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Showing posts with label yellow roses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yellow roses. Show all posts

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Scattered Memories

I heard a loud crash early one morning last week and rushed to check on Joe, who was getting dressed.  Then I walked through the kitchen and front part of the house looking for damage.  One cat was sitting calmly on the back of a chair but the other cat hid for the rest of the morning.  I didn't have to guess which one had knocked a bowl of homemade pot potpourri onto our ceramic tile floor. Skye came to spend the day with me and as she helped me take this picture and sweep up the broken pottery and remains of dried herbs and flowers , we talked about the damage and how breaking something can make us sad.  She wanted to keep the broken pieces of the bowl and some of the dried rosebuds to put with her fairy garden supplies.  Then we swept the rest into the trash.

It was only after I looked at the photo that I thought more about why this dish of dried petals was special.
Every thing in the bowl was from our garden and had been added one at a time.  The tiny Katrina rose buds and petals from a fragrant Maggie rose and the yellow rose which clambers over an arch,  tawny, leathery Magnolias, lavender fronds, pieces of basil and rosemary, even a dried slice of Meyer lemon.  All were gathered and collected in a small hand thrown bowl fired in a speckled jade green glaze that I bought when we lived in Indonesia over 20 years ago. Some of the rose buds had been picked by little girls and proudly presented as a gift. Joe likes to bring me a flower or piece of herb when he comes in from the garden. It was a joint endeavor.

So I was sad, not for the things broken and scattered, but for that which they represented: the growing and choosing and gathering, the connection and love of my family. And once again, I know that I can let go of things, but that I keep the love.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our Garden

April showers might have brought May flowers, but so far May is bringing record setting low temperatures. Here on the Gulf Coast of Texas, by this time we are usually working to keep cool instead of wrapping up to stay warm.  Yesterday another cold front literallty blew in.  Wind gusts took my patio umbrella up and away, and tree branches have been whipping so hard the new leaves are hanging on for dear life.  I put on my coat and did a quick walkabout to check for garden damage, and am pleased to say it is slight.  Here is a photo walk through!

As in the photo of above, our antique roses are thriving in the cooler temperature. The colors are intense.




             Petunias, not to be outdone by the roses, but they will never muster that kind of fragrance!


      Tuscan Kale and Swiss Chard - ornamental, but also edible. Organic gardeners, we can eat our        borders!  We already have tomatoes on the vines, and a big bed of hot peppers.


       These flowers make a tasty addition to salads.  Nasturtiums, a favorite in my herb garden.


Daylilies hold up their reputation of blooming in spite of temperature - but usually that is a reference to hot!


This amaryllis has had more blooms this year than anytime since I planted it.  


Look at the blooms on this Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow bush my friend Debbie gave to me.


Sweet little nosegays of Forget-Me-Nots


This pot of geraniums on the porch makes me smile.

There are tiny Meyer lemons, the Satsuma is blooming, and the fig tree bravely sports baby figs!



Post a comment and tell me what is greening and growing in your garden!   

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beating Heart, Blooming Rose: A Story of Friendship

                                                         
                                                           
I love growing antique roses. Every time I tend mine or bring bouquets in to grace our kitchen table, I am reminded of the dear friend who first introduced me to “old roses.” I had never been much inspired to grow roses, appreciating the beauty of long stemmed hybrids, but avoiding their need for pampering. Marcia told me about robust roses that are so hardy they grow on old tumbled down homesites and along fences. Once I realized that each one had its own unique story and fragrance, I was hooked. I pored over catalogs, and planted Sombreuil, Mutabulis, Maggie, and Crepescule. My rose friends’ stories blend now with my friend Marcia’s story, and that of her husband, Bob.


Bob was crazy about Marcia. Marcia adored Bob. Her nickname was Moose, and she fancied cats and roses. The cats were a pair of vocal chocolate point Siamese named Mikhail and Nikita and were Bob and Marcia’s babies, but the roses were their passion.



Marcia had picked out her wedding dress and envisioned a wedding long before she found Bob when she was in her mid-thirties. During their pre-marital counseling sessions with Marcia’s pastor, Bob was asked what one thing he would change about her if he could. He said he would give her a healthy heart since she was born with a hole in her heart and developed Eisenmenger’s syndrome which meant her heart and lungs were unable to provide her with enough oxygen. That didn’t keep her from her photography business but it made keeping up with physical activity hard for her. It also didn’t keep her from loving Bob and planning a life with him.


