Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Rose-Certificate

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.


  1. I would love to try my hand at roses but am a bit intimidated; I will need to get the basics of my garden established first. That sounds like a wonderful gift, though!

    This Grow Write project is fun. You'll find my response to the first prompt here:

    1. I am lucky that the bushes at our house are already established. All I have to do is dead-head them...and they love me! I did prune them back quite a lot in Jan. but since we don't really have cold weather in in Southern California, they sprang right back to life (and bloom).

      I agree! It is so fun to read about everyone's different experiences:) Thanks for sharing.

  2. I just love it when thinking about gardening brings back so many wonderful memories of a loved one! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Mary,

      Yes! It is amazing how one I really thought about the prompt, this story is what came clearest in my memory. In the months since her death, I've thought a lot about my aunt and hope that she is imparting a bit of her "green instincts" onto me from above while I'm trying my hand at building a garden.

      Happy first days of spring!

    2. Bailey, What a great idea to give a gift certificate to a rose nursery. It's interesting how a simple gift can leave a lasting impression.

    3. Val,
      Yes! It is such a good idea...and a great way to get young people interested in the natural world. I was very lucky that I had such a wonderful aunt.

  3. What a lovely story! I hope your roses bring you many happy memories of your aunt.

    1. Thank you! It is so wonderful that spring has come and that they are once again blooming:)

  4. What a wonderful bond you had with your aunt. Now roses will always remind you of her, that's fantastic! Thought I'd share my post from the Grow Write Guild exercise... My First Plant

    P.S. I just started following you on Instagram.