So far the dieback seems limited to this extent, but I have no idea what to make of it. Rather than brittle dieback, it's mushy when I cut through it. And the dieback took all of the spring flower buds with it. This is the largest and healthiest rose in my garden, so I'm worried.
In happier rose news, the first rose of the year, Madame Alfred Carriere. My friend who recommended it to me raved about the scent, but I have to say "eh." It reminds me of Souvenir de la Malmaison, which is all right to my nose, but not spectacular. I'm beginning to conclude that I prefer citrus and tea scents from my roses. It's good-looking flower, though.
For Diana, a picture of the new Japanese Aralia, which replaced the Acanthus Mollis:
Why replace the Acanthus? An illustration:
Ah, shade, the happy place...
The sun, eet burns!
I put the Acanthus against the other side of the fence, where the same thing is bound to happen, but I don't have anywhere with full shade to put it. Maybe when the bamboo muhly next to it grows taller it'll shade it enough to avoid the sunny day dramatics. Or maybe I'll just pretend that the Acanthus is the heroine of a bodice ripper, and narrate accordingly.