Roses in June


For northern hemisphere rose lovers, my title seems straightforward. Not so for us down here, and especially we Canberrans. Coldest capital in Australia…

I was surprised therefore when I went to the farmer’s market and found plenty of roses for sale this morning. The seller tells me my choice is called Magnum, which instantly brought to my mind memories of Mum and I watching Tom Selleck in his bright red Ferrari. These are not Ferrari red roses but still a lovely red with great shape.

Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t playing.  It hasn’t been playing since I got home from the market and tried to upload the photos, so that’s a 24 hour plus freeze…hence you’ll have to check out Magnum at Help Me Find.  Plan B…nor will it let me copy the link.

Damn WordPress.

Telling stories

William Shakespeare.  (Photo from hedgerow

William Shakespeare. (Photo from hedgerow

William Shakespeare is perhaps the greatest writer that has ever lived. Certainly, anyone whose works are still being performed about half a millenium after their death and whose words have passed into the vernacular has to be in the running for that accolade.

The power of Shakespeare’s stories in unquestionable. It’s their compelling quality that interests me the most here. We’re all in the business of telling stories, but few of us stop to think closely about this. We may only have an audience of one, but I think our stories are just as powerful as his. The question is, what’s your genre? Tragedy, comedy or something else?

Surprise, surprise, I’m in the tragedy genre. I constantly tell myself pernicious stories, like the one about how I’m a failure in almost every area of my life, that my past dictates my future, that I can never have what I want and that life is awful. It would be understated to say that for the last 45 years that I’ve been a pessimist.

I need to find new story myself, one that is every bit as powerful as the one that I want to replace. It would be good if it was like William’s rose. In my garden he is a reliable rose, not as big as his neighbours Darcy Bussel and Munstead Wood, but equally beautiful and rich in colour. I need a story as redolent in scent, texture and beauty, a story so bewitching that I’ll come under its spell completely.

This new story also needs to be able to withstand neglect. After all I’ve been down this path before, many times. Really, I’ve probably spent more time off the path than on. Whatever the story is it needs to be up to live on during the times that I inevitably forget it; when I am back in the thrall of the old story.

Have you succeeded in being your own bard? Why don’t you share your story so that it grow onwards?

Healing and scent


Perhaps partly due to that blustery weather I referred to in my last post, I am now home in bed sick. No one really likes being sick, but it is one of the few spaces in our ridiculously over paced culture that allows us to stop. And, if you are lucky enough to have supportive living arrangements, to stop absolutely.

There’s only one rose I know that speaks to illness. It’s called Aspirin, but I have never seen it so do t feel like I can comment on it. If you’re interested, you can follow this link for a description and photo.
If anyone knows of other roses that speak to the theme of illness, I’d love to know. But more than any individual rose, there’s a saying which that we all use that speaks to this. My sister used it yesterday. She advised me to take the time to smell the roses. I’ve taken her advice to heart, although I’m settling for rose oil, with a few drops of neroli and lavender as well.

Scent can be calming and relaxing, two physiological states that are well known to support healing. Our sense of smell evolved early, as a useful survival tool. While I’m not currently under threat in the way that my palaeolithic ancestors were, I am ill and my body is under threat. Combine simply fighting off a bug with the perils of diabetes, and now I feel more under threat. (Unfortunately, with diabetes, the flu is more complicated). I feel besieged by my own body as well as by the bug. Using the power of scented roses to help me reduce my fear can only be a good thing.

Time feels like an enemy at the moment. I’ve just had a birthday (complete with cake/diabetes related crisis), I’m under pressure with two jobs and one of those jobs is about time itself. I can’t get away from it. Sickness is the only time I get to genuinely stop. I retreat to bed with the cat and cups of tea. I’ve been busy my whole life and I don’t feel like I’ve got a lot to show for it. At least, not anything that worth the price.

There’s something really wrong with that. It perhaps explains one of the reasons why I love roses and rose gardens so much. They flip us out of our busyness. They give us time and space just to be.

New books and catalogues


Canberra has been blustery and cold.  Full winter regalia is now de rigeur, boots, scarves and my rather luscious coat that I bought in Rome a few years ago.  That also means that the roses are now at their very last.  When I was at Old Parliament House on Sunday, there were a few blooms still hanging on bravely.  My own roses, so newly planted, have been sleeping for some time.

That means rose related pleasures must be found elsewhere, like in books and catalogues.  I’ve resisted the catalogues so far, that is, resisted spending money.  I spent money on two new/old books yesterday, at one of Canberra’s wonderful bookshops.

One was a hefty tome filled with the most glorious plates of rose renderings.  The second was an anthology and I’d like to share this.  It’s a short poem by Thomas Moore.

Bring the bright garlands hither,

Ere yet a leaf is dying;

If so soon they must wither,

Ours be their last sweet sighing.

Hark, that low dismal chime!

‘Tis the dreary voice of Time.

Oh, bring Beaty, bring roses,

Bring all that yet is ours,

Let life’s day, as it closes,

Shine to the last thro’ flowers.


Love, K.