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Note: I’ve referenced a bunch of roses by name in this one, without adding pictures (in most cases) – it may be interesting to open a second tab and google them to see what they look like or to read more about them. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you put the word “rose” in front of their names, you should get images that are the correct rose without a lot of b.s. (I didn’t feel right linking to point of sale pages on all these, as it might have given the appearance of an endorsement.) Ready?

In my garden, the roses (and some flowers) are selected with great care to fit a theme. The theme? Love. Passion. Romance. A story of lovers over time. So, a rose named “The Alchymist” (a Kordes cross of R. eglanteria and a climber named Golden Glow from 1956) lives in the garden representing my Traveling Partner (it makes sense if you know him). “Baby Love”, (Scrivens, 1992?) was a gift from my Traveling Partner when we moved in together and he started a wee garden for me out on our balcony – “baby love” is also one of his pet names for me. So sweet. ๐Ÿ˜€ This year, close to “The Alchymist”, I’ll be adding “Baltimore Belle” (Feast, 1843), a nod to my home state of Maryland and recollections of many happy visits to “Charm City” in younger years.

Over the years, roses have come and gone. My first roses were “inherited” when my then-spouse and I bought a little house in Texas. Later, my first “proper” rose garden started with a Jackson & Perkins collection, before I had discovered the robust lasting beauty of roses on their own roots.

As gardens came and went with various moves, only those roses that could survive well in containers stayed “in my garden” as it moved from place to place, but I knew what I wanted, and the vision lingered. I want a garden that wraps me in love. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, the roses are selected with great care, right down to the names. “The Alchymist” and “Baby Love” are currently joined by “Nozomi” (“Pink Pearl”, Onodera, 1968 – the rose that has been with me longest), and “Easy on the Eyes” (Carruth, 2017 – my “youngest” rose), and “Sweet Chariot” (Moore, 1984 – one of the first miniatures I ever purchased). I had a few others suited to my theme at my last address, but they weren’t doing well, and I decided not to haul their fungi, pests, or health issues to the new address. Starting fresh seemed the wiser choice. Some I’ll for sure replace (I miss the lovely “X-rated”, “Irresistible” and “Ebb Tide”) others maybe not (many of which I suspect just weren’t a good choice for container life…). We’ll see.

Soon three new roses will arrive: “Baltimore Belle”, along with “Golden Opportunity” (Carruth, 2012?), and “All My Loving” (Fryer, 2011). Roses have more than beautiful forms and captivating scents – they have provenance, history, and stories to tell. Some of my fondest favorites achieved their place in my heart because of the stories they have to tell. R. gallica, for example? It’s the oldest known rose, ever, anywhere. Wow, right? What must this rose have seen of human kind and histories gardens? I often consider planting her, just because… “history“.

I have a two long-time favorites I may never plant into this garden. They’re huge. Truly grand in size, and both are very thorny, too. I don’t have the space without a lot of strict pruning two or three times a year. lol One is R. eglanteria. One of my fondest favorites (also called “sweet briar” rose) she smells of green apple, and has so many adorable “wild rose” type flowers in a cute pink color. I often think that the Sleeping Beauty’s thorn-bushes were likely a mix of wild blackberries and R. eglanteria. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a whimsical notion that delights me. The other? “Sombreuil” (unknown breeder, 1880, and previously sold as “Colonial White” in the US) – a massive and impressive climbing rose with enormous saucer-sized white blooms that are exquisitely fragrant and temptingly numerous – she guards them fiercely with her plentiful nasty thorns. Every year that I owned her, my arms told that the tale of keeping her pruned back. lol Worth it, though, and I daydream of adding her to my garden for that heavenly tea rose scent. She really doesn’t “fit the theme”, though… but oh I do miss her so!

