My roses are in bloom at the moment. The variety is St Swithun which I planted in memory of my father who died in 2012. I wanted something that would help me remember him and smile. I didn’t cope very well after he died – well I thought I did but I was kidding myself, perhaps I’ll write more about that later. I stored up the grief and blanked it out not wanting to think about him at all. It was too painful. I later learned that if you don’t embrace the sadness you lock out all the happiness too. Planting the rose was a way of being reminded how much I loved him, coming to terms with the loss. It takes me by surprise every time I see the buds emerge then blossom.
I went in search of a rose, studying the names carefully, wanting something that meant something to me but perhaps nothing to anyone else. To everyone else maybe this is just a rose and won’t hold the significance to them that it does to me. I wandered among the roses at the garden centre, looking at every name, every colour, inhaling every scent. But when I discovered the name of this one I knew it was the perfect one for me. St Swithun’s Day falls on the 15th July when it is said that if it rains it will rain for forty days and forty nights. My mother’s birthday is 15th July, not my father’s but it represents everything my father cared for. He loved my mum so much and he loved his three daughters too. We never had to wonder whether he loved us or not because he showed us every day of his life. He was proud of us all, embarrassingly so sometimes, but none of us were left to question his love. It was as deep as the ocean and as wide as the sky and I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful man in my life.
So it may only be a rose but it’s a rose with a story. What’s your story about?
Now I need to go and spray it to deal with the black spot – but that’s another story.