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: Powdery Mildew

{photo courtesy of Gardener’s Path}

Powdery Mildew

After a few seasons of tenderly caring for my roses, I was puzzled to discover a white powdery substance coating my babies as I had not experienced this dilemma thus far. Initially, I thought little of the matter until the next day when I noticed the powdery film quickly oppressed most of the bush. Even more distressing was realizing the powdery mildew also spread to a nearby bush!

Naturally, I quickly took action by researching how to eradicate this infectious disease before it was too late. I learned a simple concoction of baking soda, dish detergent, and water would remedy the issue. Neem Oil or a sulfur-based fungicide would be sufficient as well.

​For weeks I carefully monitored the situation to ensure the white powdery mildew did not haunt my garden once more. I now know powdery mildew thrives in warm dry days followed by cooler humid nights. Without swift action, its toxic spores easily transport wreaking havoc on a once thriving rose garden.

“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

Are the conditions dry in the well of your heart? Are you or your congregation ignoring fungi like sexual immorality, abusive people, deceit, or practicing other unholy ways?

​As painful and delicate as the matter may be, Abba Father instructs His people to not adopt the ways of the world, not to worship Him like they worship their gods, or associate with those who claim to be of Him or sent by Him, but behave otherwise (Deut.12:29-13:18, 18:9-14; Jeremiah 10). Could it be Abba Father understands without His standards or boundaries within one’s heart, home, and congregation, a devastating fungus can kill the beauty in Abba’s developing garden? After loving many, “boundary busters”, I learned by setting appropriate boundaries with the offensive party, I am in fact loving them. Moses and other Prophets both enforced boundaries and interceded to the LORD on the people’s behalf.

We can intercede in prayer while also establishing and enforcing boundaries to protect ourselves and others from sinful disease while demonstrating tough love. After all, tough love is true love. Many need to suffer the consequences of their choices before repenting and reaching out for the hand of God’s redeeming grace.

​In the meantime, understand there is a fine line between enabling grievous acts and exhibiting gracious ones.

‘Mr. Lincoln’, a fragrant, hybrid tea rose.

Compass Rose

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Thankfully, in Southeast Texas roses seem to grow all year.

No matter what course I find myself navigating, whether it be in the valleys of Central Pennsylvania, the crabby shores of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, the salty air whipping around my Myrtle Beach condo’s balcony, or now while living on a sailboat along Galveston Bay in Texas, my love for roses continues to bloom. It would seem this obsession only grows the more I age and experience as does my desire to share their enchanting beauty and hope. Although I no longer have numerous rose bushes flourishing in a garden for my garden these days consist of containers on the cockpit of my sailboat, I still smile (border line drool) over photos of roses or rose catalogs. Through it all, I wander the aisles of garden nurseries or even the garden sections of Walmart, Home Depot, and the like dreaming of potential roses I could acquire and eventually share.

Relatively new to the liveaboard lifestyle, I find myself still making a way to enjoy roses for I purchased a “body bag” rose for just $6 recently. The Grandiflora known as ‘Arizona’ will be an experimental rose for me as she grows in Texas’ high heat and humidity partially shaded from the scorching sun by my sailboat’s bimini (awning type of structure over the cockpit).

full sail

Full Sail, hybrid tea

In hindsight, perhaps I should have purchased ‘Full Sail’, a fragrant white rose with a nautical theme or ‘Ebb Tide’, a lovely purple rose.

Nevertheless, this new lifestyle and new gardening zone presents many new exciting challenges. While getting used to living aboard a small yacht and showering in a marina, our dock box is already full of not only fenders (bumper pads for your boat) and boat cleaning supplies, but potting soil, gardening gloves, and pruning shears as well. At first, my husband protested our boat being transformed into what could be appropriately labeled a “BOATanical” environment, but now he is getting on board even wanting to grow tomatoes on our boat. He is easily influenced. 😉

compass rose

Compass Rose design

 

Soon, we will officially change the name of our sailboat. Initially, I liked the name of ‘Sailvation’ to represent our faith in addition to sailing, but lately, I have been thinking ‘Boatanical’ or ‘Compass Rose’ (the navigational compass on nautical charts) are equally, if not more appealing.

Whichever name or destination we choose, it’s become crystal clear, I will always be rooted in a love for roses.