Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Roses - Memories

18:35:00 Posted by Pamela Winning , , , , , , , No comments

An afternoon in August. I wanted to sit outside in the shaded side of the garden with something good on my Kindle, a nice cup of tea and complain half-heartedly about the heat wave sapping my energy. Alas, it’s not that sort of an afternoon. Today feels more like October. I stood in the kitchen admiring the flowers on the window sill then looking outside, watching the rain bouncing in the puddles and weighing down the foliage in the overgrown garden. Drenched buddleia heads bending to the ground, the bees and butterflies I was watching earlier have flown for cover. Peeping out from behind a sapling which is a gift from nature, as we didn’t plant it, I can see one orange rose bud on the bush which is usually abundant at this time of year. Well, it would be if it wasn’t light-starved by a massive, dark berberis that has taken over the entire border and is so fierce with long, stabby prickles that we can’t trim it. It’s time to rethink the garden and make it child-friendly and easy maintenance.  And allow more sunlight to the rose bush, which isn’t orange but tangerine when the flowers open.

The rose bush was a gift from a close friend and former colleague when I changed jobs and she’d chosen it for the colour as we both follow Blackpool Football Club. When the conditions are good, it thrives perfectly with many beautiful flowers and has done for the best part of ten years, until this berberis went berserk and overshadowed it. The berberis has to go.

When I was a child, I remember my mother had a pressed rose in the pages of a fat encyclopaedia.  It was too heavy for me so she would hold it and turn the pages and let me look at the rose. It had been red, but now it was brown and dark pink, squashed flat with the papery petal edges breaking away. The thorns had dropped off the stalk, which was more brown than green and the two leaves had stuck together. My father had given it to her, long before they were married and I kept it for many years after she passed away.

Red roses are so romantic. Before we were married, my husband took me out to dinner and had arranged for a bouquet of red roses to be placed on the table for me. Twelve perfect dark red roses, so beautiful. I felt like a princess. I saved one and pressed it in one of my historical art books. I might still have it, if it hasn’t turned to dust after all these years. And if it has gone, I have the wonderful memory as I do for my mother’s rose.
When the rose is faded,
Memory may still dwell on
Her beauty shadowed,
And the sweet smell gone.

That vanishing loveliness,
That burdening breath,
No bond of life hath then,
Nor grief of death.

'Tis the immortal thought
Whose passion still
Makes the changing
The unchangeable.

Oh, thus thy beauty,
Loveliest on earth to me,
Dark with no sorrow, shines
And burns, with thee.
              Walter de la Mare
Thanks for reading, Pam x