As as young child, I was fortunate to grow up in the country. My dad was not home very much, leaving my mom to raise three little girls alone. Some of my favorite childhood memories are being with her in the garden. It seemed she could grow anything. We had vegetable gardens, strawberry gardens, and beautiful flowerbeds. Her real passion for gardening centered around roses. She loved growing roses in Texas.
Not only did she grow roses, she loved the fragrance of the rose so much that she would buy powders, body splashes, and scented soaps all with the rose fragrance. My mom always smelled like a rose. It was delightful.
She would order hybrid rose bushes through catalogs, or we’d visit our local nurseries. When the mail arrived with her ordered rose, it was an exciting day. She would already have the place prepared for planting, and wasted no time getting her new plant in the ground. Those rose bushes thrived, but not without much care and attention. I can still hear her telling me about all the different diseases that seemed to attack her beauties. Her rose bushes would get black spot and other diseases that would cause them to drop their leaves. Some of them would produce beautiful blooms at the end of long stems with no leaves. It seemed she tried everything, even home remedies, but nothing seemed to help.
It is no surprise to me that I have the same passion for growing roses, but things are so different now. I do not battle rose bush diseases today because many disease resistant rose varieties have been created. I am successfully growing 20 different roses in my yard at the present time. I have all shapes, sizes, and colors, even arbors and trellises covered with different climbers. These roses can even be grown successfully in pots for those of you who love roses but do not have the garden space. Because there are small varieties such as miniatures and drifts, space is not a problem. I currently have four drift roses thriving in different spots in my yard. It is difficult to decide which of my many roses is my favorite.
My Mom is gone now, but I cannot help but remember her as I look upon the many blooms my roses produce from May to the first freeze. I wish she could have experienced growing disease resistant roses in her growing days. I never have to use pesticides or any type of disease control. As long as I plant properly, stick to a feeding schedule, and water regularly, they continue to deliver delightful blooms year after year. There are even varieties that do well in shade/partial shade.
When I look back on the many lessons my mom taught me, I’m most thankful for what I learned in the garden. Gardening for me is just another form of parenting. She taught me how to nurture and love. To plant a seed or a baby plant and properly nurture it to a successful adult plant is so rewarding.
I live in a small community and have several elderly ladies within walking distance. Most of them have outlived their husbands and live alone. To be able to deliver a bouquet of my roses to them and see their faces light up, makes my day.
I have recently visited my mother’s grave site and am happy to report it is surrounded by beautiful, thriving disease resistant roses! She would be so pleased.