the roses climb and climb higher, so high i need a footstool to prune and deadhead as petals rain down on my feet below, so high i will soon need to pull the ladder out of the garage in order to perform the necessary maintenance, so high i wonder if i should build an arch and send them across the sidewalk and back down the other side, so high my neighbour can enjoy them from the kitchen window of her raised bungalow, so high they might reach the sky.
they were an experiment as most everything in my garden is and was and i wanted something different than the hearty rose bushes that grow large and fragrant dotted around my yard, a climber and i wondered, would a climber be strong enough to endure the long cold freeze melt of our winters, would a climber actually climb high enough to flank an arched entry in my front yard, would a climber actually scale the walls of my bungalow in the front and create a softening to the angles of that come from having a roof with all those peaks triangulated upwards. i had no idea when i planted the puny little rose plant 3 summers ago that it would not only climb so high but that the profusion of bright red pink roses would waft such beautiful scent into my bedroom window and that the petals would create a carpet of colour to greet visitors to my back yard. I had no idea that i would fall so deeply in love with the climbing roses.
in september, the new fence goes in and the eradication of my front lawn begins because lets be honest, i am running out of garden space so the roses will quickly follow and there will be climbers, so many more climbers but she will be my favourite, the first, the one that reminded me that i too grow towards the sun and that time changes everything, always.
gardening is my teacher, my meditation, my release from the stoic dance through the long winter snow. gardening is more than creating a beautiful sanctuary for which to sit back and enjoy though that is a part of it but only a part. gardening is where i find myself, where i am reminded that life is a cycle, that there is fumbling stunted growth, there is beautiful blooming and shining, there are obstacles and hazards and death and the seeds from the living find new life and sometimes there is rebirth and sometimes life doesn't take, and it shrivels and dies before it has a chance to shine and that is okay, it returns to the earth and becomes part of the fertilization of something new. there is beauty and there is neglect and a little attention to the neglect and there is beauty again though sometimes too much attention causes loss and heartbreak.
and i know you know if you garden, you know that there is room for control but there is no way to prepare for the fact that those slugs decided to take up residence and hid themselves so well, you never even knew they were there until it was too late or that all those summers of rain caused the blight that removed the long colourful stalks of hollyhock and the gaping hole of that loss still hurts your heart and how there was no way to prepare for the way that cranesbill geranium somehow spread itself to every single part of your garden, rising up in the swaying daisy patch, rising up in the mossy thyme of your pathways, rising up in the middle of the graceful hosta that makes that beautiful cracking sound when you divide her up every couple of years, rising up next to the tomatoes and the brightly smiling marigolds, rising up around the various mints that soothe your summer dry parched throat, rising up in a way that delights every single part of you that dreamed of brightly coloured cottage gardens as you first surveyed the neglected yard of weeds and quack grass.
and the roses climb and climb higher and pierce my skin and embed blooms in the beat thrum drum of my heart. and the summer heat rises up. and i breathe in deeply.