For the last three weeks, ever since returning from overseas, there has been a constantly replenished bunch of roses on the kitchen table. They range from a blush colour through to a beautiful light orange and have a fragrance that hits you as you walk into the room. After a few days in the house, they have opened, blooming magnificently, and then, over the next few days, drop their petals prettily and gently at the base of the vase.
Along the fence at the front of the house is a row of stunning rose bushes. To give you an idea of my gardening prowess, I can kill a cactus. (Correction – I have killed a cactus.) But roses seem to be indestructible. In our old house, we had three beautiful Margaret Merril roses along the front fence with a gorgeous perfume that would stop passers-by. One – the middle one – was a wedding gift from one of my bridesmaids (showing extreme optimism on her part that I wouldn’t kill it within a week) and the other two were bought to plant alongside.
I love roses – especially old fashioned ones. I love the fact they are enduring – that once they have flowered, I can butcher them back to nothing and within a short time, they will be rewarding me again with their beautiful blooms. I love that it doesn’t matter how much I neglect them, they still grow and thrive. I love that while roses may not be the trendy flower of the moment, they are always so elegant and beautiful.
Recently, on walks with the new puppy, I’ve been paying much attention to the beautiful bushes on our street. There is every colour imaginable, some with a gorgeous scent, others purely decorative. There are arbours welcoming people into gardens and climbers decorating the period homes in the area we live. One house has the most stunning, overrun bush – almost a tree, actually – that I stop at each time we walk by. It looks like it has been there for decades and when it’s time, I intend to knock on the door and ask the owners if I can take a cutting.
Roses have an inextricable – and ridiculous – link to diabetes for me. Whenever I am pruning them, I inevitably stab a finger on one of their angry thorns and, whilst cursing the pain, use this as a perfect excuse to check my BGL. There’s never any point wasting blood.
When our old Margaret Merrils – which were standards rather than bushes – were being trained to grow and stand tall, they were always tied to their stakes with spent pump lines.
And of course, the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign beautifully juxtaposes diabetes and roses.
I’m not sure if it is the fairy-tale-like quality of the pricked finger and drops of blood, or the fact that it doesn’t matter what I seem to do – whether a tend to them diligently or ignore them completely – but the roses are still there. I’m not sure if it is the beauty that thrives despite the nasty thorns that lie underneath. But there is something about a rose that makes me think forever. Just how I feel about diabetes….