Archives for posts with tag: roses

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. 🙂 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. 😀 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. 🙂 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. 🙂 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. 😀 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. 😀

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. 🙂

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

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. 🙂 Roses and gardens make beautiful metaphors. 😀

I sat, relaxed and contented, contemplating the quiet evening of solitude ahead. “I’ll probably spend some time out in the garden.” I said, smiling. I looked at my hands. “My nails are too long. I should cut them back, first…”

“Wear gloves. It’ll keep your hands clean and minimize the risk of leptospirosis…” my partner suggested. Seeing my frown, he added “I’m just looking out for you.” I smiled back and agreed his idea is a good one, wondering briefly if perhaps he disapproves of the way I encourage the chipmunks and squirrels. I let that foolishness go, as soon as the thought forms.

One rose among many and a lovely afternoon.

Some time later, enjoying the evening alone, I went out into the garden for awhile. I pulled some weeds. Smelled newly opened roses. Gazed into the trees, and enjoyed the glow of late afternoon sunshine on a warm spring day. It was lovely. I returned to the cooler comfort of the indoors, and washed my hands. I enjoyed a certain merriment; no broken nails. Nice.

What is enough?

Sitting quietly on my meditation cushion, I enjoyed the breeze filling the living room. When it began to cool down, as the sun sank low in the sky, and the living room was suffused with a sort of peach-colored glow, I got up to close the patio door… and broke a nail right to the quick, as I pulled the door closed. Fuck.

Perfect is a fiction.

…And I giggled. Then I laughed. I laughed for awhile. It felt good to laugh so… thoroughly. So much mirth over a broken nail. Cheap thrills, right? lol I sat down, still smiling, and cut my nails. At least they’re more or less even, and in proportion to each other. Short nails; fast typing. 🙂 Nothing really changes here. Short nails. Long nails. It’s the sort of irrelevant detail it’s so easy to get wound up over. Not last night. Not today. I woke still smiling.

Somehow I suspect there’s a lesson here, somewhere beyond the laughter, no doubt buried in a moment of reflection at higher altitude. Some metaphor? For now, the laughter is enough. 🙂


…Change the experience. It definitely does seem to work that way. This does not diminish the effect of a changing experience also similarly being one route to changing my thinking, this seems quite true, too. How I experience my experience, and what my experience happens to be, influences my thinking… and my thoughts influence my experience, or at least some qualities about it.

I had a ‘what now??’ sort of moment yesterday, walking from one place to another, when I noticed that my face ached rather peculiarly. I took a moment to consider the sensation without panic, and without leading myself astray with fearful thoughts about aging and health. Yep. My face aches. At the edges of my jaw mostly, and a bit more toward my cheeks also, and this is a new development… I consider it further and bust out laughing out loud, startling some geese. Sure my face hurts… I’m smiling that much. I have been smiling, just… smiling… so much since I left my job that my face hurts! That’s a hell of a ‘reality check’ on a major life decision.

Yesterday passed quickly, and also seemed vaguely timeless and enduring. It was a pleasant day and I got quite a few things done. By the end of the day, I was feeling a bit as if the day were not productive, although looking back I no longer understand why. I made room for those feelings, and didn’t beat myself up over it; I accepted that by some definitions of productive, I wasn’t, and also made a point of recognizing that I was, myself, entirely content with what I did get done. This morning as I moved through the apartment, I am struck by how much I got done yesterday, as seen when I look at things with “new eyes”. Awareness really matters. Perspective remains very helpful. “Enough” is achievable.

My traveling partner and I celebrate 5 years this weekend. The thought puts a smile on my face that lights up my heart from within. I may not write over the weekend; my attention will be on Love. We have plans, and I’m very excited about celebrating love with this being I hold in such high regard… Any excuse to hang out together, really. lol 🙂

Today is still Thursday, and an entire day away from the start of the weekend. There are Thursday things to do, some verbs to choose from, and I’ve got a list of all the many things to do that can be done. Looking ahead to the weekend makes it to the list, but it’s well down past mundane chores like ‘take out the trash’, ‘do the laundry’, and ‘do the dishes’.  Much higher up on my list of things to do today are ‘live beautifully’ and ‘enjoy the day’… those seem pretty important, too. 🙂

Today is a good day to stop and smell the roses.

Today is a good day to stop and smell the roses.

After numerous flight delays, I finally reached my destination, and a taxi. I was one 40 minute cab ride away from home.

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My homecoming was delightful, warm, loving, supportive. I know we hung out for a little while, I know souvenirs were brought forth, shared, discussed. There may have been an anecdote shared, or two.  I think we ‘got caught up’. I didn’t stay  up late, but I didn’t rush to bed, either; Las Vegas got me used to just going and going and going…ending the evening and going to sleep was challenging, in spite of obvious signs of exhaustion.

