A few of the "reasons" why its always such a gamble trying to grow anything around here - also, why I don't think I'll ever be breeding for thornlessness in roses. I just planted some relatively unarmed roses ('Commander Gillette', 'Basye's Legacy' and 'Basye's Blueberry' that I got from Burlington Rose Nusery). 'Basye's Blueberry' has already literally been grazed to ground level! I'm definitely going to have to cover these with cages if I expect them to have any chance of getting started.
The lush line of green at their feet is a row of 'Long Black Spanish' storage type radishes (with F1 hybrids among them from intercrossing with 'Roseheart' pink-fleshed radish). The deer were browsing these when they were just starting out but thankfully have left them alone when they got a little bigger.