It’s basically a pair of chopsticks. They are not normal chopsticks. They’re very long ones. Normally, when Chinese people fry things that spray hot oil at you, you can use these types of chopsticks to do the cooking while standing at a safe distance. I put some rubber elastic bands at the top of them so they have more grip. And that’s it! They’re really useful to reach the fallen leaves in the middle of the bush, without leaving a lot of holes on your hands and arms. But you might need to go to Chinese restaurants and practise using chopsticks first…