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19 April 2007

roses are, for me, home. when i was very small, our backyard was overgrown. the side yard was a positive jungle of weeds and tall grass and ivy. we had an enormous rubber tree that dropped leaves everywhere. and my mama grew vegetables in pots. i remember eating peas in the pod fresh off the plant. but the thing i remember most is the roses. frequently my dad would give my mom a rose bush for a birthday or an anniversary. and i started learning their names even when i was small.

when i was in grade school, i loved to take a rose to my teacher. i’d ask my mom in the morning before school. and sometimes life was hectic and she was busy and the answer was no. but sometimes the answer was yes, and i was given a pair of clippers to cut the perfect blossom. and my mom would wrap the stem in wet paper towel and then in tin foil and i would carefully, and proudly, carry it to school.

eventually we re-landscaped the yard and it was no longer a jungle. but there were still roses. always roses–both inside and outside the house. it wasn’t unusual for my dad to send my mom flowers. for special occasions they were usually roses (but not often red ones; they’re kind of dull). but the ones i liked the very best in the house were the ones mama cut in the garden. a little bit of beauty she had planted and cultivated and brought in to share.

when i went away to school, the roses were one of the things i looked forward to most when it was time to come home (other than family, of course). i’d come home just about this time of year–maybe a week later. and the roses would be in the middle of their first spring time blooming. big beautiful blossoms of all colors. air full of heady scent.

i have my favorites of course. i love joseph’s coat for it’s crazy sprawl and it’s gorgeous orange and yellow coloring. betty boop develops from brilliant yellow and pink, to white and red. intrigue smells sultry, with a twist of citrus. plus it’s a beautiful plum purple. double delight begins with pure white petals at its heart surrounded by brilliant pink-scarlet. as it ages, its center petals change from white to red. one day, i went out mid-afternoon to visit the roses (and that’s the correct description for what i do when i go to see the roses) and found the most perfect double delight with its pure white center. i went out later that same day, at the end of twilight, and that same bloom’s heart had changed. it made me want to spend hours watching, just to see how the change happens. in the spring, the blooms on first prize are often as big as a salad plate. and fame gives me an almost constant abuandance of fluttery red blossoms.

when i moved back to southern california to go to school, my mom took me to the nursery and bought me some roses of my own. i loved coming home from a busy day of school and work to discover my mini roses blooming on my porch. and they managed to survive even my worst neglect (they’re surprisingly hardy plants, roses). i still have my mini rose garden. my mom has turned them into habitat for one of her garden fairies.

nothing gives me peace quite like the roses. i walk into the yard to visit them and all of the worries and stress simply disappear.

i thought i’d share their beauty. wish you could be here to see them for yourself.

{the roses, top to bottom: betty boop, joseph’s coat, just joey, duet, golden showers, joseph’s coat, double delight, 4th of july}

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 April 2007 6:44 pm

    Well, this makes me miss home! I never appreciated that the roses were out more than once a year, unlike here, where we get them only for a short period! I don’t often miss CA, but I do miss the family and flowers!

  2. 20 April 2007 10:36 am

    i think they would actually bloom twice in a summer there. they just need to be pruned after the first round of blooming, but not too heavily. say they bloom in june for the first time (which is pretty typical). prune them late june/early july to get rid of dead flowers, and you should get another round of flowers in august or september.i’m sure mom’s will be blooming again when you’re here in august.

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