Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My David Austin Rose Is Blooming!

Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. 
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Nothing says cottage garden more than roses to me. I want old fashion English roses that look like the roses in magazines, climbing over arbors, twining through picket fences.
My wish came true today. In a small way. But big enough to fill my heart with the beauty I covet. And it is growing in my back yard.
My very own David Austin rose is in full regalia with blossoms and buds ready to burst open at any moment.
Now, if I were a true gardener, I could tell you the name of this rose. But I don't have a clue. It was purchased twenty years ago from a catalog. The photo was one of many that I had trouble deciding on. I knew pink was a must.
It took years to bloom. The rose is planted next to the back of the house. My late husband built a huge trellis for me. The vines took hold of the wood railings and started to climb high. But the rose never had a single flower.
Did you fertilize it? you might ask. My answer is no. I did nothing to help this English lady blossom.
I just waited.
And wondered.
Back when my husband was alive he was not happy with the bush. It reached out far into the yard with huge thick thorns that stuck him as he rode by on the lawnmower. There may not have been flowers, but the branches had a life of their own. He pruned it back a few times and tucked the  branches back on the trellis, hoping to contain it. Sometimes cutting it back further than he should at times when pruning was not recommended.
Still the rose bush held its own coming back each year. But no blooms.
The year after my husband died, I had to put a French drain in next to the foundation of the house. There was water in my basement. The trellis was moved. The rose stayed in place.
"Cut that rose bush when you dig the ditch and it is off with your heads!" I told my handyman and his crew as I wagged a finger in their faces.
The rose survived the French drain.
It bloomed the following year. And has had a rose or two on it each year since.
This year it is taking me by surprise.
Huge blooms. Many buds.
My rose bush. Neglected. Managed to grow despite adversity and is now a thing of beauty.
I know there is a life lesson there.
For now I'm just going to watch with awe.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Does My Garden Grow?

Obviously Mistress Mary had someone helping her in the garden, looking that lovely and clean, her linen clothes impeccable  . . . or all she did was water her plants. I have had two Monday mornings out in my yard, weeding, planting, hauling debris in the proper paper sacks to the curb for the trash to pick up, all the while . . . looking like something that had rolled in the mud.

I garden like I paint.

Half of what I do lands on me.

Perhaps that is part of the fun. Maybe Mistress Mary would not look so solemn if she allowed Mother Nature to make her a little dirty.

Then she would be grinning like I do when I finish my rounds in the yard.

This year my resolve is to get my gardens in shape. It started last spring with a picket fence out front. A stately, yet cottage style, picket fence in natural wood and a  lovely garden cement maiden that would make any yard proud. I had help planting a few Knock Out roses, a few large Hydrangea plants that cost more than a meal at a fine restaurant, but a feast for the eyes and soul, more than any entrĂ©e I've devoured. (Although I do enjoy the instant gratification of a wonderful meal in a lovely setting with a glass of wine shared with friends.) The garden bed by my picket fence started to take shape.

Imagine how excited I was to see my roses start to bloom a week ago, their pretty faces peeking through the pickets of my fence. I clapped my hands with joy and did a happy dance. I decided I needed more roses, more flowers, more sweet charm.

I found roses one rainy afternoon that spoke to me as I went through the garden section of Home Depot, looking for plants as table decorations for an writer's event I had volunteered to do the floral table arrangements for the following week. I decided not to buy cut flowers at their expense, but to pay for the flowers myself, buy something I could take home after the event, and plant in my yard.

The flowers would be a lovely reminder of the friendships from that evening, but it would also get me off my lazy butt to plant in my yard. You just can't leave plants in the trunk of your car for any length of time! So the following Monday found me digging in the dirt.

I had the time of my life. The soil was easy to work, it had not gotten parched from the heat, but was delightfully damp from all the rain we had. Did someone say use gloves? I never do. I love to feel the dirt between my fingers, makes me more one with nature. Also makes for a heck of a lot of scrubbing to get nails clean again. I dig deep and claw at the ground to pull old roots, ivy, and anything in my way.

Life is changing for me again this year. I am growing, reaching in new directions, just like my roses. I've weeded out what needed to go in my life so I can branch out to do more of the things I want. I am a hanger-on, it is time to let go. Antiques have always been a love of mine, and they still are. But I want to buy for myself when I get a whim, not buy for resale. So I've closed my antique booths and the words antique dealer are off my resume, replaced with  . . sometimes antique dealer. (I let go slowly!)  My selling will be private when the mood strikes. Not having a booth to tend to will give me time to work in my garden, write my books, relax with the dogs.

Letting go of things can be difficult, but if you choose wisely, what goes, what stays, the feeling is euphoric. Or maybe it is just the feel of the soil, the sweat from working hard, breathing in fresh air, exercise, all the things that make you feel physically great, and one with the universe.

My universe sends me signs. I swear the roses spoke to me as I packed the soil around them.  Plant more is what I heard. You'll find me next at a favorite shop that sells fragrant herbs. What is a garden without Rosemary and Lavender?  

A few photos of my roses. Small, lovely, but my little garden that I will tend to with joy! It is a start . . . and with everything in life, the first step is starting. Stay tuned to see how we grow.