…I could add either or both, but I can’t do so without acknowledging the challenge involved in keeping them to a manageable size in this climate; I’ve experienced that first hand. They were genuinely too big for container gardening, and I knew that back in 1998, when I moved them from Fresno, California, to Portland, Oregon. Back then, I had a community garden plot in the big community garden on the campus of Reed College. So… I planted them in my community garden plot. Why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not – about 7 years later, the college decided to reclaim the space the garden occupied to build new dorms. Those two roses, by that time, were so insanely large I could not move them at all! The college “kept them”, and indeed they are growing in the locations they had been planted (at least that was the case last I saw). My R. eglanteria was easily half the width of my plot (about 5′ wide) and twice that high. “Sombreuil” was similarly wide, on the other side of the plot, and far taller, with long sweeping canes curving downward gently, extending her visual width, each cane weighed down heavily with those big blooms. I only have one “sensible” location for either (or both) of them here, and that would be just on the other side of the retaining wall, instead of those invasive non-native blackberries (although that would be replacing a non-native with non-natives…so…). Then I could just let them do their thing over the years, taking space and being lovely. Getting them planted there, though, would require many days of intense labor clearing out those fucking blackberries by hand. Worth it? Maybe not…?

Where was I going with this? Love. Gardening. Roses. There are definitely roses I’d like to add, but limited space and a thematic commitment shorten the list quite a bit. ๐Ÿ˜€ What do I have in mind, as of this one moment on this particular summer day?

Love at First Sight – I mean, yeah, our “origin story” has a real hint of that “love at first sight” kind of experience.

Ebb Tide – the tides come and go. Emotions, too. That, and my Traveling Partner is a Navy veteran – there aren’t many roses with nautically relevant names. lol

Bliss – because love can be so much bliss, for real. ๐Ÿ˜€

You’re the One – well, yeah, that’s how it has played out for both of us. This unexpected lasting commitment and affection for each other has been significant.

Crazy Love – also, yeah, we both bring the fucking crazy to this rollercoaster. LOL

Orange Honey – okay, so, not “on theme” but another rose that was one of my earliest choices for my first rose garden. I fell in love with the trailing habit, the sweet fragrance, and enjoyed my friendship with the breeder Ralph Moore. It’s just a rose worth having. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cutie Pie – my partner is my best friend, my “prince charming”, and for sure a “cutie pie”, so this one makes sense to me. ๐Ÿ˜€

Realistically, I have doubts that I could fit another 10 roses to my wee garden, after the 5 I’ve already got, and the three that are on their way right now. LOL I could probably do 10-12 (total), though, without looking like a mad woman… So, as with so many things in life, it’s about selection. Choices made with care. It’s about sufficiency. “Enough”. It’s about overcoming a very human inclination to acquire and to accumulate. Greed is not a character trait I want to develop (quite the contrary, I practice sufficiency).

How best to narrow down my list of 10 to 3-4? Well, one way I do that kind of thing is to let circumstances call some of the shots; I go to the website that I’m shopping from, and narrow things down (see list above) based on what fits my theme and appeals to me… then, that is likely further limited by what is still in stock. LOL This is how I selected the three that are headed my way now! If I look at the website this morning at my wishlist of 10 roses above, just two of them are actually available. This is sometimes frustrating, but it also prevents my garden from being too structured by introducing a certain not-quite-randomness. It also slows me down quite a lot. I’ll just add the three I’ve ordered for the 2023 garden – next year I’ll be looking over the options available then.

In the meantime, I entertain myself thinking about gardening and roses and searching for just the right rose to add here or there… and wait for new roses to arrive to be planted. Each one is a new beginning all its own. ๐Ÿ™‚ Roses and gardens make beautiful metaphors. ๐Ÿ˜€

I was pretty happy to see Monday arrive, this week.ย  My weekend was a lot of Sturm und Drang and I was frankly relieved to be done with it.ย  Between my hormones and rampant OPD (Other People’s Drama), the weekend was neither relaxing, nor especially productive, for me.ย  I’m not really complaining; some good dialogues came out of it.ย  (I suppose people also learn something about their driving when they are involved in a trafficย  accident.)

I have to walk my own path...

I have to walk my own path…

The weekend, on the other hand, was lovely and warm and sunny. Every minute spent in the garden was wonderful.ย  More roses open their buds every day.

"Nozomi" (Pink Pearl) soon she'll be covered with tiny pink buds...