After Bob heard Marcia say she always wanted a rose garden, he bought 80 acres of fertile South Texas Gulf Coast land to plant neither rice nor cotton, but thousands of rose bushes. They drew up plans, pored over catalogs, and began choosing roses. When the first 2000 rose plants arrived, Marcia directed the planting from her hospital bed. A group of us who called her friend went out to plant the roses with Bob’s help.


Two pacemakers later, she was placed on a heart transplant list. Finally, Bob and Marcia and the cats moved to Nashville, TN to be near Vanderbilt University Hospital while she waited what they thought would bea few months to receive a heart and lungs. I went out to their rose farm a few times to help pot cuttings as their plans to open a shop and nursery were postponed. Many of their family and friends did what they could to help maintain the plantings. Time dragged on over 2 years, with Marcia in and out of the hospital as her need became greater. Because the need for organs so far outweighs donors, Marcia once said “There’s just no ordering from the Land’s End catalogue.” That may have been a quip, but certainly not a joke. In order to increase awareness for organ donation, she allowed a reporter and photographer to follow her for 4 ½ months in the hospital, a story later published in the Nashville newspaper. In the series of articles, Marcia and Bob's love for each other and their deep faith dominated the story of their courage.


Bob worked from her hospital room and their apartment on his computer and was her chief encourager. One day he filled every pitcher, Styrofoam cup, and container he could find in her hospital room with Texas roses which he had flown to Tennessee. He brought Mikhail and Nikita for visits because she missed them so much. Her Dr. OK'd this when he found out how much it helped her.


The day came for Marcia's rare heart and double lung transplants in April 1999. Recovering, she returned to Texas with pink cheeks, a grin, and enough air to play her flute as well as honor a promise to a friend to be in her June wedding. In her absence, friends and family had planted, rooted, and tended endless cuttings and rose beds. Bob built her a house. Early on they had planned a gift shop, tea room, and wedding chapel for their antique rose nursery and display gardens named The Vintage Rosery. Together, now they worked side by side, nurturing roses, increasing public awareness of organ donation and organic gardening, and kept all the commitments involved in maintaining Marcia's health. Together, they prayed and played, keeping the dreams alive, celebrating the opening of their gardens only 2 years after her transplants. For the next 5 they grew their garden and introduced customers to roses.


On a brilliant fall day, a line of cars miles long drove through the arches at the Vintage Rosery past masses of climbing yellow Lady Banks and fragrant Madame Alfred Carriere drifts, along the beds of multicolored Mutabulis, Maggie and pink Duchesse de Brabant next to rows of Souvenir de La Malmaison. They passed by the stream with its covered bridge and saw a tiny chapel. As people got out of their cars, they walked by a charming yellow house with a kitchen garden and fragrant herbs lining paths. By the lakeside, they gathered to honor Marcia and celebrate her life.

The following month, a “For Sale” sign hung on the gate. Bob held a moving sale. Marcia’s mom helped him. I went, weeping as I bought some of Marcia’s herb and antique rose books. As friends and strangers walked through the house and gardens, they saw “Rose Bushes - $10.00 each”, “Garden Books - $5 each”, “Gardening Tools -$15”, “Cutting Baskets - $7” I miss my friend. But I see her when I walk among my roses.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Roses for Your Birthday

Another family birthday comes into view while we are still basking in the glow of last week's celebration for Maddie.  One hundred twenty-five years ago on March 15, 1887, a baby girl given the name Mary Clyde Curley was born to a 34 year old  French immigrant whose husband died during the pregnancy.  This baby was the youngest of 9 living children born to Ernestine, who had buried a child in addition to two husbands, both of whom died before seeing their last child. 

Clyde, as the baby was called, was born into adversity and affliction of circumstance.  But she was also born into a close family circle as her mother moved back home to relatives.  I don't know much about her childhood, but I do know she loved her siblings dearly and spoke of them often.  In 1904 she married Hezekiah Peyton Terrell and gave birth to 3 sons and a daughter.  Opal, her daughter, was my mother.  I became Clyde and Ky's first grandchild.

Clyde Terrell mourned the death of her oldest son, Vinnon, due to a hunting accident on Christmas Day in 1922.  She never drove a car, never lived in a house with indoor plumbing until she was nearly 80.  She raised her family on a farm in Smith County, Texas, drew water from a well, washed the family laundry in an iron wash pot set over a fire in the yard, and hung the clothes on a line outside to dry after which she ironed them with a flatiron kept hot on the wood stove.  She planted morning glories and old maids,  kept a garden for vegetables,  milked a cow, hung slaughtered meat in a smokehouse, and kept chickens for eggs as well as wringing their necks for Sunday dinner for the preacher.  She put up berries and peaches along with peas and green beans in mason jars with sealed lids and baked pies and tea cakes. She lived by "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"  Therefore, she sewed her own clothing, replaced buttons, turned collars and cuffs on Papa's shirts, and made patchwork quilts with what was left.  She was an adept seamstress, adding embellishments of crochet, tatting, hemstitching, and cutwork to aprons,  pillowcases and tea towels.

