The Calm with Year 4

harmonypMay 5, 2013

I was just meandering through the gardens today with my manual hedge trimmers. Switching sprinklers as I do daily in the heat. During the week I manually dead head. On the weekend at least one day, I grab the hedge trimmers as there's just too much to manually dead head now.

Barbara Streisand had a huge cane towering above her, I bent over to see it coming from Dr. Huey, and I quietly hacked it off. I also had a handful of bud tips that were flopped over, immediately recognizing it's sawfly larva season, those get quietly lopped off too.

I suddenly reflected that over the past 3 years, every new incident felt like an emergency. Seeing the effects of the sawflies was petrifying. And I was certain a cane of Dr. Huey meant the death of the bush. Every gopher mound huge stress to get it caged to save it - now, every rose has a cage so I snicker at the mounds between the cages and thinking how frustrated those little devils are. (Although we won't talk about the beautiful fig tree's roots they just destroyed - ultimately they are still winning).

Seeing rust for first time, and blackspot, and PM, and different bugs. Everything caused stress. Not that new things don't turn up to cause new stresses. But ... so much is now familiar. I don't worry about where to nip each cane when I'm pruning, I just approach like Edward Scissorhands, starting to understand which like to be pruned a lot, and which not so much. I mulch when I can. I fertilize when I can. I enjoy daily.

There is a calm in the garden. I think it's me. It feels great.

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It IS you, and that calm is wonderful! When still new, everything does seem to be an emergency, "life or death" if not immediately dealt with. It can come as such a revelation that these occurrences aren't usually fires which have to be put out first and that you CAN just let Nature take its course and not "lose the war for the Allies". Congratulations! Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:47PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Good to know. My roses are the poster children for insects and disease. Last week my dad was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer and is now living with me My circumstances are such that nature is going to have to take her own course.
I consider this my first year as a rose gardener. I'm so glad I have my roses. They really are one of the few joys I have in my life.
Just waiting to see the first blooms is really exciting to me! And all the different fragrances.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 4:30PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I've reached that stage too, Harmony. I fret less and enjoy more and it's better for both me and the roses. But it's a learning curve that all rose lovers go through. Once you get your roses established and have had a couple of years under your belt to get to know them we all settle down I think.

Susan, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I took care of my Mom and the garden was a great stress reliever for me. It was a place I could spend a little time when ever I could and think about something else and just depressurize. Be sure to take a little time for yourself to smell your roses. It will help and you need it and deserve it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:50PM
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lesmc sorry to hear of your fathers cancer. I hope your garden can be place of serenity for you and your father. I am the caregiver for my mother who is in end of life kidney disease. My garden is so valuable to me as a place to go to and just breathe. Thoughts with you. For Harmony....I, too feel a sense of calm with my garden. Years of experience teach that! lesley

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Susan may you find peace. I am sorry about your father
Harmony you write beautifully!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Harmony, how right you are about experience being the teacher that helps us really know what to do. Books and people are always a help, but doing it and seeing it ourselves is what helps us become a gardener. Those green thumbs we have are hard won.

Susan, I am so sorry, about your dad. My garden and roses have helped me so many times, ultimately pointing me to the gracious Hands that are under all. The colors, the fragrance, the joy of it all. I hope it helps sustain you through the next months. I agree with Seil's reminder to take a few minutes for yourself and your garden.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:07PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Thanks everyone for the kindness. It's been a rough few weeks. Right now I am starting to see the fruits of my labors and I realize that beauty surrounds us every day and it is our choice to take the time and see it amidst all the unhappiness in the world. It is a sanctuary and I look forward to the days when I too have the "calm with year 4".
hoov, if my garden looks like yours in 4 I will be thrilled!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Oh boy, that's rough. You & your Dad are in my prayers. May your roses lend their beauty to comfort you both.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:53PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

harmony, you're wiser than I am since after 6 years I'm still depressed and upset at the mildew I see everywhere in my garden which ruins not only the leaves but deforms the flowers. Later in the year the mildew will probably be gone but the heat will stress the garden instead. At the same time, if I'd had this problem to such a degree in the first year or two they would have had to put me on Valium.

Susan, I'm so very sorry about your dad and for what you're going through. My brother suffered a severe stroke some months ago and today I learned he had had another one. I went out into the garden alone at dusk and, even today, found some peace and comfort there. I wish the same for you.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Thanks for posting this, Harmony. How right you are that everything feels like an emergency when you begin this journey with roses and want to grow them well. It is comforting to hear that it is a phase that every rose gardener goes through.

Susan, I am sorry about your father. My family is going through something very similar. I wish you peace. I think you'll find the beauty in your garden is even more beautiful during difficult times and that it will comfort you in profound ways.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:22AM
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Susan, our thoughts are all with you. From experience with very difficult times, the garden can be sanity saving. The uglier life gets, the more beautiful the garden looks. And from leaving the gardens for many months with nothing but water, mine got along perfectly well without me!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:37AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Thanks again everyone. The older I get the more I realize how humbling life can be sometimes. I am thankful for my garden.
I am looking at it from the window today. It is grey, cool and drizzly. From my window I see iris, allium, nepeta, and the first blooms on a bunch of first year roses which I cannot identify without the tag!
I also see an empty birdfeeder, some dianthus in bloom and a bunch of hardy geranium ready to pop.
Verbena boniarensis, sea holly, daisies..chamomile.
It's really pretty. The colors pop more in the drizzle.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Tuggy3(9b NorCal)

Harmonyp that is so true. I remember the first year standing out in a windstorm trying to rebar and tie windbreaks around my roses and fretting about this and that. Nine years down the road I just run out and trim off the highest canes or wait until the next day and remove the broken ones. Roses are tough.

Susan I am sorry about your dad. I hope your garden gives you comfort and a place to renew. Mary

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:46AM
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