Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Growing Horizontally

‘Eden’, a climbing rose

Growing Horizontally

Have you ever noticed how climbing roses produce far more shoots and consequently, stunning clusters of blooms when forced horizontal? As a rosarian, I’ve learned if I gently bend the rose’s cane while fastening it securely with string, the cane will produce significantly more blooms than if I let it grow as it pleases. I have to be careful though as the pliable and tender canes can snap. Equally important is the tension of the string. If the string is too loose, it defeats its purpose of guiding the growing cane. Conversely, if the string is too tight, it can pierce the tissue of the cane causing damage or complete destruction. Ultimately, I have the authority as the master gardener to sculpt each cane as I see fit.

“My body and mind may waste away, but Elohim (God) remains the foundation of my life and my inheritance forever.” Psalm 73:26

Similarly, once upon a time, this frustrated cane found herself no longer free to grow or go wildly as she pleased. Instead, Abba Father, my Master Gardener, placed enough strings to tenderly, but securely force me horizontal through intense back and joint pain preventing me from escaping my bed. Much to my despair, in a matter of weeks, my full-time income rapidly dwindled to part-time income, then unemployment. My financial stability was seemingly ruined! But God delivered and worked everything out for my benefit similar to the Biblical accounts of Joseph, Job, and Esther. Consequently, those difficult days produced a soul harvest I would not trade for any paycheck or even my health.

“I have riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. What I produce is better than gold, pure gold. What I yield is better than fine silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, on the paths of justice, to give an inheritance to those who love me and to fill their treasuries.” Proverbs 8:18-21

​Though uncomfortable, OK, frankly it was miserable at times, I blossomed spiritually and emotionally. Through that season of physical pain, this life slowly but surely surrendered to Abba’s nurturing as He wasn’t hesitant to tackle my prickly thorns one by one. His strings were His boundaries inviting me to grow according to His purpose for my life. I could have rebelled against His plans and His boundaries or I could cooperate. The choice was mine. Thankfully, whether vertical or horizontal, I decided to grow with God’s flow!

‘Eden’, a climbing rose.

Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Weeding the Weeds

Weeds surround the climbing rose, ‘Fourth of July’.

Weeding the Weeds

Where a glorious rose bloom, a gregarious weed burgeons! A rose garden would not be complete without its share of weeds anxious to suck the life out of sprawling, flourishing canes. All rosarians accept the tedious reality that weeds will inevitably compete with their darling rose bushes. With a variety of means to thwart such attacks, the gardener must carefully select the most advantageous yet scrupulous methods for in doing so may cause greater harm than good. Commercialized weed killer sold in franchised home improvement stores worldwide could seriously hamper, if not utterly, destroy a rose bush. Instead, many gardeners choose to place rolls of landscape paper down or newspaper with layers of mulch or wood chips on top to prevent weeds. Some choose gravel while others prefer getting on their knees and either individually hand plucking the weeds or using a hoe to do their dirty work. Regardless of the gardener’s preferred method of defense, every rosarian knows there will be annoying weeds, which must be prepared for and appropriately addressed.

​Upon entering my mid-thirties, I decided to use my experiences to help other hurting women by founding a non-profit faith-based domestic violence ministry. Although most welcomed a rare jewel of a ministry, I found myself ill prepared for the weeds that would pop up attempting to choke out my flourishing ministry. Naturally, or perhaps supernaturally, I expected some obstacles and negativity, but was rather surprised by spoken word curses spewed from select family, friends, and even those of faith. Much of the negative responses spawned primarily from ignorance and fear. After all, domestic violence is sadly a taboo subject within the faith community. Although, thankfully, many are diligently working to break such traumatic and oppressive barriers to cultivate healthy, thriving households. ​

Meanwhile, I suspect other negative responses were stirred from jealously and competition. Isn’t it sad when ministries, people of faith, or families strive to compete with one another or oppress one another instead of embrace and support each another? How we respond to one another’s strengths and weaknesses as well as all life presents reveals the burgeoning weeds taking root or lack thereof in our hearts and homes.

“Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] God designed it for good, in order to bring about what is at present to keep a great populace alive.” Genesis 50:20

Consider the Biblical character, Joseph, and how his family could not appreciate his gift of having prophetic dreams and being able to interpret such peculiar dreams. Instead, the weeds of jealousy developed in the hearts and minds of Joseph’s siblings attempting to choke out his gifts from God. For many years, it appeared their negativity indeed hampered Joseph’s God-appointed gifts, but God merely allowed all of the adversity and affliction Joseph encountered to cultivate a greater good for not just Joseph, but his family, Israel, and all of the surrounding nations including Egypt all the while indeed manifesting Joseph’s earlier prophetic dreams. Even more revealing was the gracious response Joseph had for the brothers who betrayed him.

As you embark on something special whether it may be a career move, adding a new member to the family through marriage or adoption, going back to school, writing a book, or going into ministry or simply walking along your custom God path, be prepared for various weeds to sprawl up and out intended to trip you or hamper your growth as you evolve into the person God intended. Like any gardener, you may need to be creative in how you protect yourself from invasive weeds that manifest in others or even how to best uproot weeds manifesting within you as God cultivates new blooms in your garden. ​Create appropriate barriers to remove them from your garden of life and recall what others perhaps meant for harm, God uses for greater growth!

