The Rose That Followed Me 200 Miles

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 11:05:39 +0000


Five years ago, a “perfect storm” led to my leaving the city where I had taught and lived for 16 years.

The perfect storm was the convergence of three forces:

  • The new corporate owner of my rental townhouse served an eviction notice because they meant to tear down the entire complex of cottages and townhouses to build condominiums instead.
  • I had reached the peak of my academic profession, having achieved full professorship and authorship of four singly-authored and another six co-authored university-press books.
  • The age, ill-health, and increasing frailty of my husband meant that a medical crisis was a certainty sooner or later — and I did not want to have to quit my job and move in an emergency.

All of which led to my taking early retirement from my university, and moving to join my husband 200 miles away.

Why I was a renter: this was the view from my upstairs bedroom!

Being a renter, I was a container gardener. So I arranged for a special moving truck to transport the many pots, big and small, of my flowering plants.

But there were two red rose plants that I couldn’t take with me. They were not in containers, but grew in the ground of the townhouse’s back patio. I hadn’t planted them — the roses were already there when I first moved into the townhouse 14 years ago.

I was in anguish about abandoning the two red roses — to certain death. I even tried to dig them out with a shovel, but their roots went too deep.

And so, on moving day, I whispered my regrets and bade the red roses goodbye.

Two years went by….

One spring, I noticed a new shoot growing inside a large pot of mauve-colored roses. To my surprise, the shoot grew leaves and buds, and the buds blossomed. It’s the little red rose I had abandoned!

I thought it was rather odd because in all my years in the townhouse, although I had pots next to the red roses in the ground, they had never propagated inside any of the pots. But then, what other explanation could there be, other than that a pip from the old red rose had fallen into the pot, and took two years to root and grow a shoot?

However the self-propagation had happened, I was overjoyed to see the red rose. It lives!!!

The next spring, something even more remarkable happened.

The red rose shot up in another pot several feet from the first pot!

And then, another red rose shoot sprouted in yet another pot that was separated from the first two pots by a brick-paved garden path!

And then, red rose shoots sprouted from the ground between the pots!

And that’s the story of the little red rose that followed me 200 miles.

If anyone has an explanation for this, please leave a comment!

Oh, one last thing:

I have 30 pots of roses — white, mauve, pale lavender, yellow, orange, peach, apricot, salmon, pink, bright pink, orange-red roses — none of them has ever self-propagated a shoot in a neighboring pot.

May God be praised!


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