T's Glorious Roses
in which I borrow the garden next door...

Roses, for me, have always exhibited the floral heights of beauty and exhuberance, combined into that old-fashioned quality that used to be revered as elegance. I had several straggly rosebushes at my old house, grown in a tiny area that got the most amount of sun; one, Bill Warriner, did reasonably well, but they were never a particular success story. I may someday return to rose gardening, but for now, I have something even better: my next door neighbor's rose garden.

Instructions for designing gardens often include a section on “borrowing” trees, views and the like that are outside one's property lines but nevertheless in view. I'm particularly fortunate, in that there are beautiful gardens on both sides of me, though one is mostly shrouded by shrubs. The other, however, is fully open to my view, and thus I'm treated to my neighbor's glorious roses.

In fact, I don't believe any of the roses shown are tea roses.

One of the reasons I particularly enjoy this garden is because though I admire it tremendously, it is one I'll never have: it is laid out in an orderly, traditional pattern, narrow, rectangular strips which form a central diamond bound with beds edging the property upon a lush green (and yes, weedfree) lawn. The perfect grass acts as a setting for T's equally carefully tended roses: —if a leaf has the tiniest bit of black spot on it, off it comes. If a plant is sickly, out it goes. (This sort of attention, is of course, what all the manuals tell you do, even if you don't grow roses.)

Compared to the weeds that choke my beds as I wallow in indecision, wondering whether they're something I might've wanted even if I didn't plant them, the groundhog chewed plants, the endless buried concrete and trash— the sheer mess, T's garden seems perfect and serene. I know this is an illusion, because we squealed as picked inchworms out the buds out of one bush (tweezers for lampworking are ideal for this task, btw) , and I have heard complaints about aphids and blackspot and sickly plants.

But I maintain that gardens are a creative endeavor, and they cannot help illuminating the gardeners who create and tend them; and thus the passion, precision and beauty of this garden reflects, a little, of a person I feel very privileged to know.


file created 11jun06; additional editing, 12jun.; tags updated 19may22