Starting on Friday of last week, my spring fever began to kick in. Every year without fail I get a yearning to be outside, to grow things, to commune with nature. Like clockwork, around Easter I must go buy plants. Why Easter you ask? Because my grandmother Viola always said that no matter what day Easter is on, it can freeze until then. So off I went on Good Friday in search of new plants and dreaming of my garden.
The only problem? I do not have a green thumb. You say sure....you don't believe me? I really don't. I have a horrible track record. While most people that can't garden may give up and rely on a gardener, I refuse. I will persist and one day I will be a great gardener. You may think that I am crazy, but this year I can actually feel it. I think it will be the year that I will overcome my black thumb and cultivate plants successfully. This year is different because my mother will help me. She will guide me in the ways of plants and watering and sun/shade...so very basic but all too easy to screw up. I am excited for this year.
So excited that over the weekend I had a divine plant idea. It's actually almost romantic when it comes down to it. Looking into my grandfather's back yard in San Antonio on Saturday I gazed upon one of the largest and most beautiful rose bushes I have ever seen.
I have been to my grandfather's house so many times over the past 10 years but ever since "growing up," there wasn't a need to go back there anymore. Well this year was different. I knew that there were roses back there...I remembered that from my childhood. I actually went back there in search of something to draw. The roses that I found were so different than I remembered.
Gorgeous ivory garden roses with a touch of soft pink that smell like heaven. There were probably at least fifty on the enormous bush that was over 10 feet wide. I selected the specimen that I wanted to draw and set myself inside at my grandfather's kitchen table. I began to draw.
While I was drawing, I sense of completeness came over me. I remembered that this was my grandmother Charlotte's rose bush. My grandmother Charlotte is my dad's mother that passed away before I was born. I really think that she is where a lot of my creativity and love of working with my hands comes from. She was a sewer, a painter, a knitter, a cook and so much more.
A funny story about her: One day, after my parents had been married for quite a while, they called my pop-pop and grandma Charlotte and said that they had something to tell them. Thinking "oh boy! They are having a baby!," she knit baby booties. Only when they came, she found out that she had knit the booties for a new car. So typical of my parents. They ended up waiting 14 years after getting married to have me. By this point, it was too late for me to meet her.
So while I was drawing, I had the idea: I want to cultivate a rose bush from my grandmothers; a way to keep her memory with me, to touch and nurture something that she once did. Only one little problem...my black thumb. I now set out with a new goal for the day...find out how.
At dinner, my aunt Donna, eldest of my father's siblings, recalled how her grandmother taught her to propagate roses. First she said, to make sure that the knotted parts and buried in the soil. Then she said that you put a jar over it. Huh? OK, I'll try that.
But I also came home and watched You Tube videos about rose propagation and learned that you can just stick them in water or in soil. The one you put into soil they suggested to put the cut part in honey. So I'll try that too.
So now I have many different clippings experimentally propagating and I am hoping that at least one works. I want so badly to grow these beautiful roses that were my grandmothers. I want to have them for my children and for theirs to pass along this family plant, the joy and beauty that it brings to the world. A living heirloom.
But first I must get it to root. Any other suggestions to try?