It was blazing hot a couple of days ago. I am fair and red-haired and I sometimes quip that my blood is “Nordic” to emphasize the degree to which I burn to a crisp in the sun.
Genetically I have no choice, even with sunscreen. I do better in cold. I get a great dose of Vitamin D in one shimmering ray through a window, and have never been affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. My husband and children tan darkly, and they can tolerate the sun and heat well. They enjoy the beach while I sit covered by an umbrella, book in hand.
I love physical work and have always been happy doing farm chores, especially cleaning out and organizing barns. Without a barn now, and feeling the restlessness of being inside, I uncharacteristically braved the 90+ degree heat and dug a new flower bed. Not necessarily the wisest thing to do with a bad back, but I am stubborn at times. One of my teen sons did help when I asked.
The bed is to be home for the rose bushes I ordered online. I found Heirloom Roses when googling “Julia Child” after watching the movie Julie & Julia. Not expecting to see a rose in the images, I found a huge yellow bloom named after the iconic chef. So I ordered one Julia Child and one Queen Anisette. The latter is a beautiful cream and peach colored blossom. I held a bouquet of similar roses when I walked up the aisle to wed my late husband. They are my favorite. I also ordered a beautiful red rosebush called “Because She Served.” It will come with a memorial stake in the name of my friend Barb who served in the Army, and who passed away from cancer after an heroic battle. When I plant it, the red blooms will face the residence that she and her family once lived in. I will think of her often.
I turned the soil against the 1901-built house and unearthed a few antique bricks. I’ll use them to line the bed. The soil was soft and obviously augmented in the past with peat. It was easy to turn. After about 20 minutes the sun on my back was hot and I began to perspire. I started the job thinking I’d just mark the border, but then I dug out a corner, then another…then evened up the line–okay, one more spadeful, just to level it. My approach was similar to sneaking slices of cake as a child, firming up the line, then taking just another bit and evening it up again.
In less than one steamy hour, with water breaks, the garden was dug and I was looking forward to cooling off. I rounded the front of the house, however, and there was the first shipment roses sitting on the porch. What timing! They could not wait to be planted. In another hour they were in and watered. I skipped the “well-aged manure” step in the directions and felt the irony that up until that very morning I owned tons of the stuff. I could have driven to the farm to get some if it were yesterday. I drew the line at pulling up the lane to ask the new owner if I could please have some manure from behind the barn. So…
“Sorry Julia,…Sorry Your Majesty, I do hope you will nourish your roots amidst a century of brick shards and composted other plants.”
This bed was created on the day of the closing of our family farm. It was on the market for a very long time due to how uncommon a property; how many other 30 acre former Benedictine Monasteries are there in the states? We had hoped that it’s uniqueness would cause a faster sale, and in order to be prepared we moved when we listed, and enrolled the children in a fantastic school system. We understood the possibility that we would have to move back if it did not sell. Well, we do not have to move back, and we are happy in knowing that it will be cared for by whom it was intended all along. The sale of a home is high on the list of life-stressors. We can relax now, and like these beautiful new roses, put down our own roots.
If not everything at least some aspects of our lives, like this garden, will surely be coming up roses! Keep an eye out for your “roses,” and pause from the worry and the frenetic pace of life to breathe in their fragrance.