Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pink Saturday - Generosity

Pink Saturday - Beverly at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire you!

This spring, I went on a garden tour that was amazing. We visited properties designed by experts in one of Los Angeles' most exclusive neighborhoods.

Of all the plants and plantings that impressed me, one thing that really transfixed me was a beautiful, fragrant climbing rose I saw at one home.

Planted on an arbor in a sheltered, hidden courtyard, it had delicate silvery pink flowers, fully double like pompons. The owner said that it was a rose her mother had brought to Los Angeles from Colombia, and said its name was Silva Madre.

I went to sleep thinking about it. Could I buy one? I searched the internet for it, and came up with nothing. I looked for alternate spellings. I haunted online forums about found roses. I actually fantasized about sneaking onto the property and taking cuttings.

Well, that kind of caper wouldn't go well, surely. What 56 year old woman wants to be thrown in the slammer for trespassing and stealing rose twigs? And would anyone bail me out?

I came to my senses. Trusting in the inherent generosity of gardeners, that Monday morning I took my nicest notepaper and wrote by hand a note to "Resident" at the address of the garden. I thanked them for their hospitality in opening their home to fellow gardeners. I expressed my admiration of their garden and particularly that wonderful rose. Then I asked if it would be at all possible for me to come and take a few cuttings in the hopes of rooting them for my own garden.

I dropped it off at the post office on my way to work.

A few days later, there was a message on my voice mail. It was the woman who owned the garden. Of course I could come and take a cutting. Her schedule was limited, but she told me when she would be available.

I pulled my battered little Volkswagen up to the curb and parked - not wanting to drive into the graveled front yard. I felt very nervous, knocking on the front door of this lovely and somewhat intimidating house. Above the door, in the second floor window, a worker was tidying the geraniums in the window box. I rang the bell, and waited for what seemed to be a long time. Soon, the door opened.

A lovely gray-haired lady answered, and I introduced myself. She introduced herself as Clara. She drew me into the house and we walked down the hallway, through the rooms and out through the back loggia - a pretty, sheltered space graced with a Moroccan ceramic plaque. From here, we stepped down into the secret garden where the rose grew.

I had brought my clippers, and tentatively cut a few shoots. The owner took them from me and cut a whole handful of substantial shoots and pushed them into my arms. I thanked her over and over - I don't quite know why I felt so awkward, but I did.

I had prepared a pot with moist soil, and brought a little jar of Root-tone - rooting hormone powder. When I walked out through the hedges, I went back to my car and right there on the hood of the car, I trimmed the shoots, slit the stems and dipped them into the powder, and pressed them into the moist soil. I slipped a plastic bag over the pot, inflated it with my breath, and tied the bag with a twist-tie.

Books will tell you it takes about 6 weeks for a rose cutting to take. Some roses are harder to strike than others. You have to balance between keeping it too enclosed, and encouraging rot or mold, and allowing it to dry out and die.

I spent the summer watching the pot, opening the plastic to let it ventilate, and inflating it again and sealing it when the dry desert winds threatened to sere it.

This past weekend, I finally potted up the one little twig that took. It's strong, though, and I think it will make a go of it.

Thank you, Clara. I know this rose will be as beautiful as yours, someday. There is a magazine story with photos about Clara's lovely house and garden, Here.


Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a wonderful story and what a beautiful lady Clara is!!


CorvusCorax12 said...

what a great story and a beautiful rose....i know how you feel i wrote about my favorite rose here except i didn't have to ask anybody if i could have a cutting. I put my cutting right into the ground and to my amazement it took (i'm not a good gardener). Enjoy !!!

KBeau said...

Love this story. You know people are usually quite generous and gracious if you just ask. Can't wait to see your beautiful rose in bloom.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Aunt Snow, I've used rooting hormones on cuttings (but not roses) before.

I dipped the cutting right into the powder so that it would still adhere when put in a jar of water. Then I taped white paper around the jar (so that sunshine wouldn't interfere with the roots) and left it in the window.

This worked pretty well for me.

Unknown said...

Clara sounds like a truly lovely woman. I love that she shared her magnificent cuttings with you. I love that you persevered and your plant has prevailed : )

Unknown said...

I love stories like this. I hope your rose makes it. Happy Pink Saturday.

A Garden of Threads said...

A wonderful story, Clara is so beautiful to give you so many cuttings. Good luck, I know it will do just find. A gift to treasure. Take care.

Unknown said...

Oh how gorgeous!! I so love flowers.


materfamilias said...

That's such a great story -- imagine how you will enjoy that rose through the coming years. btw, does it have fragrance along with its beautiful pinkness?

JCK said...

My favorite part of the story, other than that she told you to please come and help yourself to clipppings, was how you took out a piece of nice stationery, and wrote her a note. Nothing like a handwritten note.

What a great story!

Anonymous said...

The rose is beautiful, but your story quite took my breath away!

Gilly said...

Beautiful story to go with a beautiful rose - and a lovely gracious lady rose owner!

I do hope the cutting grows strong and you have those lovely roses for your own.

Beverly said...

Glennis, I love this story. I've always heard that shared plants grow best. This rose surely comes from hearts that share a love of beauty and kindness.

Happy Pink Saturday.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This is amazing. And that is the most beautiful rose--I'm not a huge fan of really manicured rose bushes, but climbing roses like that are so beautiful.