Thursday, February 2, 2012


"Mommy, why do they chop off those roses' heads?"

My 6 year old daughter stopped and looked at these pruned bushes on the way to the playground at Garfield Park.

"Well, I think it's supposed to make them grow," I said.

"But they were growing before just fine," she said.

"I'm not sure what the point is," I said. "It's just something that gardeners do to make the rose bushes look more groomed. They cut off the dead leaves and flowers."

I really didn't have any idea what I was talking about.

"But what if the rose bushes wanted to keep those dead leaves and flowers? It's not like the wind wouldn't knock them off. Or the rain. Who cares if they are a little messy?"

"I guess the gardeners want it to look a certain way."

She lingered for a moment and then sighed.

"I get it, Mommy," she said. "They just want to make them bloom the way they want them to do it. Not the way the bushes want to do it. Grown ups always do crazy stuff like that."

(Yes, yes they do.)


Mister Earl said...

Brilliant! Raine needs to see my rose bushes. The pretty much get to bloom the way they want to. Every year I say, "I really should give them a crew cut," but I never do.

Judy Williams said...

You know me - I had to find out the real reason why roses are pruned. I found out that the goal of all pruning is to help the plant provide new growth and to keep it healthy by making it possible for air and light to filter into the middle of the bush. Maybe Raine would feel a bit better if she knew that.

When I first saw this the barrenness of it seemed so sad. This has such a feeling of desolation. But from the dead of winter do the flowers grow. ;)

Mister Earl said...

A brilliant song by Susan Werner (although I'm not thrilled with this rendition.)



The lady at the greenhouse said, "That would be seven-fifty please"
You drove us down the gravel roads, I held it balanced on my knees
You said we'd keep it inside so the branches wouldn't freeze
And I asked you what would happen
If we let it grow
And you said

Some trees were meant to reach
Reach up for the sky
Some trees we trim to keep them pretty
Like bonsai

Winters and then summers and then I was seventeen
We packed up my fall sweaters and my possibilities
And we cried the day you left me at the university
And it was something I remember
As I watched you turn and go

That some trees were meant to reach, you said
Reach up for the sky
Some trees we trim to keep them pretty
Like bonsai, like bonsai

Some trees we trim back
Some hands we tie
Some wings we clip
Some feet we bind

Nineteen forty-eight it was and you were twelve years old
Dreaming about high school and you asked if you could go
And your mother said
"Even very clever girls are better off at home"

Some trees were meant to reach
Reach up for the sky
Some trees we trim to keep them pretty
Like bonsai, like bonsai

Anonymous said...

Here here, Little Bit!

Judy Williams said...

What cool lyrics, Mr. E. Didn't know that one.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Kids say the darndest things

San Diego Farmgirl said...

This reads like a Pat observation! Smart girl, your Little Bit.

Trish said...

Smart kid!

Reminds me of a kid I met during chemo who asked why the doctor took a part of me out when it might be painful, or look bad afterwards. I explained that sometimes things grow not in a good way and we help them to a healthier path. Maybe my body wouldn't look so great with a chunk out of it in an obvious place, but, like a pruned back rose, it will allow me to grow and bloom for many years in the future with less disease impeding my growth.

The kid looked at me and said "oh, like a haircut lets me see so I don't crash my bike!".

Clear as a bell, he hit is squarely. As did Lil Bit. And every time I look at roses bursting out of pruned back branches, I think of him, and now Little Bit too.

TheChieftess said...

Pruning also strengthens the stems...
I was always a bit sad when TheChief pruned the roses in January...they did look sad and a bit desolate...but come Spring, I was always grateful...
I miss our roses!!!

Shanna said...

Great stuff today, y'all.

Laurie said...

This is all so wonderful, you guys.