June 14, 2012

A Craving for Roses

"The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose."  ~Kahlil Gibran 

"But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." ~Anne Bronte 

GreenHealingGirl requested a picture of my flower garden. We've each found solace and comfort digging in soil, nurturing lovely green things even if those green things leave scratches on forearms, blood trickling to dirty elbows. Yea, yea...I have some of those leather long-length rose gloves but you have to remember where you left them the last time you pruned the roses. The last place you'd ever think of looking is where you'll likely find them. Like in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. Just kiddin'. They were in the freezer. Next to the X-husbaNd. Okay. Just kiddin' again. He's NOT in my freezer. His girlfriend is. Geez...don't get all CSI on me...I'm just kiddin'!!##**#!!

Only a month ago, I stood in my rose bed, pruning shears in hand, looking like one of Freddy Kreuger's victims. Sharp thorns had punctured my forearms and rivulets of blood ran every which way but up. That may have been the same time my nephew (who always works with me...we are two peas in a pod), nearly amputated his thumb cutting drip-line hose with his utility knife. He has a 'thing' about sharpening edges, even the edges of my shovel which means wearing shoes or losing my toenails. We have the sharpest tools in the neighborhood, evidenced by hours of concentrated filing and grating and polishing in our garage. Well, it beats the string spider webs he used to weave from one doorknob to the other, requiring (you guessed it) sharp scissors for escape. 

Anyway, these are my beloved iceberg roses which have lived through six freezing winters in the Rocky Mountains. No small feat, believe me. Growing roses in California was easy-peasy compared to this climate. My west coast rose-society friends are clueless about the challenge of growing roses when winter-kill demands extensive pruning every spring, cutting back dead bits, reviving new growth. It's similar to the narcissistic relationship when you think about it. I can't compare my marriage to someone else's non-narcissistic marriage. They won't understand how hard it is to bloom considering the rigorous pruning you've endured through the years. 

I lost my green thumb for quite a few years after my marriage fell apart. Didn't wince a tear when my elephant topiary died. I am happy to say today how miraculous it is when the passion for gardening returns. It's been ten years...not to scare anybody, but it's been ten years. You might not believe you'll ever ever ever again care enough about roses to do what it takes to nurture them. Yet, each time you put one foot in front of the other and risk nipping your toes to cultivate soil, you are exercising faith and belief in renewal. In growth. In healing. Even if you're jaded. Even if you're skeptical. Even if you hate yourself, the narcissist, or the person typing this message. 

Maybe you don't believe it's worth shoveling dirt. Do it anyway. Maybe you don't care if your hillside is covered in weeds. Weed anyway. Water. Fertilize. Prune. One day your garden will sprout blossoms, the anticipated sweet smell of which will restore your gratitude for beauty, and truth, and granular water-dissoluble, one-tablespoon-per-plant Miracle-Gro. And if you never see a blossom despite your best efforts, check for aphids. Those critters will suck the life out of the hardiest of stock. Get rid of em'. Not even a wild rose can survive an attack of aphids suck, suck, sucking on the beautiful, lively rose. 



  1. Ooh! NIIICCEE! Just beautiful.
    My late DH (one of the truly "good guys") was a great big man: VERY tall, large framed, large boned, huge hands etc. He was a carpenter just like his father and grandfather before him. Anyway, he LOVED roses-and not just shrub-type roses. He was into the high-maintence, pick-the-bugs-off-by-hand type beauties and he was able to grow them in our very cold environment as well.
    I'd look out the window in the "summer" and giggle at the incongruity of him fiddling with his roses (and you can be sure he took all kinds of pride in his SHARP tools) and there he'd be with all his buddies standing around visiting while he worked in his garden. Those guys NEVER said a word to or about him and "his roses!" Especially when he cut some for them to take home to their "honeys."
    Ahh, the memories-thanks.

    1. Hi Tundra Woman!

      My grandmother was a rose-grower of some fame in her state. She was extraordinarily green-thumbed. The famous rose bed was built where her chicken coop used to be. You know what chicken poop does for roses, right? A lot more than chicken narcissists do for marriage I can tell ya that.

      I loved reading your story about your late husbaNd. He sounds like the kind of man we all dream about---especially those of us who ended up with chickens. ha!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I've seen your name around the blogosphere---it's lovely to see you here.


  2. Beautiful Roses CZ! I'm not feeling so good as I write. Tummy upset due to stress, so I can't write much. I saw your link show up a few times though, and finally came over to visit. I'm so happy that I inspired you to post a photo! The little things like this mean a lot to me. I must go find a respite now.

    Big Hugs2U!
    GreenHealingGirl :)

    1. Dear GreenHealingGirl,

      Don't worry about saying anything at all...you don't even need to write. <3

      It's not a very good picture of my rose bed. The wind was blowing and i was using my iPad's camera. I so love your gorgeous close-up shots...they inspire me to get off the computer and out in the yard!



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