Pale Roses


There are many ways to murder a rosebush. If brought up on charges, I would probably plead guilty, but not of the premeditated variety. I’d never kill a rose on purpose. I’m just terrible at keeping the plants alive, unless they decide for themselves they want to stick around. I’ve had that good fortune a time or two, so I just keep trying, failing, and trying again. Like any good psychopath, I’m a bit obsessed.

It started when I was a teenager. Inspired by an interest in heraldry and things medieval, I drew stars, gave them one or two layers of petals, and surrounded them with leaves that formed a softer star shape. These became a kind of signature for me. They decorated my notebook covers and the margins of my journals. When my family moved, I used a marker to put roses on all of my boxes.

This obsession continued through high school and into college. I bought a small rose banner at my first renaissance festival and put it on the door of my bedroom and later, my first apartment. I bought my first bottle of rosewater and began making things like rose lemonade and rose petal jelly. Miniature roses came into fashion and I kept a nice one alive in my window for many years. Proud of my success, I collected a half dozen others and promptly killed them.

Roses can be very difficult to grow. Normally, a multitude of failures with a plant helps me to level up as a gardener. I study up, learn from my mistakes, and get better. Not so with roses. There is always another disease, another fungus, another insect or arachnid. Too much rain, too much heat, too harsh a winter, the wrong kind of soil, too much or two little light, too much or too little humidity, the possibilities are nearly endless.

There is good ol’ human error, as in “Oops, I forgot to water it, forgot to feed it, forgot to mist it or prune it or sing it a lullaby.” There are times when I’ve done everything I can think of and the darn thing dies anyway, leaving me to conclude it doesn’t like me and is pining away for it’s previous owner.  I’ve lost quite a few rosebushes that appear to have simply lost their will to live.

This year I wanted a white rosebush and the plant nurseries had nothing of the sort. They were overflowing with Knockout roses, a beautiful, tough, bushy variety that grows well in this area. These are red and I love to look at them, but most of them have no scent. Fragrance is important to me and I wanted my rose to be white. I gave up in despair over the summer but then happened upon just what I was looking for yesterday. It’s a nicely scented, snowy white rosebush, theoretically adapted to this area and “easy to grow.” We’ll have to see about the relative value of that term.

I’m hoping to get it in the ground this evening. I’m hoping it likes me and wants to grow for me. I’m hoping I don’t make any massive errors that result in it’s death. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.  As was stated in the author’s notes for Hunt Club, I cultivate pale roses. Cultivate in this case would mean “attempt to grow.”

I do try. Sometimes I’m even successful at it. 🙂

ROW#80 Update

  1. Get the cover for Hunt Club set up. Done. It’s ready to go.  Now I need to proofread the text and make sure it’s ready for print.
  2. Average ½ hour a day working on new novel. Yes! I’m finally making progress in this area. Sadly, it is partially creative avoidance of another project, but at least it is a useful sort of creative avoidance. I’ll take what I can get.
  3. Average ½ hour a day on promotion and blogs. Up to date and then some. I skipped the last one because on my grid, the time spent blogging was overtaking my time spent writing. I gave it a break and let the guilt drive me to better productivity.
  4. Finish reading a book and write a review. Nope.

    The good news is I didn’t spend six hours this week trying to write the novel I plan to attack in earnest during November’s NaNoWriMo session. Nope, didn’t happen. Instead (bad news), I spent about four hours at plot crunching, figuring out who dunnit and how and where and whether the butler was involved. This is more difficult then the lovely rush of writing actual scenes, so that’s OK, right?

Aw, who am I kidding? I’m getting really excited about the next project on my roster, so much that I keep “cheating” and obsessing over it. The e-book has three five star reviews. Now I want to show the world I can write another one as good. I’m already planning to spend the month of October crunching out the details of the plot so I’ll have a good solid sense of direction and be able to make my NaNo session as productive as possible.

It’s all terribly exciting and I can hardly wait, but I really need to show a little discipline and get the darn print book out into the world. I should be able to get it done this week if I put my mind to it and stop succumbing to every shiny distraction on my desk.


2 thoughts on “Pale Roses

  1. Good luck with your new rose bush! My grandmother was always nurturing hers and bemoaning their demises. It always seemed to be too wet in Nebraska for them. Here in Arizona, I walk through the neighborhood and people have these huge, wild-looking, sweet-smelling rose bushes. Oma would have gone nuts for ’em!

  2. My grandparents grew lovely American Beauty roses that won prizes. When I was seven years old, they gave me a 75 year old bush. It’s still in my parents’ yard today. I’m estranged from them, but, as we live within walking distance, I can see its fuschia blooms every June. A few years, it’s looked like it was on its last branches, only to rally the next year.

    I keep meaning to ask the kids to take a cutting. Maybe this is the year….?

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