In the Adelaide hills, rose plants are being put in large enclosures (cages) to protect them from the possums. My mother-in-law calls the possums “those furry bastards” because they savage all her plants (and thirst after roses) even though she planted some natives specifically for them. She blames the population explosion on the people that feed them bread and honey – if you don’t bring an offering, they bite your feet through the sandals. I guess toes can look pretty appetising, like human sausages with a little ridge cap nail on the end. A delicacy.
I love these striped Floribunda-type roses – they remind me of carnation experiments at Questacon. When I was little, a science fair had them all lined up, each stem sucking up different colours to change the petals. The best rose-lust blog is Rosomanes by Masha.
There is something poetic and Magritte-like about keeping a rose in an aviary, like a songbird with clipped wings.
There is a lot of development in the Adelaide Hills area, so this is removing one structure for possums (gum trees with delectable blossoms) and replacing it with a new structure for the plants (rosy gaol), all so that we can have a new structure for people (houses in an area where they can admire what’s left of the “natural” scenery). As Lindy Stacker (wildlife care volunteer) says, “People wouldn’t have noticed possums 50 years ago because they had a habitat,”.
One of my friends fosters orphaned or injured possums. In Canberra this is through ACT Wildlife (go to their site to donate), but other Australian states/territories have different arrangements and organisations. There are some useful tips from RSPCA ACT and TAMS.
I was surprised to see that possums even like the taste of Andrew Bolt’s garden:
“Having a curtain of flowers turned into a ghastly skeleton has broken my heart…”
(Bolt, A. (2012, June 25). Cracking from paws and effect. Herald Sun, p. 13. Retrieved from Factiva.
A life and death sentence for delicious roses (and possums).