We StaySunday, July 08, 2012
|Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha |
Both Rosemary and I are committed to staying while we enjoy the garden. We sit on our bench in the sun and her cat Casi-Casi comes over and hops on. He bakes for a while and then, the smart cat that he is, he jumps off and seeks a shady area nearby. His favourite is by our Acer griseum and Rosa 'Complcata'.
|English Rose, Rosa 'English Elegance'|
Today I told Rosemary that some of the tasks we meant to finish by now have not been started. I have to shovel some pea gravel onto the paths that are too shady for grass. The new dressing of gravel gives the garden an orderly and fresh look. Then there is the very long laurel hedge. When we first came to our present house I tackled that hedge, once, to prove a point, with secateurs. For years after I used hand clippers and in the last two years I have resorted to electric shears as my arthritis flares up at the wrists and the elbows. This year I will rent a gas hedge clipper which should do the job with some ease.
We have to power wash some of our picket fence sections and gates, before we paint.
|Top Rosa 'L.D. Braithwaite', below left |
Rosa 'William Shakespeare
Right, Rosa 'Charles de Mills'
Rosemary and I have spoken about our situation for a few years. Some of this speaking has involved shouting, “I can no longer work with this garden or this house.” “Well then you go and live somewhere else,” one of us will counter. But now we have a mostly unspoken agreement that we will stay until a health problem affects one of us so that the garden would then be an impossibility to maintain for one person.
Perhaps our reasoning does not make any sense particularly when we are told that we should be looking for a place that we might want to move to.
For me the most traumatizing aspect is the idea that I might have to finally retire my darkroom, the problem of doing away with 4000 books. Do any of our daughters have enough wall space for all the framed pictures and memorabilia of our combined pasts?
I have thought that the most practical solution to this conundrum of getting rid of stuff would be for Rosemary and me to visit Ale in Lillooet. I would then hire an arsonist to start a fire. We would arrive back to cinders. “My negatives, they are all gone!” It might just be a relief to have nothing!
But as we sit on our bench with Casi-Casi, who is eying my female cat Plata whom he might chase around the garden, I look at my roses. There are about 80 of them. Some are rare old roses that in the present climate of nursery stock reduction can not be replaced if they die. I look at them and I grieve that my granddaughter Rebecca has lost interest in the. It was only a couple of years ago that she could identify at least ten of them by scent alone with her eyes closed. Rosemary does not particularly have a sensitive nose.
|Rosa 'Crocus Rose'|
I do. To think of their scent in May before any of my rose bushes are in bloom and to then smell them in June and now and have my memory dully confirmed is a pleasure that I cannot explain to my friends or the pushy real estate agents that come knocking to our doors.
At the end of the day we will stay. We will hope that next spring will bring roses, hostas and Rosemary’s perennials back from their winter retreat. The promise of the scent of the roses, not to mention that of some of our hydrangeas, is all that I need to keep gardening even if I wince in pain every once in a while.
As Casi-Casi lies placidly on his shady spot, I can rationalize that it’s all for him and that is a good enough reason to stay.
|Rosa 'Paul Ricault'|
|Rosa 'Chapeau de Napoleon'|