Today was great. Helen and I were at it again on a beautiful day in the PNW. The compost was hot and the ground was cold. We were not the only ones up early exploring the garden. Since all the snow melted different critters were poking their heads up and checking everything out. When the first ray of sunshine peered through the darkness and hit the ground this morning, it started a chain reaction melting the frost off of the sleepy wilted greens. It must have started somewhere on the south east corner and slowly engulfed the whole garden, and before you know it a lil caterpillar could be found scooting around doing a dance. Life was also poking above the soil in the greenhouse as the several brassicas that were planted in a flat and put under 24 hour light has started sprouting in a neat little line. Two little leafs soaking in the light, probably just realizing and getting ready to fulfill their entire purpose on this planet.
Rose pruning was also a priority on today's list of activities. Lucky for me, Helen has been expertly trained by a master rosarian, and is willing to pass on her knowledge to me. We collected our tool and headed out into the garden. Two individuals entering a very diverse ecosystem as champions at the top of the food chain. Our decisions today will, quite literally,shape the way the roses will live and grow for the rest of their lives. It is very important work. Upon our initial inspection we found the rose bushes to be completely untamed. They were wild and vigorous. Their goal in this life is to grow high above any other plant, and spread far and wide. The base was a cluster of thick, strong wood covered in razor sharp thorns. They came out of the ground and grew straight up above your head. It was difficult to even know where to start. We put on our gloves that were strong enough to resist the thorns and equipped our loppers sharp enough to cut them down at the base and began clearing the surrounding stocks. They were thin and just getting bearings before we flattened their progress and forbade their existence. We cleared anything not attached to the main cluster and threw them in a pile behind us. Soon we exposed the thickest and oldest growth and we were able to study it's design and figure a way to best promote it's growth and health while still clearing away most of the bulk. We decided to keep the young and new stocks, and remove the oldest and thickest ones. I imagine it's because they required the most resources to survive. So down they came, we sawed through their trunk and eliminated the cane. We looked at all the qualities and decided which would stay and which would go. In this situation, only the straight and narrow, young and healthy were acceptable, all others perished.
I couldn't help but feel a bit like an ultimate decider/ executer in the fate of each branch. If any were even slightly outside of my expectations, I swiftly eliminated their presence, and took away any chance of survival or reproduction it ever thought it would achieve. I thought about my own mortality in this way, and how relevant this perspective must be to a certain class/ tier of society. With the absolute power over others’ survival or chances to thrive. How does this relate to our everyday life if you don't fit into a certain expectation for society. Examples can be seen in today's world that society too wishes to eliminate individuals who don't fit into the mainstream culture. If an individual grows naturally in a different way than what is desired, they too will undoubtedly face resistance and will be cast aside. I felt bad for the branches that lived their whole lives only to be cut away because they were too old, skinny, twisted, or leaned a certain way against the crowd. I consider myself someone who doesn't necessarily fit into a box, and someone who walks against the crowd. This was starting to weigh on my mind, making me uneasy as Helen pointed and I chopped. In nature this plant would thrive and dominate regardless of what the stocks looked like, and nature would take its course. This plant didn't need us to help it survive.
But as we cleared away the bulk and took away the grass and dead leaves that were once just in the background covering up the main development, I could see that all the stocks we were cutting were all attached to a main bulb. This one bulb had produced so many other stems that we were simply thinning it. The chances that were being eliminated were not just individuals, but together part of one being. We were thinning the crowded stocks from consuming all the resources and concentrating the energy to the healthiest stocks to make the prettiest flowers. And because they are heirloom flowers, and just happen to be in our garden, we want to help the plant flourish in a controlled manner in order to produce the qualities we desire, and there's nothing wrong with that. It was absolutely the first time in a long time those beautiful rose bushes got the care and attention they deserve. And with all the benefits that come with owning heirloom roses, including seeing and smelling their beautiful flowers, they have equally as much maintenance needed. I was very pleased with the outcome and very thankful that I was able to be a part of their care. In the end this plant will live on much healthier to be enjoyed for years by many.