'Climbing Old Blush' and Dee Hardy

There are few things as dramatic in the garden as an over-the-top climbing rose.  I grow a number of them, but my 'Climbing Old Blush' (that you see here sprawling over my studio's roof and dripping over the short wooden fence of  the potager) is the most jaw dropping.

And a lot of work, I won't lie.

Though not to get them to bloom (unless a weather disaster occurs), or grow or (in most years), survive, (frequent applications of manure take care of that)...but to control and tame and guide...

and not get the better of me and every other growing thing in my garden (it has  been known to start growing through the bathroom window).

(And then there's always that lovely carpet of dropped, black-spotted leaves that cover the ground and scream at me to clean them up...)

Ah, yes.

But then there is also the ever-so-romantic, swoon worthy cascade of pink petals that blanket the earth as the flowers fade.

One happy compensation for high Oklahoma spring wind.

All of this climbing and sprawling and water-falling
over garden structures doesn't come without effort, however, 

and this is how I came to find myself on the roof of said studio this past weekend...holding on for dear life, shimmying on my rear end over composition tiles and wood lattice,

to get the infernal plant to start covering the roof once again... after roof-and-lattice-replacement surgery following the epic hail storm of a season past.

(You didn't think it just attached all by ITSELF, did you?)

Oh, no.  This custom built, flanged-at-the-hipline of the roof, appropriately-stained trelliswork holds and trains the rambunctious rambler in the way it should grow

(but only AFTER this gardener gives it a head start...on the roof with Husband holding the ladder and tweezing out longest canes for me.)

All of this activity gets me to thinking about my aging self, this self in relation to her garden, and this self in relation to her beginning-to-notice achy joints.

When I was but a budding gardener, I remember reading one of the last installments of Dee Hardy's 'From Thornhill Farm' in which she is trying to decide which of her beautiful landscape's components she and her husband must remove

because it was simply too much work for them to keep up.  So OUT went the herb garden ... with much sadness, but great and heroic pragmatism.

Or at least, that is how I remember it.

And how I am envisioning this monster rose in my future garden with my future physical limitations and energy levels.  (One of the reasons I take so many photographs.)

In the not too distant future, it may be be permitted to scramble only over the fence, leaving the roof bare of its sweet blossoms.


But still beautiful, and with the advantage

 of this future gardener

without a broken neck.

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