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Rose Time: Entering Summer

My roses ae blooming! “Stanwell Perpetual” opened the show: fragrant, pale pink flowers, 3” across, semi-double: with lots of petals, but the ones in the center are smaller than the outer ones, producing a flattened shape, and letting you see the stamens. A tough rose, it’s native to Scotland, hardy in Alaska, and likes sandy soil.

This bush puts out an initial explosion of bloom, before the Japanese beetles emerge from the ground. Then it reblooms a little all summerr, I bring the buds indoors as they start opening, to enjoy them before the beetles do. But I have to watch out for thorns: this rose used to be called “spinosissima” because it has the most prickers — two kinds even: short, fine hairs and long, heavy spines!

Next comes "William Baffin," covering the arched arbor with raspberry-pink flowers, also semi-double but more lax and open than the Stanwell’s, with the white centers and yellow stamens standing out more against the deep pink. I have to pause for a moment of appreciation when I walk under this glorious shrub.

Rose time, to me, means the summer solstice: the hinge of the gardening year, the moment between cool spring and hot summer. When the pace of garden work slows from spring’s high energy to a more temperate measure. When it’s time to get newly purchased plants off the porch and out of their pots — enough of all that stress — and into the ground, into the arms of Mother Earth. Time to turn on the soaker hose, and replace any sections leaking.

Time to get my comfortable garden chair re-situated. It used to shelter under the long reach of the apple tree that leaned out of the woods. When that fell down, in order to clean up the debris Ward moved the chair helter-skelter — to a place out of his way but not good for sitting. It needs a combination of shade, and a good view of my garden. The spot the apple grew from is perfect. I like the idea of sitting beside the stump, appreciating the specialness that lingers in that space.

As the cycles of the year turn, I like to savor their changes. Just as I pause under the magical arch of roses, before entering my garden, so I take the opportunity at the summer solstice to drink in this moment in my life and in my garden.

© Copyright 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 25 June 2004

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