It is quite a novel idea to get a kid a gift certificate to a heritage rose nursery. Most kids probably wouldn't be very enthused.
I was the opposite. I absolutely loved it.
My Aunt Donna knew me well. Growing up, she was like a grandmother to me, since my actual grandmother (her and my dad's mom, Charlotte) had past away before I was born. Her and I shared many of the same passions and I was always fascinated by what she was up to.
I'm not exactly certain which birthday the rose-certificate was for but my guess would be that I was in the "tween" years of my life. I cherished the experience of going to The Antique Rose Emporium and picking out "the perfect bush".
To this day, I am giddy anywhere that there is an overwhelming amount of visual stimuli; I linger for hours in fabric stores, nurseries, yarn shops and the like. It was no different that day. I probably made my parents stroll around for ages before deciding.
Do I remember the name or variety of the rose that I ended up choosing? No.
What I do remember are the medium ballet pink blossoms that smelled incredibly fragrant but not saccharine sweet. The standard terra cotta pot that it was planted in--the joy of seeing it's first bloom each spring.
I will not claim any more ownership of this plant as I will of the cats that we adopted around the same time in my life. They all belong to my mother, because it is from her care and nurture that they have lived such happy lives.
I don't have as good of a track record (for plants--my cat is a very spoiled and happy member of the family). I have an enormous interest and love for plants, but I lack the knowledge of how to properly care for them. And until recently, I haven't really cared to learn. Convinced that I had a "black thumb," I would actually just neglect the plants out of laziness and therefore they would die. **To my credit, the Texas heat did not help.**
It seems that fate has made me come back full circle and I now have a dozen or so rose bushes at our Pasadena, CA home that I must care for. They were not a choice that I made but entrusted to me since they have been around the property for many years. My gentle pruning and care of these bushes is what first re-sparked my interest and boosted my confidence in my ability to garden.
How serendipitous then, that my last conversation with my Aunt Donna before her passing early this year was mostly spent chatting about all of my roses.
This essay was written for the Grow Write Guild, from the prompt, Write about your first plant. The roses in the image above are the first blooms from my bushes this spring. Follow me on Instagram @baileyamon.