For years I’ve let the rambling roses ramble. They grew wild and snarled, like the brambles covering Sleeping Beauty’s castle. As of late July, they looked like this:
For years, they’ve grown into my poems, as all that bloom and cane was becoming the yard, green growing over the a thicket of dead cane and thorn. For years, I tried trimming all that old growth out.
Then I realized that even if, decades later, I were successful, in the meantime, the roses were overflowing, and they would still take up more and more room.
My daughter was looking for a project and wanting to grow vegetables. I explained that the roses were blocking necessary sunlight—and thus, a landscape revision was born.
Here’s what it looks like now.
I’d say Before and After, but the photo above is more like During.
My daughter said she had thought of this as a secret garden, and now she was uncovering some of its secrets—like the wall plaques that have been hidden for years. But gone is the Paul’s Himalayan Musk that I brought from the old house, and the California Plena, which started as a sucker from a friend’s bush, just a stick in the dirt, and the climbing Cecile Brunner. I’ll miss it’s pale pink blooms in early spring. We will plant some smaller, tamer roses—maybe in time for next spring. Then we’ll take the After photo.
For now, I am in this negative capability, this uncertainty of what the yard will become, what together we decide to make of it. It’s hard to see the end of something, even if I know it had overgrown desperately. It’s hard to imagine the next thing before it has started. And this, I’ve heard, is where poems happen.