Way back in 2013, my parents took small rose plants to the cemetery for Memorial Day. There were two sets of roses (one white, one reddish pink) that sat between my grandparents’ and my husband’s gravestones. Then, when the weather cooled, Dad decided to plant the reddish-pink plant in the bird garden to see if it would take.
Well, the rosebush took!
In the following years, the roses grew into a large shrub that flowered quite nicely each year. And every couple of years, Daddy would hack back at the bush to keep it from getting (too) out of control. Sometimes, that meant trimming it completely back to the bare bones; other times, the task just required a bit of maintenance.
Afterwards, the rosebush would bloom in the spring. Every year, as expected.
But this year, there were no blooms on the bush. Although there were some odd growths reminiscent of Seussian tufts. That, coupled with its sheer size and determination for taking over the whole garden, meant it was time to tackle the bush again. Only this time, we decided to dig out the entire root ball when it was cut back.
So, over the course of two days, I did battle with the roses.
On the first day, I managed to get 80% of the bush cut back – and it managed to give me a few cuts of my own (and some bruises to go along with it). But I earned the “injuries” with pride and enthusiasm.
Of course, there was a little sadness in chopping the bush to bits because the initial plan was that we would carry on right the way down to the roots. Yes, the plan was that this bush was going to die. But as I chopped away, we decided that we would leave the roots (at least for this year). And that gave me hope that there would be more life to come.
On the second day, I got the rest of the cutting done. Then, I had the slightly pricklier job of loading them into the truck for a trip to the burn dump. Daddy helped with this part of the task, which made the job much easier. And, thankfully, it was far easier unloading the truck than loading it in the first instance.
As I neared the end of the task, I was joyed to see a slightly weak – but alive – flower growing in the dark shade of the bush. It was one of the many plants that made up the original “bird garden” that I worked on with Mum and Dad more than 20 years ago. Yes, Mum’s flower thrived in the shelter of Paul’s roses. Take from that whatever metaphor you wish.
When the job was all done, I stepped back to admire my work. And I could really see just how overgrown the bush had become. But it felt good to have completed the task.
And a job well done deserves a nice, cold (root)beer!
Update, 11 July 2022: One month after the battle ended, the rosebush is already showing signs of survival with healthy, green shoots rising from the ground. I expect that we will see some colourful blooms by next year again. Of course, there have already been renewed talks about tearing it out for good, so who’s to say how many blooms remain…