Posted in Humor, This is real life.

There’s No Crying in Gardening!

…actually, Tom Hanks, there is. If you get stuck multiple times in the same place by rose thorns, I’m pretty sure even you would be shedding a few tears.

Good thing that quote’s actually about baseball.

In any case, my summer has gotten off to a rocky start, culminating this evening (post a rather relaxing dinner with old friends) in me telling myself to grow a pair, stop tearing up over some goddamned rose bushes, and hacking one down. At least, I hacked away until the sun fully set like half an hour after I started. I’ll have to dig it out tomorrow.

But to put a positive spin on things, I’m going to tell you the three main truths that rose-gardening has taught me since I inherited about 6 bushes upon the purchase of my house this fall. And as I do, you’ll learn why one of them had to go. Maybe two. I’m hoping just the one.

1. The greater the beauty, the higher the maintenance.

Roses are beautiful. I’m not a big fan of people buying me roses, because I’d rather have something more unique…plus my favorite flowers are irises and daffodils, but I like them in bush form, sprawling and blooming all over the place. Love it, more like.

However, I’ve come to realize that the ones I’m not so fond of, the “heirloom” type, as I call them, are the easiest to take care of out of all of my roses. They have smaller, less painful thorns, they bloom like nobody’s business, even if you forget to deadhead them on the regular, and they’re mostly black spot-resistant (See #3). The ones that grow blooms the size of my hand have giant-ass thorns to go along with their larger blossoms and require a bit more cleaning up after blooming or the stems die, not to mention spraying down with all sorts of stuff every time that it rains to keep them healthy.

Photo Apr 16, 7 48 10 PM
Low maintenance.
Photo Apr 08, 6 41 40 PM
High maintenance.

Ain’t nobody got time for all that shit. But here I am, outside, trying my best to rescue two of them, while flitting over to the one healthy one every five minutes like some plant-hypochondriac, looking for any sign that something might be wrong with it.

I feel that the roses are trying to tell me to find an older, rich, yet not-so attractive man and just settle the fuck down; life would be easier that way.

2. You can never have too much protection. 

Usually I only find myself saying this when someone asks me why I packed a brand new box of condoms for an overnight trip. But recently, I’ve been reciting this in my head as I throw on jeans, a long sleeved shirt, sometimes an old wind jacket shell, and heavy duty gloves before heading out to prune the roses.

I now understand why little old ladies often have not only wrinkled and shaky, but also scarred hands. It’s not from cats. Well, okay, sometimes it’s from cats. But not always. Sometimes it’s from those fucking thorns all over the goddamned rose bushes that little old ladies plant in their yards before selling their homes to young 20-somethings to wreck.

I don’t like being predictable or failing at anything, so clearly I’m not going to give in so easily. And so I suit up like I’m allergic to the fucking sun or something, and I head out in the sweltering heat to dead head all the pretty, wilting flowers.

3. The black spot means certain death.

One thing that owners of rose bushes and pirates have in common is that we all fear the black spot. If you, like me, are a fan of classic literature and/or Muppets (it’s ‘and’ for me), then you may recall Billy Bones’s reaction to receiving the black spot in Treasure Island.

Now you know the drama associated with this discovery. It’s the same for we who discover spots on our rose bushes.

Well, okay, I didn’t react like that at first, because I didn’t really understand what it meant. But when I finally got some time off (read: this week), I flipped my shit. Apparently, this fungus will wreck rose bushes. It’s like rose cancer, and while it’s mostly preventable with a lot things that seem to involve sulfur and baking soda…it’s not as easy to cure or treat. This explains why one of my bushes hasn’t bloomed in like 2 months, and why another one of them has been slowly thinning itself.

Obviously, I freaked out, cried (sorry Tom), and felt like I had failed these rose bushes. And that, of course, this also meant that I failed at being a grown up. Suck. In the end, I realized that it’s just a plant, and I can replace it, and I should do what needs to be done and just get rid of the one that’s too far gone…for the greater good.

And on that note, to make myself feel slightly better, I’m going to go watch Hot Fuzz. Tomorrow I shall tackle the emotional abyss that is getting my yard under control, but for now, I’m going to go eat the rest of my Liz Lemon greek yogurt and watch a lot of people with British accents get killed. Take that, gardening.


We seek to learn, and when academics do not present the answers, we look inside our own beautiful imaginations for the key.

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