“Nozomi” (Pink Pearl) soon she’ll be covered with tiny pink buds…

"Nozomi" showing off her delicate blossom, for now just this one.

“Nozomi” showing off her delicate blossom, for now just this one.

I enjoyed getting down at eye level with the garden now that the weather is fair and mild, and the ground isn’t muddy.ย  The perspective is different, and I definitely needed a change in perspective more than once this weekend!

At ground level with the vinca, dewy from being watered.

At ground level with the vinca, dewy from being watered.

Some of the bold big blooms I am waiting on keep me waiting like an old-fashioned cliff-hanger, tempting me with a hint of color through still-tightly wrapped petals.

Most of the peonies in the neighborhood have opened; mine apparently sense my watchfulness. lol

Most of the peonies in the neighborhood have opened; mine apparently sense my watchfulness. lol

The roses are lovely, fragrant, and totally showing off.

"Ebb Tide" looking her best.

“Ebb Tide” looking her best.

"Kiss of Desire" is new in my garden this spring.

“Kiss of Desire” is new in my garden this spring.

"Secret Recipe" is an old favorite, and one of my most challenging roses to care for; she's high maintenance. lol

“Secret Recipe” is an old favorite, and one of my most challenging roses to care for; she’s high maintenance. lol

I can't take enough pictures of "Baby Love"; cute, easy, and lovely.

I can’t take enough pictures of “Baby Love”; cute, easy, and lovely.

The hummingbirds alerted one of my partners recently that I was slow to refill their feeders; one dive bombed him at garden’s edge, as he attempted to relax with his coffee! Hummingbirds are one of my favorite garden visitors, and it delights me that my garden has such wonderful tiny visitors.

I could go on and on about the garden. It is my refuge from every day stress, when I find my mindfulness and meditation practices need a helping hand. In my garden I am ‘here’ and ‘now’ in a very engaged and present and immediate way, and it feels effortless and natural.ย  I don’t mind the challenges in the garden; I understand them.ย  I don’t always understand the challenges between people, and those frustrate me much more than some powdery mildew on a rose, or a slug eating the greens, or a few days without rain.ย  A challenge in the garden is easy, as easy as recognizing the issue, troubleshooting the root cause (lol), developing/determining a solution, and applying the chosen solution. Repeat as needed. Why are people so much more complicated? (I’d shout that at you if I thought it would be helpful… but shouting rarely makes anything easier to hear.)ย  Anyway, we all know the answer if we admit it to ourselves, don’t we? Why are people so complicated? Because they choose to be.

I’m making other choices for myself these days.ย  I don’t always ‘get it right’. It’s not a contest. There is no ‘finish line’. There will be no awards ceremony, no report card, no pat on the back.ย  But I’m taking better care of me, and understanding it more when things aren’t a good fit, or my experience is unsatisfying or unpleasant. I still have more questions than answers…and that doesn’t trouble me, generally. If I’m not stressing the answers, I’m also not worried about ‘being right’, or ‘making it work’.ย  I’m finding it easier, much of the time, to make good choices that are tending to meet my needs over time, and improve my experience.ย 

I suppose there is more…but today is proving to be an odd day.ย  I feel the pressure of ‘things on my mind’ and I am feeling a bit fussy and raw. I have been spending too much time on OPD,ย  a potentially worthy investment in time because one of my needs is ‘harmony in my relationships and a calm environment to live in’, but I ended up doing so almost entirely at the expense of things I wanted to do for me, or with my partners, and I definitely committed too much limited weekend time to it.ย  I am very ready to have some of my other needs met.ย  Today is something a bit new – I’m able to recognize and understand that my subtle shift in mood toward being a bit cross isn’t about what is going on around me right now – it’s about how I handled what was going on around me in days past and that I ‘missed the mark’ on taking care of me in some way.ย  It is also clearly a ‘me thing’ and not about the choices or actions of others in any direct way. ย  (It feels good to have a better understanding of my experience, and maybe to the point of being able to make practical choices to meet my needs as a result.)ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, having said all that… it’s on with the day, eager to return to the garden.