How to nurture blowsy summer roses:
You will need your retirement years to do this right.
This is because you will have a garden only after toiling at your school administration job for thirty five years, after paying your mortgage in hiccupping installments.
By then you have mornings and late afternoons free to prudently crack open the soil and knead the earth, letting in just enough air for the roots. Not so much that the top crust washes off with the first summer rains. The scent of earth and rainwater shouldn’t be a warning.
Your granddaughter has her uses. Get her a watering can right for her size; a real one would be as tall as she is. Sternly direct her to drizzle lightly over the slippery dark green leaves before breakfast. Order her to stay out of the midday sun. Be resigned when she doesn’t.
The secret is the timely application of fresh manure. Press some onto the dead heads in neat small handfuls. Spread the rest in the flower beds. Wave the plastic bag of compact cowpats at your granddaughter, and let the smell leak into her nostrils. Smirk when telling her what it is. Inform her that there are people who drink urine for good health.
The birth of new buds is slow. The blooming, slow, slow, slow. Then in two days a sudden burst: your extravagant roses spill over with fragrance, their velvety petals flutter in tender flirtation with the breeze.
Then, the flippant petals fall away; the roses, in threes and twos, sag.
It will then be time for your granddaughter to leave the garden. It will soon be time for you.
- Sanam Amin is a writer and journalist currently based in Thailand. She is also secretly the fifth ninja turtle, and has probably saved your life at least twice. When not fighting crime, she uses her spare time to write stories.