Posts Tagged ‘roses’



I’ve lived in my current house for 13 years, though some of my neighbors have been here for decades.  Take Ben, for example.  Ben grew up in the wooden 800-square-foot house around the corner.  A few years older than me, Ben recalled playing with the boys who lived in my house.  (Maybe they were the source of all those empty beer bottles in the old shed out back?)

Ben also remembered staying down the street at Grandma and Grandpa Jones’ house while his mother was at work.    The Jones’ lived in a white one-story house next to the Baptist church.  According to Ben, the Jones’ were the first blacks in the neighborhood to have a television set as well as indoor plumbing.  He spent many a summer night playing in their yard, eating dinner at their kitchen table, and watching their tv.

Grandpa Jones was still alive when I first moved here, though I never met him.  He passed away about five years ago.  Unfortunately, his house then became a haven for drug users and fell into disrepair. A once meticulously cared-for home had cracked windows and peeling paint.  The yard, always fertilized and neatly mowed, was weedy and overgrown.  Junk cars lined the driveway. I could imagine the Jones were turning over in their graves!

Luckily for the neighborhood, the new owners of the Jones family homestead did not pay the taxes, so the county swooped in and took possession.   The house was sold to the Baptist church  next door and torn down to build a parking lot.

But before it was torn down, I received permission to dig up the two rose bushes that lived near the front porch.  One, a climbing red rose, did not survive the transition.  The other, a orange-yellow tea rose, has thrived at my house.  Maybe it’s the cold winter we had or the extremely wet spring, but the bush this year is absolutely covered in blooms.

Looking at my rescued rose bush, I think about Grandma and Grandpa Jones.  I imagine the love with which the bush was first planted and the happy times their family shared in my neighborhood.  I hope to be a good caretaker for this bush, and to keep both its blooms and the memories associated with it alive for years to come.



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When I walk out my front door and look to the right, I see a sweet dark-pink rose, sticking its bloom around the corner and beckoning me to come take a look.

Sweet little rose, how easily you forget the two hours I spent with you and your kin on Saturday. Dead-heading, pruning, weeding, mulching. You all look so pretty!

I had to play with the tomatoes today, but don’t worry, sweet rose, I’ll be back for a visit tomorrow.

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When I started writing about my favorite things, I thought it would be a bit silly to use the lyrics to the song of the same name. I am, after all, nothing if not silly!

But now that I’m knee deep in this song, I have come to realize that many of Maria’s favorite things had to do with winter, and, in all honesty, winter is my least favorite season.

Perhaps it’s because we are in the midst of a glorious spring (I should save future comments on that for the next line in the song). Perhaps it’s because  my hands get cold easily and become very painful (Reynaud’s Disease). Perhaps it’s because winter means less daylight.  Whatever the reason, I find myself dreading the arrival of winter and looking forward to spring.

However, when I think about snowflakes, I think about delicate beauty. And, because it doesn’t snow that often where I live, falling snowflakes invoke a sense of wonder and, sometimes, surprise.

That same sense of wonder and surprise happens  with my rose bushes. I have several bushes near my driveway, so I see them every day going to and from work.   They’re just standing there, slowing developing their leaves.  Then all of a sudden — POP –from seemingly out of nowhere, they are full of glorious blooms.


I have more than a dozen rose bushes in my yard.  I chose to buy the antique varieties for several reasons.  One is that I have a thing about heirloom plants.  Another is that, after researching rose plants,  I learned that antique roses take a licking and keep on ticking.   I don’t make the time to baby any of my plants, so I needed something that would survive with little attention.

These antique roses have done just that.  Unfortunately,  though, they do develop black spot.  I really need to find some organic way of dealing with that disease.   I’m sure there’s a relatively easy solution, but until I make the time to research the issue and then purchase what I need, my sweet bushes will continue as they have:  Beautiful in the spring and early summer, followed by leafless and sad-looking come July, only to flower again in the fall, and then come back strong again the following spring.

The flowers on the bushes below start out a blush pink, then turn white.  I forgot to cut the bushes back last year, and they are now taller than I am!    Oops.

Most of my roses are of the bush variety, though I did buy a Texas Rose climber (below) that is a bit too vigorous.  If anyone has a fence that needs covering, let me know and I’ll gladly share some rootings.   This particular rose only blooms once, though it develops dainty rose hips in the fall.  Oh, and it’s thorn-less!  It  blooms mid-to-late summer, so the picture is from last year.

I bought most of my roses from The Antique Rose Emporium and have been very satisfied.  However, there are two rose bushes in my yard that were not purchased.   One, a pink sweetheart rose, originally came from my great-grandfather.   It lived with my great-aunt E. for awhile, until she dug it up and passed it on to me.  It is truly an antique!

The other rose I did not purchase came from a neighbor’s yard.  An elderly couple down the street had passed away and their land was about to be cleared to create a parking lot for an adjacent church, so I asked a church member if I could have the  rose bush in front of the house.  He said yes, so the bush came to live with me.  I like to think that, somewhere in the great beyond, the elderly couple is happy to know that at least one of their plants got saved from destruction.

Since their yellow tea rose is nowhere near the blooming stage, I’ll share a picture of a yellow rose that is currently has one bloom on it, the rest waiting to appear at a later date.

I do love my antique roses, but they are all shrub roses and not good for cut flowers.  One day when I’m a bit ahead of the game with my vegetable garden, I’ll go back to building some flower beds for more roses.  But until then, I’ll just have to walk around my yard, stop along the way, and smell the roses.

So when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my always delicate, often sweet-smelling roses, and then I don’t feel so bad.  (Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!)





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