‘Joseph’s Coat’, climbing rose, burgeons!

Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Summer Storms

‘Oregold’, a yellow hybrid tea rose, is pounded by heavy rains.

Summer Storms

After an unexpected summer storm struck my rose garden, I reflect on the weighted canes drooping with defeat. The once glorious petals litter the ground crying out for vindication. Though not entirely destroyed, each bush whines in the aftermath as they obviously would have preferred a slow steady rain than a fast and furious gusty storm. Given some time, I’m confident such defeated canes will overcome the unexpected afternoon flash. Although they can’t appreciate the drenching rains now, the hot boiling sun will soon stir thanksgiving as they draw on the well saturated roots beneath the steaming heat.​

The long canes of ‘Fourth of July’, a climbing rose, succumb to the pounding rains.

Just as our roses can experience an unpredicted and drowning storm, we too are taken by surprise when Abba Father allows fast and furious storms, like betrayal, abuse, lay-offs, cancer, or death to brew in our garden of life. Upon such devastation, we often whine in their aftermath, “Why me?” or “This isn’t fair, God!” But what if instead, we could raise our canes in praise and say, “I don’t know what You are doing, Abba, but I trust You!” What if despite such heartache, we could cling to the words of Isaiah 26:3-4, “With perfect peace you will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust you. Trust in the LORD forever, for in Yah, the LORD is everlasting strength.” Other translations say the “Rock of eternity”.

Sometimes I bravely praise my “Rock” in such storms while other times, I’d rather hide under a rock in my anxiety. I may even look for temporary relief of such unexpected sorrow by hiding in my isolated, secret garden. But during such harrowing times, I am tenderly reminded, “I alone am the one who comforts you. Why, then, are you afraid of mortals, who must die, of humans, who are like grass?” (Isaiah 51:12). Whatever tragedy you face, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:11 or 46:10 in the Christian Bible). After all, our God, our Creator, our Aleph and Tav, knows our beginning and our end and every purpose in between. Breathe in the smell after a saturating storm and choose to trust that Abba Father’s still got this.

‘Oregold’, a hybrid tea, brightly blooms with Paul’s Scarlett Climber glowing in the background.

Happy Fourth of July

When I lived in Pennsylvania, I had not one, but two ‘Fourth of July’ climbing rose bushes. They got huge and were fantastic in preventing intruders from entering my urban garden. I wove their long, thorny canes within the pillars of my black aluminum fence to make a wall of color. Each bloom explodes in shades of pink, burgundy, and white with yellow streaks. It would seem nearly every bloom would be a surprise of color. Here are a few photos of this ever-blooming rose. Enjoy and Happy Fourth of July!

‘Florentina’ Transplant Update

Since relocating my climbing Kordes rose, known as ‘Florentina’, last fall, she is showing positive signs of healthy growth this March. In a previous post, I noted that Florentina was failing to thrive on my beach balcony, but after permission from the HOA, I was able to transplant her into a sunny garden bed here in my condominium community.

Thus far, the foliage looks healthy and she certainly is growing sprawling canes. I hope to see her produce luscious blooms of brilliant red in the near future!

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Florentina Transplated

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Florentina, a climbing Kordes rose. (photo credit unknown)

Since moving to the beach earlier this year, I purchased and planted 2 potted roses to decorate my barren balcony. How hard it was for me to surrender my splendid rose garden back in Pennsylvania! Ironically, my $5 Walmart special rose, known as Miranda Lambert, a hybrid tea, has bloomed beautifully over and over again; yet, my $40 mail ordered climbing rose, known as Florentina, hasn’t bloomed once! Go figure!

After fussing over her and trying numerous tactics imploring her to produce a rose bud, I finally decided to seek permission from the HOA to transplant her to a garden bed here in my condominium community. Thankfully, the Board graciously agreed to accommodate my rose plea. On one warm day last week (it is reaching the 60’s and low 70’s here in Myrtle Beach), I relocated Florentina from her pot to a sunny garden bed. I read online that the more petals a rose has, the more light it will need to flourish.  Although the morning sunlight was sufficient for Miranda, Florentina, my climbing rose, evidently has higher standards. Get it.. climbing rose..higher standards? 😉20171124_124223[1]Florentina has numerous petals (more so than Miranda Lambert) so I am hopeful she was producing blind shoots (canes with no buds) due to inadequate sunlight on my balcony. In the few days since transitioning her to new soil, she has produced numerous fresh leaflets. In time, I hope to finally see her reach her full potential by producing blooms of scarlet red…

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Florentina should produce blooms of scarlet ruffles. (photo credit unknown)

In the meantime, I will enjoy the ongoing blooms Miranda Lambert continues to bless me with.

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Miranda Lambert, a hybrid tea rose, produces fragrant petals of pink.

Potted Climbing Roses

Managing a climbing rose from a pot is proving to be a bit more challenging than I anticipated. Unlike growing a climber from the ground, I am having trouble getting my climber to bloom. I learned though the more petals the rose produces, the more sunlight the plant needs. After trying everything possible, I suspect perhaps my potted climbing rose isn’t getting enough direct sunlight. I moved her to a different location with the high hopes she will finally blossom. Sometimes relocation is all one needs.

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