Gods of the Red Roses
A few years ago, my husband and I bought a couple of rose bushes to plant in front of our house. The colors were gorgeous – one was some kind of sienna something or other and the other was cocoa or mocha or some other chocolate-related color. They were briefly beautiful, and then something ate them. Racoon? Rat? Rabbit? I don’t know. What I do know is it’s incredibly difficult to grow anything in our yard. The wild whatever-ate-the-roses doesn’t help, and we have really bad soil (the fact that my suburb was apparently built on an ant farm doesn’t help that matter any. Thousands of intricate tunnels lie hidden beneath the dandelions and strangled grass in all our yards). Despite all this, my husband wanted to try his hand at another rose bush this year. I figured whatever happened to the first two would happen to this one, but we decided to try leaving it potted, on the deck, rather than planting it in the ground.
When we went to pick one out, I said, “Anything but pink.”
My husband chose one that didn’t have any flowers yet, but judging by the tag, it was a lovely deep red rose bush. We bought it and gave it a home in the sunniest corner of our deck. It got bugs. Little black specks that I could barely see, and miniscule green things. The cat would sit and stare at them, fascinated (his eyesight is much better than mine. I’m sure he could see them moving). My husband sprayed it with whatever it is you spray on roses to rid them of mites and stuff. We watered it, babied it. No wild animals could get to it, there were no ants strangling its roots. It was thriving and we were going to have such beautiful red roses on our deck.
And then it bloomed.
Bright pink. Fuchsia.
Obviously the tag was on the wrong pot. Was it an honest mistake, or was this the work of the Cacophony Society or some other group of rebels, secretly switching tags on flowers to shake things up? These were the kids who use to make prank phone calls (kids like me), all grown up, putting tags with pictures of yellow roses on the red rose bushes, and pictures of white roses on the yellow rose bushes.
And tags with pictures of vibrant red roses on the fuchsia.
At any rate, our bush bloomed pink all summer. And then, maybe because of the love and nurturing we gave it, or the sudden chill in the air, the gods of the red roses graced us with this:
Better late, than never, as they say. I can hardly wait to see what color it is in the spring.