The Thankful Gardener

'Lavaglut' to the left and 'Scentimental' to the right

‘Lavaglut’ to the left and ‘Scentimental’ to the right – Summer 2013

As a gardener, I am more often than not a little sad when the cooler months of autumn appear. My garden begins to slow down in preparation for its winter rest.

The evidence is everywhere. The hostas have retreated, my African fern is beginning to turn brown, our annuals have stopped blooming, and my roses are putting out their final blooms of the year. As I look back on this gardening year, I find myself thankful for many little blessings. So many things come to mind. My wife and I have little time together these days, and our early mornings in the garden, sipping coffee and chatting, are a precious gift that I have come to cherish.

I am equally grateful for the readers of this blog as well as my virtual friends. To those of you who have reached out to me via this blog and through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, I cannot express how wonderful it is to hear how gardening has touched your life. It is a great joy to hear from people locally as well as from as far away as Malaysia and Ukraine. Your comments, advice and kind words have enriched my soul far beyond what I can express.

It is also a time to reflect on lessons learned from the garden. One big lesson for me this year was patience. Picture this: last January, I needed to apply a dormant spray to my roses. It was below freezing, and the roses were dormant. It seemed like the perfect time… so I thought. It was a Monday; I was already late for the office and was dressed in a suit. I thought, “I’ll just do this on my way out the door.” Well, my sprayer clogged and I ended up spraying myself instead of the roses. Despite a vigorous scrub with soap and water, no one wanted to sit next to me in meetings that day. My roses and my co-workers deserve better.

Even as I reflect on this past season of gardening life, I am beginning to contemplate the coming spring. While the garden sleeps, I plan. By mid-January, our mailbox will be full of seed and flower catalogs and the process begins again.

Give Ye Thanks

One of the many things I love about gardening is that it reflects life. We all have joys, sorrows, successes, failures, and the opportunity for a new start, the ability to begin again. I am reminded of a passage from the bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1. “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” We plant, we grow, we harvest and we celebrate our families, our gardens and our lives…


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 and on his popular website;, 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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25 Responses to The Thankful Gardener

  1. Suzanne Gibson says:

    Thank you so much for your posts. I read every one and enjoy them so much. At 74 I am still enjoying the joy of growing roses, they are one of the joys of my life and I love to share the blessing with others.


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  3. daniellajoe says:

    Beautiful !!! Great post 🙂


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  5. CurtissAnn says:

    Your post gives me hope for my own efforts with patience and growing roses.


  6. roberta4949 says:

    yes winter, the blaas, no flowers and no gardening, but then spring comes around and the thrill of seeing the plants grow again and see the buds and getting excited waiting for them to bloom, yah!


  7. That is what I love most about gardening: it is a metaphor for life.

    Happy Thanksgiving!



  8. Chris–I always look forward to opening your posts. The first image took my breath away! And I can just see you in your dappled suit headed to the office. 😉
    Yes, this time of year we bid our gardens adieu and plan to outsmart insects and disease next season. I welcome the rest of the next few months, and enjoy seeing the structure of the gardens and the quiet tuteurs as Mother Nature drapes our landscape with her winter cloak.
    Have a blessed holiday season to you and yours. Diane


  9. Linda says:

    Love all your pictures and posts, Chris!


  10. As gardeners we get to experience so much of God’s beauty… Thanks for your beautiful reminder. I am now over my gloomies about the end of the growing season and am ready for the holidays. It won’t be long until we can start the “official” countdown to spring! 🌹


  11. starproms says:

    Very true Chris. I can’t imagine my life without my garden 🙂


  12. Beautiful posting, Chris. We are indeed blessed with our gardens! Enjoy the holiday season. P. x


  13. An excellent and thoughtful post, Chris. I’ll take the lessons to heart.


  14. Christina says:

    Hi Chris, the first photo is such a lovely scene from your garden! I feel seeing so much beauty just opens the human heart and it naturally tends to be thankful and content. That is why I always think of gardening as therapy, it is simply good and healing for the soul. Wishing you a wonderful autumn with plenty of joyful gardening despite the season of withdrawal.


    • Christina, Thank you so much for your note. So very true the human heart is opened when it is surrounded by beauty….. Without my daily dose of “garden therapy” I would be a much different individual….. Blessings to you!


  15. Your bible quote is so appropriate a garden is a sacred place.
    In Australia the road to a friends house can be a long way but it is always a worthwhile destination.
    Thanks for visiting my Post.


  16. Missio Terra says:

    Lovely post. It’s so true, there is a season and time for everything. Embracing the season with you!


  17. Frank DeVries says:

    Its not the slow down of the roses, they are just catching their breath to take yours away next spring . Today we just finished planting 1,300 tulips in my front yard . The last 3 weekends we were grinding oak leaves to cover our close to 400 roses . The favorite fragrant rose I have is Annapurna , pure white , good form and exceptionaly fragrant My wife and I love flowers greenhouses are set for spring with 1,500 pots and soil for tomatos , green peppers , and a great variation of flowers for sale to help the Sauk Trail Rose Society raising funds for speakers .


  18. michelleendersby says:

    Lovely article Chris! Don’t be sad about your roses going into hibernation, I’ll share my roses with you all Winter long! And having discovered the joy of bare rooted roses, rugosas and growing roses in containers this year, I’ll have a lot more flowering action over here to send your way!.

    Liked by 1 person

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