The sweetness and the sorrow.

I don't even know why I keep doing it but I do.

I water and prune these unfortunate roses planted here in the most unfortunate of small spaces between my front porch and my front walk. 

Don't get me wrong. I love a rose and, time was, gently nurtured many in my beds, temperamental as they were. Rosebuds are innocent and lovely but these grew into a wily species with ugly thorns that grip as you try and go your way. They seem to want to spread directly over the walkway so as to impede any progress at all. I can't help but wonder what was the purpose of planting them here because, truly, these are the stuff of a medieval fairy tale.

Giving me further reason to question the prudence of my predecessor are the azalea bushes that come after my roses. Don't hear what I'm not saying, an azalea bush is a welcome sight to behold, blossoming brilliant and colorful. They give me hope again after a long, dreary winter. 

For about two weeks.

Meanwhile, the trouble with these is that they obstruct and overwhelm and threaten to overtake the garden altogether. As if that weren't enough, they've been infected with a nasty vine for which there is no cure. I'll be honest and say that I've taken to only attempting to uproot these vines one at a time as they appear. I admit it's a much bigger problem than I am able to fully address so I just do the best I can with the energy I have. 

With the weeding and the mulching and the watering and the fair to middlin', I've become drained and dirty and discouraged. Each session reminds me that I am not the gardener I used to be. 

Depending on perspective, it's difficult to judge whether the azaleas or the roses present the most challenge. 

From the mailbox at the bottom of the driveway, I tisk tisk at the asymmetry of the azaleas while simultaneously lamenting the wickedness of the vines snaking themselves about the roots. It's hard to be mad at an azalea flower who keeps blooming under the circumstances even if it only for a little while.

From my front porch rocker, I wonder if I have what it takes to uproot these roses altogether and relieve myself and any who come in contact with them of the pain they cause. They have drawn blood on more than one occasion and make it hard to love roses. Don't hear what I'm not saying 'cause I'll just keep doing what I've always done.

Perhaps, my slow and steady dedication will prevail and, eventually, this garden of mine will shape up in spite of the unruly vines and unfortunate judgement of the previous residents. 

Still and all, it's an exhausting business. Care-taking.

When we moved to this new garden, we brought along a remnant of our old one in two faded square planters full of last year's potting soil, thinking we'd freshen them up a bit later. You won't even believe what happened. The zinnias came back, hearty, thriving and golden. One sits next to the roses and the other by the azaleas.

For inspiration.


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