>Guest Post – "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden"


I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

A guest post by author Michael Nolan

I never knew exactly where my aversion to roses originated. In fairness, my earliest memories of the delicate beauties were in North Carolina while I was following behind my paternal grandmother as she sprayed her prized rose bushes with a dishwashing liquid concoction that she swore by. A few days later a cloud of Sevindust was in the air, the residual of which I am not entirely sure has nothing to do with my particular eccentricities.

It would be years later before I even gave roses much more thought when creating a garden space for my ailing maternal grandmother here in Alabama. Knowing that her time with us was waning I wanted to give her the best gift I could think of by reclaiming the garden beds that she had tended so carefully when she was able. A newly added arbor needed the perfect accent and I just couldn’t find anything that worked until I confronted my own apprehensions head on.

White was the perfect complement to the rest of the space. I knew that much but the specific form it would take still eluded me until I came across the John F. Kennedy Heirloom tea rose. Without a second thought I purchased the two perfect specimens and installed them carefully at the base of the arbor. A few weeks later granny was having a particularly good day just as the blooms began to show themselves.

As she took my arm and we made our way to the side yard, the light in her eyes told me that I’d made the right choice.

“My own private rose garden!” she said, only half in jest.

“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden…” I sang out.

Her laughter resonated in my soul as she tenderly touched the emerging blooms with her tiny fingertips. This month marks four years since she left us, but those precious moments will make it all worth it.

Michael Nolan, The Garden Rockstar is an author, blogger and speaker on gardening, sustainability, food ethics and homesteading. He is currently in the process of writing a new guest post on a different site for each day in May. To follow his progress, visit MyEarthGarden.com.

Pick up a copy of Michael’s book at your local bookstore or buy it online by clicking on the book above.

About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at About.com and on his popular website; RedneckRosarian.com, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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4 Responses to >Guest Post – "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden"

  1. Teresa says:

    >I love love this story. Thanks for sharing and for being such a great grandson. What an amazing gift you gave her.


  2. >Thanks, Teresa. She was a great lady.


  3. greggo says:

    >Very heartwarming. You did good…


  4. gagasgarden says:

    >Dear Michael, What memories you evoke. One of my first rose garden students planted a John F. Kennedy in her Texas rose garden which continues to thrive in the neighborhood long after she has moved away. Thanks for sharing. Gaga


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