Yesterday I was given a lovely apricot coloured patio rose and a ceramic pot to put it in. So this afternoon I planted it. I thought it would be straightforward, just planting a small rose in a pot, but it wasn’t. First of all I couldn’t get the rose out of the plastic pot. It should have come out easily, but it didn’t. I poked around with a trowel, pulled gently, gave it a good shaking, and finally it came out. I put the rose into the pot, and back filled with compost. Then I stood back ready to take a photo to send to the person who gave it to me, and with disappointment I realised the rose was not standing up straight, but had gone in with a rather pronounced tilt. I now had a choice; I could leave it as it was and hope it would straighten as it grew; or I could do something about it. I decided to try to straighten it, so I put a small stake in the pot, but when I stood back I could see the rose was still pulling to the side, and the stake made it look messy. So I removed the stake, and dug up the rose and started again. This time I took more care, making sure I held the rose straight while I slowly put compost in bit by bit. Finally I stood back, and could see that all my effort was worth it – the rose was now standing up straight. I gave it a good watering, took a photo and sent it to my friend.
Forgive the analogy, but I think there are times in our lives when God wants to do a similar thing in us. We may suddenly become aware there is something wrong deep inside us, and we realise we have been growing crookedly in our pots for a long time. It maybe that terrible things have happened to us in the past, or maybe not so terrible things that have still marred and marked us, and caused our growth to be stunted or somehow askew. Over the years we have probably found ways of coping, but there can come a time when God can re-plant us and help us to grow straight. It won’t be comfortable, being uprooted, shaken free of what holds us, our roots bare, and we will probably want some good, experienced friends to help us get through it. But God is a careful gardener, and He will do it as gently as He can. And from my own experience I can tell you it will be well worth the effort.
Since our grey and windy day at the beach, we have had a sprinkling of glorious summer days. I take my dog Brinny out for a walk everyday, and one day last week on a lovely, bright sunny day, we took the route that goes past a small front garden with an old-fashioned rose hedge. At this time of year you can always smell the roses long before you can see them, and last week as I approached, I became aware too of a loud and continuous buzzing. As I got nearer, I could see that the wide-open pink and white roses were alive with bees. Only one bee to a flower, but so many flowers with so many bees, all frantically scrabbling about in the yellow centres of the fragrant blooms.
Ah, summer at last!
One of my favourite dog walking routes takes me past a small corner front garden. While I am still about twenty or thirty yards away, I begin to be aware of the heady perfume from the waist-high hedge of old-fashioned roses. The roses themselves are not large, multi-petalled showy specimens, but small and delicately pink, with merely five papery petals, and yellow insides. The bushes are covered with these charming little roses, and although they don’t look particularly special, the perfume is wonderful, light but intense, unmistakable, drifting on the breeze.
This morning a lady was working in the garden, and I stopped to say how much I enjoyed walking past, and how I usually stop to smell her roses. She told me that often in the morning, she wakens to the scent wafting in her through her open bedroom window; what a lovely way to greet a new day!
I have roses in my own front garden, and although their scent is not quite so powerful, if you’re passing, take the time to bend down a little, and smell the essence of summer.
I’ve just taken my dog for a walk, and it’s bitingly cold, with a heavy hoar-frost still lying on the grass. But despite the cold, it is a beautiful day; the sky is bright and cloudless, with only the vapour-trail of an aeroplane to break the intense blue. After the dull, damp, dismal days we’ve had recently, it is in truth a breath of fresh air – very fresh!
It’s been a strange winter so far, almost the warmest on record. In my garden, roses are still blooming, surrounded by clumps of campanula, with a scattering of blue star-shaped flowers peeping out from the foliage. A friend has seen a tree in full blossom, no leaves yet, but completely covered in tiny pink flowers. And on my walk this morning I spotted some frost encrusted daisies, nestling in the grass close to the path.
Spring might still be a long way off, but there are signs everywhere that winter will not last forever, and the ground is already producing new life.