What my Rose Bush taught me about Life

If you want some lessons on forgiveness, the value of persistent work, and how life is usually more simple than we humans make it out to be, take this advice: throw away your Self Help Books, and fire your Therapist. All you need are a rose bush, a watering can, and the ability to laugh off your mistakes and keep trying.

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Behold, my contribution to the August Break 2014 Photography Challenge – “Nature”

I have always dreamed of having my own garden, so I was exstatic when, after years of cramped apartment living, my wife and I moved into our first home. Unfortunately – as is the case with many dreams – I learned that the reality was a lot more difficult than I had previously imagined! Gardening in my suburban Texas yard has turned into a constant battle against an unyielding clay substrate that calls itself “soil”, scorching summer heat that wilts both me and my little plantlings, and a ghastly water bill – just to provide the bare minimum hydration to keep my leafy charges from dying a grisly death, sad, withered and alone. And that’s not even getting into the fact that I am sometimes guilty of overestimating my competence at new hobbies… not that I’d ever to admit to it, mind.

The house a friend had grown up in was set for sale and demolition, and we were all sad to think of the fate of her grandmother’s prized rose bushes. So my wife and I took an afternoon away from the feverish unboxing that breaks the hearts of freshly-transplanted humans everywere – in favor of a different sort of torture … we pried a specimen from the earth, and gave it a Forever Home in our own garden!

Frances (so named for the grandmother that tended her) almost died that summer, but she’s never held it against me. She’s never pointed out that I really knew nothing about Caring for Roses when we started this adventure, and never complains if I get too busy to prune her for a while. I love that about her – every time I tend her is a fresh start, and a reminder to stop holding myself to impossible standards. Water, sunlight, and a bit of TLC are really all Frances asks of me, and in return I get the most fragrant profusion of blooms!

So do it – I dare you. Plant a bit of sage in an obliging windowsilll, or hang some english ivy so your cat can’t sabotage your efforts. And if you do manage to send your little plantling to an early grave, forgive yourself and try again. Because that’s life, isn’t it? Things rarely go as planned, but the journey can be quite lovely, if we just choose to carry on.

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