Ever-Blooming Despite Life’s Prickles: Deadheading Redirect

‘Miranda Lambert’, a hybrid tea succumbs to the end of her bloom cycle.

Deadheading Redirect

Once a rose has bloomed, its goal is to reproduce. To accomplish such a task, the blossom extinguishes its petals, and if pollinated by a bee, bird, or human, it will eventually transform into a rose hip. The rose hip is essentially a pod of rose seeds fulfilling the plant’s purpose of being fruitful and multiplying. However, if the gardener snips away the spent bloom, also known as “deadheading”, then the plant redirects its energy to produce yet more blooms. Various rose bushes, such as the floribunda variant, tend to produce multiple clusters of glorious blooms. Should one rose blossom and fade yet still is left amongst the plethora of other blooms, the spent bloom demands energy that could otherwise be redirected towards the remaining blooms in the cluster. Alternatively, the gardener could simply snip the spent rose so the energy is redirected to the remaining thriving buds or blooms. On a hybrid tea variant, the gardener could potentially remove all the budding blooms while leaving only one to flourish. The remaining bud will then produce a larger and more beautiful rose than if it was left to compete with the other burgeoning buds.

“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” Psalm 119:2

As I have evolved in my Biblical studies and come into understanding more and more of God’s holy word, I realized I have been exposed to and believed in many fallacies over the years. Ultimately, after grieving such popular deception, I opted to “deadhead” those spent blooms so my energy could be redirected to produce healthier and more spiritually accurate, full blooms. In doing so, I learned to alter and prioritize in my life what is important according to God’s word instead of what some may teach or assume is truth. I ultimately carefully examined my heart, my mind, my lifestyle, then accordingly, repented, and redirected myself to love the Lord with all of my purged heart, mind, and being to the best of my ability. I realized the more I come to know Abba Father and His word, the more I realize I know nothing at all!

“With my whole heart I have sought You!” Psalm 119:10

Moreover, I found myself relating to David’s many psalms, particularly Psalm 119 as he embraced God’s instructions instead of rejecting them. David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), goes on to scribe in verse 34 of Psalm 119, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

In time, I discovered the secret to producing a beautiful spiritual garden while being fruitful and multiplying isn’t necessarily producing multiple seeds or nourishing a plethora of blooms unknowingly propagating lies and error; rather, when we become aware and are willing to deadhead all the unnecessary deceptions and distractions, redirecting our energy on meditating on Abba Father and His Word while keeping His commandments, we then find ourselves ever-blooming, despite life’s prickles.​

‘Memorial Day’, a fragrant hybrid tea rose blooms with ‘Paul’s Scarlet Climber’ in the background.

Ever-Blooming Despite Life’s Prickles: The Japanese Beetle

A Japanese Beetle enjoys the petals of a rose.

The Lesson of The Japanese Beetle

I usually putter amongst my small but flourishing rose garden monitoring and pruning away the dried branches, weeds, and spent blossoms. One particular summer though, my attention focused elsewhere as I failed to keep a careful watch over my beloved buds. In my goings to and fro, I noticed one or two Japanese Beetles enjoying the fruits of my labor as they nestled on my bud’s petals and her leaves. Unfortunately, I was too consumed in my own world to pay attention to the destruction right beneath my nose! Over time, my rose bushes were devastated and apparently well known by the JB community as the all you can eat smorgasbord. Consequently, I realized that I needed to regularly monitor the activities lurking in my garden if I was going to ward off such damaging predators in the future. In fact, to do so, I filled my little Tupperware container with soapy water and went hunting! Time to enforce my garden’s much needed boundaries! Beetle-hunting is quite easy actually and surprisingly fun. All you have to do is look closely at your rose buds, find your enemy lurking underneath, then tap the branch and catch them as they land in the soapy water. Once you’ve trapped these pesky pests, you’ll experience a strange sense of relief as you watch the enemy drown. Clearly, my burgeoning buds must be examined should I hope to rescue them from the evil anxious to devour them. Interestingly enough, though one bush may be purified, the nightmare could still show up yet again in another unsuspecting bush.

​As I set out to continuously conquer such small but damaging insects, I thought how similar sin is in our own lives. Often sin starts off quite small and unnoticeable as we go about our busy lives. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it surfaces enough to nearly ruin our lives and once it’s done so, it proceeds to affect those around us also.

“Let us look closely at our ways and examine them and then return to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40.

​The Japanese Beetle teaches me to daily and carefully examine the garden of my heart so as to seek out and destroy any pests hiding within my budding soul for it is only then those around me will smell the sweet aroma of my lifestyle as my form of a daily sacrifice (Numbers 28).

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.

She Blooms

No matter what season we may find ourselves in, Mother’s Day tends to be a sensitive day for women (and even their children too). Holidays like these have a peculiar way of annunciating all life has thrown at us… But today, this year, on this Mother’s Day, it is well with my soul. Whether we are barren or a full house, whether missing the wayward child or moms passed away, whether we are grieving over children lost or celebrating children or grandchildren gained, or any other matter life presents us, I pray we choose to be ‘ever-blooming’ through it all. Every rose has thorns, fights disease, and is attacked by pests, and yet, she blooms.


(This rose I photographed reminded me of my 4 children)

My Lady Blooms

Approximately two months ago, my first and much anticipated David Austin rose, ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’, arrived in bare root form. I had been wanting this particular rose for years, but every time I went to purchase her through the elite David Austin Roses website, she was sold out. This year, however, I purchased her early around the New Year with success!

Because I live aboard a sailboat named ‘Sailvation’ full-time, I planted her in a 16 inch wide wine-barrel looking plastic pot, which she adapted to just fine. After planting her in Miracle Grow potting soil and compost, I dressed her base with Alyssum, a fragrant, white-flowering dainty flower. I have never “dressed” my roses with companion plants in pots but I was feeling botanically adventurous- or perhaps I should say “BOATanically” adventurous, an alternative name for our boat! 😉 She seemed to thrive instantly bursting with buds, leaflets, and eventually green foliage. This past week, she bloomed for the first time upon putting out four buds. I enjoy waking up each morning having my cup of coffee and being able to check on my rose’s development through the portlight (window) of the boat. Both Lady Emma Hamilton and her companion, Alyssum, boast a “sweet aroma” as they choose to be “ever-blooming”. I hope and pray we all can follow their example.

Walk With Me

In a world consumed with valid concerns of this novel coronavirus and the consequent sadness of loss of life, I invite you to virtually walk with me in a field of roses to remind and encourage you to embrace life and each precious day we are given. These photos were taken at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania several years ago. I hope you will take the time to “stop and smell the roses” even if they are only online.

‘Michaelangelo’
‘Mardi Gras’
‘Moondance’
‘Scentimental’
‘Melody Perfume’
‘Johann Strauss’

May you and yours be “ever-blooming”!