Friday, July 24, 2009

My Father's Roses

This is the rosebush that my father grew for many years in front of my parents' house, near the garage. It was partially shaded by tall oak trees, and surrounded by other plants. When I moved to my new home, when we put the old house up for sale, I transplanted this rose to my front garden, and tended it carefully. Now, two blooms have opened at the same time, just this past week.

After we had to move my mother into the residential Alzheimer's care facility, because my father couldn't take care of her any more, whenever this rose produced a bloom, he would cut it, and take it to her. He visited her almost every day, his own health permitting, and went and sat with her while she ate lunch. Sometimes she wouldn't eat if he wasn't there, just being with her, coaxing her along. He didn't use a fancy vase to bring her each rose, just a cup with some fresh water in it; vases would disappear there, who knows why. Mom often put Dad's roses immediately on the windowsill in her room, where they would catch the west light, and admire them.

This rosebush has bloomed at last this summer. There are two blooms on it now, with another one about to open. I sit on the lawn and take in its rich fragrance, but I can't bring myself to cut the blooms off, even to take them inside. Perhaps next year, when the bush is even more established. I'm told it's good to let a rose go a little wild, the first year or two of planting, till it establishes itself firmly in its new home. Last year, late in the fall, it was about to bloom, when the first frost came. I almost had a November rose. This season I am letting it go, just watering it and watching it. If it continues to do well in its new home, I will think about trimming the blooms and putting them in a vase on my kitchen table.

And remember.

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