• Kaaren Poole

Life is Precious

This little rose bush has a big lesson to teach.

Summer before last, every time I visited my garden I marveled at the beauty of this rose bush. It looked different then. It was thick and lush, a 2' high 3' wide mound covered with clusters of bright cheery flowers. It had flourished since moving it from a pot into a raise bed in the fenced garden a few years before.


But then it started to look a bit peaked. And no matter what I did - checking for inspect pests, mildew, a watering or fertilizing problem - nothing could stem its downward spiral. Before I knew it all the leaves had died. But I hadn't given up hope. I decided to wait. Maybe it would make a comeback. (Years ago my lemon tree froze in a horrible hard frost when the temps were below 20F for 48 hours straight. It was a crispy frizzled picture of sadness. Heartbroken - OK, that could be a slight exaggeration - I cut it back to 2 feet and waited. Then, in July, just as I was about to dig it up I spotted the tiniest sprout. It came back more vigorous than ever!)


By January the rose bush was clearly dead and I made the sad decision to dig it up and use the space for a new bush. It was a grim task. But the digging was easy. There were no roots! Just a stump in the ground. Apparently gophers had been feasting until all the roots were gone, at which point they must have moved on to another poor unsuspecting victim.


I inspected the chewed stump at the base of the trunk, and what did I see? Teensy, tiny white specs. What could they be? Well, they were the very beginnings of new roots. So I carefully planted the skeletal remains in a pot - or, should I say, set it in a pot since there wasn't much to actually plant.


The roots must have grown because the rose has clearly sprung back. It has both foliage and flowers and also roots since it's now firmly settled in its pot. It's nowhere near as beautiful as it had been in the past. But it was beautiful. And in its beauty lay a lesson: life doesn't have to be spectacular to be precious.


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