Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wild Roses

Many long years ago, when I was a small girl, the best part of the school session was the month of June, and not only because it was the beginning of Summer holidays.

I travelled home by school bus. The weather had warmed up by June; the bus windows were all open. And every once in a while, a waft of Air would bring in the scent of the wild Rose, which grew rampant on the sides of the roads.

I was amazed at this flower. She came back year after year, without any tending. And Rose's scent...clean, fruity, sharp, sweet and unmistakable...made me gather fist loads of her to give to my Mother, never minding the thorns. I did this until I discovered how fleeting the life of Rose's flower was, once picked.

Her beautiful, scented blossom is meant to be admired outside, where Sun and Rain and Wind release her ethereal essence. It seemed to me that she breathed out the very smell of the upcoming Summer.

And here she is again. Our property has wild Roses everywhere. Some do not like her; they pull her, they poison her, they bulldoze the Soil around her. And eventually, she does not come back.

There are very few wild Roses blooming along roadsides anymore.

But I love her.  She can be difficult to love, with her running roots and her habit of hanging on to her dead canes until there is very little of her blooming canes left in a huge tangled bush. Rose does so for a reason...those old canes give her support when she leafs out, when she blooms, and finally, when her red hips hang ripe and luscious.

When I cleared the lower bench, I took out those old canes, and pruned the others.  Rose has rewarded me with an abundance of blooms...but she can not hold herself upright, if the canes left were small. One of the jobs on my list is to stake those dangling, lovely balls of pink, in so doing giving Rose strength to grow those large hips.

She will send up other canes.  If they are in the same area as the cane left after clearing, I will leave them, in order to build  a bush.  I did this with a small, wild Rose I found when we moved in, right by the West side of the deck steps.

After two seasons, she glows.  She is clothed in pink with very healthy dark green leaves, used almost as a fashion accessory. It is as if, at any moment, she may pick up her skirts and twirl and dance, as if in a minuet.

From a very unassuming little Rose, about the size of a minute, she has grown three feet, possible more if I had let her. But I pruned, fertilized and clipped, last year when there was little in the garden to nurture.

And she has certainly rewarded me! Now my concern is for how large she will grow...and how much clipping and pruning there will be, in the future.

When I smell her unforgettable scent, as I work in the beginning stages of what will be a garden, I am transported back to my childhood.  It never fails to make me smile with anticipation for the upcoming Summertime.

It doesn't matter that I no longer have Summer vacations such as I had as a child.  I am flooded with happy memories, all of which shower me with joy and well-being. In reality, my childhood was not always like this; yet, Rose only sends me cheerful, buoyant recollections.

And this is the way I prefer to remember my past...with joy. I have left the rest...the garbage left over from lessons learned...behind.

Wild Rose takes me back in time when I first began my journey. A time of anticipation and innocence, a time when life's sorrows had not yet tinged happiness for me.

And I wonder...perhaps it is time, once again, to view the World through those proverbial rose-coloured glasses I once owned...the ones I put away long ago? Perhaps it is time to put the scarred, cracked and blackened ones away,  along with that left-over garbage?

The scent of Wild Rose tells me it just might be so.


  1. Anonymous2:27 p.m.

    I love the tangled beauty of the simple wild rose rambling this way and that, spreading joyful color and fragrance wherever she roams. But gardeners, myself included are prone to pruning and cajoling, making gardening work!

    I agree, it is that time in life, not too young or old, to dust off those rose colored glasses and see the world with a hint of softness and not let the thorns stand in the way. :D

  2. Beautiful! My favorite Christmas carol is "Lo, a rose ere blooming"--and you made me think of it today. :)

  3. This looks related to the multiflora rose introduced into our area in the 50's as a hedge reinforcer. The University Extension group tasked with the necessity to spread "booklearnin" to the masses brought this rose into the area for farmers to use at the fencelines thus making barbed wire unnecessary. Always sounds good at first.
    It is not an indiginous species and rapidly spread throughout the woods and roadsides.
    I fight it around the lake and cut out as much as possible to avoid the nasty scratches as I walk the woods. (the barbed wire still exists though and farmers now cut rose away from the wire.)

    But I do let it grow near the water on the other shore since the bright white flowers and wonderful scent are a real treat. So I guess I must consider the benefits.

  4. Both of my grandmothers had wild roses in their yards and I loved them so much. i wish I could find some to plant today. I do love my pampered hybrids, but they don't have the scent i remember from the old fashioned ones.

  5. Miruh,

    You outdo yourself, my friend, each and every time you leave your lovely comment! Yes, I played with the Rose at the deck entrance, just to see what would happen if I left it there, as a guardian, so to speak. But Rose was straggly and small; it felt great to mulch and water and give her food last year.


    Thank you for the quote! It is the time for Rose to bloom...the ones I planted this Spring on the upper bench are outdoing themselves, for being so small. I'm glad I'm not sensitive to their scent, as it wafts through the property. It's lovely!

    She's grown very large...time to let up on the fertilizer, I think,lol! But Rose is capable of withstanding the harsh Winters. That's why I cultivate them.

    The Cariboo, when plants go wild with exuberance at the warmer weather, cannot be beat in the Spring for wildflowers. It's beautiful!


    This particular Rose I wrote about is indigenous here...the Rose Hips are large and really good after the first frost. They are used in jams,jellies, etc.

    Here's a site which tells about the Wild Rose...http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/wildflowers/wild.htm

    Being indigenous does not mean it can't be a pest, but the Wild Rose is also easily cultivated, if one chose to do so.

    Wasn't kudzu introduced the same way, as your Rose? Imagine...using a vigorous bramble Rose for fencing! It doesn't take much to understand a Rose that will take the place of fences, will also go everywhere, since Rose does not understand the concept of man's idea of fences!

    I cut many, as well, as I cleared the land. There was no other way to walk anywhere through a Rose patch! But the ones I've left (and there are many!) a blooming beautifully right now...and I can't wait for the hips!


    I would send you some Rose canes, but I don't think they would go through the border. But I believe there are places on the Internet where you can buy them. Sometimes they are called the Wood Rose.

    Isn't it lovely your grandmothers had them? It would make you remember the time you had with your grandmothers all the more sweet...

  6. Lovely post, Marion. For me it was honeysuckle on a humid deep south night--that primal childhood smell that I seek yet but which eludes me always. Just as the watermelon chunks I ate as a kid will always be sweeter than anything I have tasted since. I still keep looking though.

  7. I once owned a honeysuckle and I can attest to its scent. It was outside my bedroom window, and it would enter into my dreams. It was quite strong, so I can imagine how you would not forget it. Childhood memories...seems like not much can compare with the smell or taste of things encountered in childhood.

  8. What a beautiful and evocative post, Marion. I love wild roses, though we don't generally get them here, but they always speak of magic and wild nature and the way things should be.

  9. I love the idea of scents in dreams -- especially honeysuckle. Never thought of, nor had for that matter, scents in my dreams but it would be a wonderful addition.
    The kudzu is indeed another example of something brought into an ecosystem which does not belong there. Also zebra snails, fire ants, some pine-tree varieties, and multiflora rose. I am sure there are many more examples of mans' tampering with nature. Perhaps now we have learned the lesson.

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