Yesterday happened. Most of it involved sleeping. I woke in the morning, too early, had coffee and started an argument. It hadn’t been my intention, and in-the-moment I wouldn’t have described the circumstances that way, but looking back, the step-by-step process of ‘starting shit’ was evident, and well-followed with considerable precision. I was still so incredibly fatigued that I was highly volatile, and that’s a poor moment to attempt conversation about political matters –  important or otherwise. This was not ‘important’. I was just killing time, waiting for an entirely other sort of moment, actually, and my choices were poor.  (Not surprising, really, my decision-making when I am fatigued is often quite peculiarly poor, and I suspect it is due to the specifics of my TBI.) I went back to bed, once it became clear I just wasn’t rested enough yet to be fit to interact with human beings.

Yesterday I slept 16.5 hours, waking 4 times for various reasons, and durations of time. I managed to drink about 128 ounces of water (thank you Hello Kitty water bottle!). I even managed to fit in some meditation, some yoga, and a couple short walks.  Apparently that is what it takes me to recover from 4 days in Las Vegas. lol (I think we could all have done without including a nasty tearful temper tantrum, next time I’ll try that.)

I am excited to be home. I am rested. Life feels very good.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to change the world.

This weekend was well-spent on healing and wellness, gardening, love, meditation; it was a delightfully quiet weekend.  In spite of aching knees, juggling a cane, and the frequent heavy rain showers, I spent much of the weekend in the garden, hands in the earth, feet on the ground, eyes skyward or focused on some tiny wonder.  The fresh spring air, and dampness of raindrops on my skin as they loose from where they had collected, when I brush by unconcerned, soaks into my skin, into my heart. I feel refreshed and whole and free.

There have been few places or times in my life when I had no garden at all.  Even in apartment living, I’ve generally had at least some potted herbs, perhaps a rose, or a potted tree of some sort. In 32 years of adult life, I’ve been without a garden for only about 5 years. Some gardens were a continuous struggle with drought, heat, rain, drainage, bugs, critters, in-laws, distance…something. It isn’t always easy. Actually, it’s rarely ‘easy’. Gardening is work, and commitment, and planning, and more of all that and trouble-shooting on top of it.  Long before I heard the word ‘mindfulness’ used in a sentence, I found ‘now’ in my garden. Healing perspective is in my garden. A breath of fresh air, that too, I can find in my garden. A few minutes of stillness, some wonder, excitement, a bit of novelty, a sense of home, peace and contentment, adventure…all in my garden. Lush greens, dark corners, hidden corners of peace and loveliness, and the occasional stray flower of a sort I don’t recall planting; my garden has been the foundation and safe deposit box of whatever sanity I could hang on to, in many years of my life.

Remember the gazing ball that was broken last year? I replaced it Sunday.

The new gazing ball, honoring the hold one; this one already broken, a mosaic of shattered glass.

The new gazing ball, honoring the hold one; this one already broken, a mosaic of shattered glass.

It was that sort of weekend in the garden. I puttered around tying off loose ends, finishing projects, following up on things, taking a second look… it was a weekend for pleasure and perspective.

...And a new bird bath.

…And a new bird bath.

I sometimes overlook how healing I find the garden. A moment of OPD or weirdness, a flare up of my arthritis, or a trip to hormone hell, and even though I know how healing the garden can be, it isn’t always my first destination on that journey. Still human. I checked.

Beauty feels so good.

Beauty feels so good.

It’s worth taking the time to ‘be’ in the garden. Permanence is not relevant. I had allowed myself to be distracted by impermanence, somehow. Perhaps tomorrow, or next year, or 5 years from now, this will not be my garden. Is that important now? Now is the garden as I stand in it. It needn’t wait for another day, or more certainty, or something better, or more of… it needn’t wait at all.  The garden has planning and future, and daydreaming, of course, and all that is as lovely as soap bubbles on a spring breeze. The garden is a very ‘right now’ place nonetheless.  It has my history, my present, and my future along stone paths, and held in bright pots, unfolding each moment as a seed of some ‘next time’.

My history. "Splish-Splash" rose [Moore. 1994]  I've had this miniature, this very plant, with me since 1995.

My history. “Splish-Splash” rose [Moore. 1994] I’ve had this miniature, this very plant, with me since 1995.

I have moved a lot. I’ve had more than one garden. I’ll likely have others. Each is precious to me, and each is ‘my garden’ for all the days I tend it. I hold nothing back; I garden now, even though the future is not assured.

The garden is my future, as well as my now, holding my daydreams gently.  Seedlings of the California poppy border I planted this spring are just coming up now.

The garden is my future, as well as my now, holding my daydreams gently. Seedlings of the California poppy border I planted this spring are just coming up now.

This weekend I enjoyed the garden and let life’s small drama’s pass me by as much as possible.  It made for a beautiful weekend, and a lovely ‘now’.

Today is a good day to smile and make eye contact with strangers. Today is a good day to listen to the answers to questions, and hear more than words. Today is a good day to enjoy the spring. Today is a good day for kindness and wonder. Today is a good day to change the world.