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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters

I don't like roses.

There are a lot of rose bushes at our new house. The garden is filled with them, from the enormous, tree-like climbing rose that leads up the front steps to the door, to the rows of mature bushes lining the paths of the back garden. They were considered a selling point when the house was put on the market for sale, with the prior owner being a wonderful gardener and obvious lover of roses. Not me, though. I don't like roses.

When our youngest first walked up the front steps to the door, she looked at me and cried, "Well the first thing that's gotta go are those spiky bushes out front!". Of course, from her perspective they were reaching out to grab her clothes, her toys, her hair, her skin from below, beside and above. Fair enough, I thought. I don't like roses either.

The first kids we had over to play went right out the back for a kick of the soccer ball. Poor, sweet Lily in her skirt and short socks blundered into the bushes to chase a ball, only to find out too late those were rose bushes with razor-sharp thorns just waiting to leave their mark on her bare legs. She emerged in shreds, snicks all over from the thorny shrubbery. The ball remains in the bush to this day with nobody able to find a safe path to retrieve it. We wanted a big garden for our children to use, and for us to enjoy together. It seems these roses have to go.

We have finally arranged for gardening help to come and set us on track with managing this garden, with our first point of business being the removal of the once beloved roses. The bush out front has been covered in aphids these last few days, alongside an ever-growing population of ladybugs. It's fascinating. Pretty sure it isn't great for the rosebush, but seeing as we have help on the way and intentions to remove it ourselves, I'm not losing any sleep. But I am aware of the life within this bush, and can't help but root for it to overcome the challenges it faces. I'm almost tempted to help...

And the roses are just beginning to bloom. The bush is covered with sprouting buds, the first few popping open in the past few days. Soon, it will be the fragrance that greets us as we walk the front steps, we won't even notice those thorns. We will marvel at the beauty of the flowers, forgetting altogether the bugs that lie underneath. I will marvel in this plant that has been so lovingly tended over years and seasons for this - the time of blooming - hearing that quiet voice somewhere deep inside me that laments the destruction of something that has stood in place for such time.

So I remind myself of the small children in our lives...but surely they need to learn that there can be beauty alongside the danger they see? There's plenty of space in the garden for them to play, they need to learn to be careful around the roses. I remind myself that I don't like roses...until I am swept away by my senses as they come into bloom.

The gardening help comes tomorrow and top of the list is the roses. I am finding that tiny voice inside is harder to silence. It seems the gnarled old truck of the climbing rose is sending forth her best messengers, having heard all the talk of removal and destruction. Perhaps it's working. There are so many things to tackle in the garden, surely we can give this rose a chance to show her beauty, to fight to keep her long-kept place and endear herself to us. Maybe this is the Mother Nature's master plan after all. How could I possibly tear down this bush when I am so caught up just smelling the roses?

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