Sunday, September 30, 2012

a rose - or learning to be a botanist or something

A few years ago, i was in a ladies' meeting here in town, and a beautiful older lady, whom i cherish and treasure, and who is very hard of hearing, introduced me to some other ladies and told them that i was a botanist.  


What i had told her was that i had talked to a botanist.  But it was a nice thought.

The sadness is that one of the surest ways to kill a plant seems to be to give it to me.  I've actually managed to kill ivy in a jar of water before.  I can't even figure out how.  

And yet, i aspire to learn to grow things in the ground.  I am constantly fascinated by the plants and trees and flowers around me.  I just can't help it.  I love plants.  And i yearn to learn to make them grow.


Before i got married, i thought i knew how to cook.  In fact, i thought i was a good cook.  And that was not untrue.  I knew how to do a good job with pretty much everything i was accustomed to and enjoyed eating on a daily basis.  The problem was that my husband knew how to cook and was accustomed to eating and enjoyed a pallet of dishes and foods that i really didn't know much about.  And my husband, as with virtually everything he puts his hand to, was and is a wonderful cook.

This was the very first year of our marriage, and i having foolishly begun a new career at the same time as starting a marriage (as if one were not enough) was given to many growing pains which took the form of wild-eyed bawling fits of rage and frustration, as i learned to be half of a whole and to get along with the other half, 24 hours a day (since we worked at the same location, my husband and i were literally never at separate addresses for the first 3 months of our marriage).  

After one such growing pain, in which i expressed my disdain for my new husband's apparent superior skill at all things, my sweet darling lovingly encouraged me to "ruin a hundred dollars worth of groceries" and see what worked for me.  He continued ..."or a couple hundred dollars...."  (A couple hundred dollars went a lot further grocery-wise 13 years ago.  In the days when i really did.....this isn't a fairy tale, gas for 89 cents a gallon.  Those were the days!)

I don't remember whether i really did "ruin a couple hundred dollars worth of groceries," or not, but my husband's words gave me freedom to fail on the road to learning something new.  And i can now do a really good job (he hasn't mentioned it if i'm wrong about this) making my husband a pot of beans or sausage and gravy and other items i previously had little to no experience or interest cooking.


 My in-laws, who live right up the road from us, here in the country, have this rose bush.

Sorrowfully, i do not have a picture of it.  But it grows right outside their front door, and it climbs up a lattice or some other climbing thing.  And it gifts them the most beautiful and delicious smelling roses for months upon months throughout the year.  And even though i have never been a particularly big fan of a rose bush, i. love. this. rose bush.  And i want one.

So, a couple of months ago, i acquired permission and encouragement to take a couple of clippings from said coveted rose bush to try to root my own.  My mother-in-law, and her bright green thumb, loaned me a container of root growth hormone, and i excitedly followed the directions on the container and planted two clippings in little pots on my kitchen window sill.  But despite my tending and watering and happy thoughts, my little cuttings now look like this.

Not promising.  There are actually cob webs.  

Then, a couple of weeks ago, at a gathering at that same home, i mentioned my failed cuttings, and someone said that her somebody (mama, meemaw, or some such) always puts them in water to root.  So i got two more cuttings, and i took them home and put them in water next to the other potted cuttings.

Also, not looking so great.  No root hairs or anything going on there. I've checked.  Just yellowing and disappearing leaves.

Today, again at same house to watch the Texans whoop the Titans, i found an article on the interwebs that gave instructions involving "Grandma's Mason Jar," and i'm always a fan of things that involve Mason jars, so i took notice.  And i took another cutting.  I went to the store and bought more potting soil and cow manure compost and followed the directions, and here's my latest try.  That's really not a Mason Jar, but it's a jar, and i think it'll have the same effect.  Sadly, i'm not sure at all what effect that is.  I'm just following the directions and hoping for a miracle.

I thought of my husband's words today.  And the freedom to fail repeatedly along the road to learning something new and finding success.

It's supposed to take 4-6 weeks before it starts rooting and producing new growth.  Check back around the first two weeks of November for updates.  I'll be beside myself with glee if this works.  From there, i'm kind of counting on the rose to take care of itself.  Or maybe i'll just turn it over to my husband for safe keeping.  There's another bright green thumb.  My mother has a bright green thumb too!  I'm surround by them.  Isn't that supposed to be contagious or something?  Why am i immune?


This summer was our first summer to entertain the company of hummingbirds near our front porch.  We have enjoyed hours of entertainment as we watched them spar for the sweet "flowers" which are our hummingbird feeders, zipping back and forth and buzzing past our heads.  Grand entertainment. Then, later into the summer, we started noticing these new and lovely flowers mysteriously popping up and actually blooming in our long bereft flower bed.  

It didn't take us too long to figure out that these beautiful blossoms were popping up right under the hummingbird feeder.  The birds were planting us a flower bed!

Up until now, we've focused my husband's green thumb on things that make food, but this development inspired my soil slinging super hero to go to work.  And now we have the start of wonderful flower bed.  

The periwinkles - or vinca minor - that the hummingbirds were planting, are sparse now, but they are said to spread well, and we're hoping for a much fuller flower bed next spring.

See those hollow logs?  We've had those for about 3 years, wanting to do something lovely with them.  I like this idea the best.

Mums in the logs and a jasmine vine in the picture below, climbing up the post.

These red bricks and tiles were super duper cheap at Lowe's, and i really like them. 

1 comment:

  1. Way to go James! The flower beds look amazing!


What do you think about that?