I remember being folded into her soft, sweet embrace and never felt more loved.  I remember drinking cold well water from a dipper, picking berries with her, and stubbing my toe on the red dirt road when we walked to the mailbox.  I remember that she welcomed folks to her door and to her table, the same one that my own family gathered around for lunch after church today.  However, she always put a clean white tablecloth on top, and when anything was blooming, a jar of flowers on the table. Whether we were eating fried chicken or cornbread, biscuits or berry cobbler, the food was always delicious and warm and her welcome even moreso.

But most of all I remember her deep faith in and love of God.  She knew God loved her and trusted him unfalteringly. She was a woman of prayer.  She didn't just go to church, it was a part of her and she was a part of the people and their worship and service.  Her pastor and his wife were her best friends.  I loved going to church with her because she loved it so much.  She had tragedies.  She did not have what most would call an easy life.  But she lived in gratitude and praise for the blessings she had. 

Grandma died one month before her 90th birthday in 1977.  I still miss her. This morning just as dawn was arriving, I went out into our garden and picked these yellow roses in her honor.  She had an old  rose bush near the front window of their house at the top of the red dirt road. She often brought bouquets of the blooms in for her table.  They were golden yellow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Good to Be Back

We broke alot of records recently in Texas. June, July, August and right into September found us with the most days without rain, the most days of temperatures over 100, the most damaging wildfires, the highest water and electricity bills, and the least happy roses, among other plants and grasses. In an effort to be a better steward of the water we are blessed with, I started saving water that I had used to wash vegetables and collected the bits of leftover water from drinking and cooking to take out to the plants. I even took the iced tea pitcher out to water the ferns with leftover tea, something I remember my grandmother doing.

 Cooler mornings and more reasonable, if still hot days in the past week are bringing some old friends fresh growth and a few tentative blooms.  Our pink  Peggy Martin, the antique rose with the reputation of being a survivor of Katrina has a few small clusters of buds.  This less hardy climbing rose is named Crepescule, an old French old rose.  Its name is not so pretty, but the blooms that are beginning are lovely and fragrant, reminding me once more why all the work and watering is worth it, and that we all need a little more nurturing in drought, whether it is of the weather or the heart.

Friday, November 20, 2009

SHATTERING

When remembering my grandparent’s old house on an East Texas Hill, my thoughts reenter the red dirt road up to the house. We never went in at the front, but always drove around to the back, parked under the oak trees and, flinging open car doors, we ran to open arms and an open screen door in the back. That door took us into the large room known simply as the sleeping porch. It had windows all across two sides , was furnished with a big feather bed, the curved front bureau that now lives in my own front bedroom, some rocking chairs, a heater, and the oak dining table and china cabinet we now call ours.

I can picture going into the small kitchen just off the sleeping porch. There was a wood stove, a bucket of water with a dipper, and there Grandma produced peas and cornbread, fried chicken, homemade blackberry jelly, and my favorite treat, tea cakes. From the kitchen a door led into one of 3 front rooms which were separated by a long hall that had speckled blue linoleum dotted with white stars. On one wall sat a long chintz covered quilt box. That box is here in my house, too. On its surface sit family pictures, generations beyond my grandparents, but none of whom would have been possible without them!

At the end of the hall, the door opened onto the front porch. Two things pulled me there. One was a porch swing where I could sit and swing and read. The other was a large rose bush, planted at the corner where the house and porch met, just outside a bedroom window. It was a yellow rose, with large fragrant petals. My grandmother often filled a jar with these roses to put on the kitchen table. She didn’t have a car or an indoor bathroom, but she had roses. We would bury our noses in their softness and fragrance and thank God for this gift to us. When these roses had blessed us with their beauty for a brief time, and began to drop their petals on the table cloth, Grandma called this “shattering”. “Those roses have shattered,” she would say. I know that we use the same term for broken crystal and failed dreams, but in today’s bouquets, the shattering of the roses always brings a tender smile and a remembering of Grandma’s yellow roses.
Lord, I want to bloom today. Keep me together. Help me not to shatter.