Monday, February 16, 2009

Our First "Red Clay Day"

Last Saturday morning in a slight rain I found myself surrounded by 7 of some of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure to know. Here's how it happened.

We have close to 3600 rose bushes in the ground. Some have been there for close to seven years now and they are quite happy and firmly rooted where they are thank you very much. They don't want to move but since I have no plans to leave them behind they haven't much say in the matter. There comes a point where you have stop talking to your plants and start barking orders.

There is actually plan in place to move them. We'll accomplish this by cutting them back very short and "dig" them out of the ground with a bare-root rose lifter. This is a simple device pulled by Jethro with a blade going about 12 inches into the ground that severs the deep roots and then a short ramp on the back that heaves the rose out of the ground accomplishing two things. Getting the rose out of the ground with your back intact and further dispelling that "roses are delicate plants" crap.

This works for mature plants but not for small ones. They just get sucked into the rose wake as Jethro and the digger work their way up and down the rows. So this means first the small roses need to be dug up and planted in pots - by hand - one by one by backbreaking one.

And that's how I found myself surrounded by 7 eager volunteers who also happen to be dear members of our rose family this past Saturday. They brought shovels, gloves, clippers and most of all an energy and spirit that cleared the rain from the skies. Did I also mention they also brought a great pot-luck lunch? Including vegetarian chili for yours truly.

We hit the fields and 7 hours, countless bags of soil and pots and a great lunch later some 500 roses had been lifted from the ground and now rested in their pots in one of the cold frames.

I was perhaps more exhausted than any of them but not because I worked harder. But because each passing hour of laughter and rose camaraderie further put the past behind and reminded me why I do this for a living. So while they lifted some 500 roses those Magnificent 7 also lifted two years of weight from my shoulders. I suspect Trish felt the same.


  1. Beautiful! Congratulations, Paul and Trish. You have some mighty fine friends.

  2. Congratulations Paul .Iam sure both You & Trish appreciate the help tremendously.
    I have been told that Rose friends are the berst friends to have. I do believe it.