About six weeks ago, a friend of mine offered to give me some mature roses he didn’t want. “But it’s the middle of August,” I said. Not exactly, in other words, the best time for a transplant. But it was this or straight to the compost heap. As it happens, six weeks on, five of the seven are doing fine—most recently, the oldest-looking one decided it might as well live.

This is, if I count correctly, the third time someone has made such an offer to me, to get rid of mature roses. There are always various reasons, but they generally include, “they take so much work.” This puzzles me. Any plant that can get uprooted and dumped into the dusty Davis mid-August clay and six weeks later have a full complement of branches and flowers is a pretty hardy thing.

Which has always, both in our old house and here, been the case. Despite appearances, roses are tough and take care of themselves pretty well.