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Welcome back! Ferrebeekeeper’s jubilee celebrating our 2000th post is ongoing until Fourth of July fireworks close out the celebration.  Reaching this milestone has made me look back at our first posts from 10 years ago and, boy, things were a lot different back then! For example, back at the beginning of Ferrebeekeeper, one of our main subjects was gardening.  In those innocent days, I had an exquisite picture in my head of a magical cloistered garden of beauty and symbolic delight which would be an oasis from the madness and stress of New York City.  As any of you with gardening experience will recognize, my attempts to create that garden in the real world have never resulted in anything like the glistening platonic image in my head (an ideal picture which has actually changed quite a bit over the years).  However it turns out that the years of  careful & patient gardening were actually the true source of happiness and peace (even if the &$%# plants cost a bunch of money and died even when I screamed and cried for them to live).

Anyway…the crown jewel of my ideal garden are roses, (which are called “the queen of the garden for a reason).  To match this vision in the real world  I have planted so many hybrid tea roses, floribundas, grandifloras, and miniature roses.  I carefully put these cherished beauties in the sunniest spot of my garden…yet even that was too shady (when I first moved in, there was a single tree of heaven in the neighbor’s yard…but soon another appeared, then another and another and another and now my poor garden is surrounded on all sides by these giant invasive monsters).

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Only one rose remains in what is now definitely a shade garden.  This last survivor is a complete unknown which was obtained in the following circumstances.  A few years ago I was looking around a nursery in Brooklyn during August and I noticed a bunch of pots filled with shriveled brown leaves and needle-sharp thorns.  The shop keeper had optimistically placed a sign which said “half off!” over these decidedly dead looking plants which I though might have once been fancy roses. I went over to examine them to see what NOT to plant in my garden when the nurseryman spotted me looking at the only one with a single green shoot and he said, “I’ll let you have it for two dollars!”

Now this was clearly another one of New York’s infamous scams, but I had been wandering around in the nursery for a while without finding a plant, and I felt guilty scoffing at this ridiculous lowball offer for a rose (no matter how dead).  I bought the rose and planted it in the last patch of sun, and now it is the last of the roses planted in the garden.  The $2 rose is a sprawling ground rose and it is really lovely! Its blossoms are as to the fancy hybrid tea roses what hobbits are to Aragorn,  They do not have the same aquiline lines of pure beauty…and yet they are clearly of the same stuff.  During June, the $2 rose has little pink double blossoms with slightly rounded petals. They really do look like cute little hobbit children.

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I am sorry these photos don’t do it justice–it looks  much more beautiful in person,,,but maybe only if you know its story.  I was going to see if there were some newly opened buds to photograph today, but a terrifying gully washer tore all of the petals off of every opened flower (the storm was so intense that it left the neighbor’s garden underwater…so I guess I can’t really complain).

The little rose makes me think of happiness, both because it makes me happy (and seems to embody that emotion in color and form) and because of its provenance.  None of the fancy expensive roses which I coveted could survive in our physical world of blackspot, bugs, and darkness. The tiny pink $2 rose has ended up as the accidental queen of my garden of shadows  (when the cherry tree isn’t blooming anyway). Yet if the Goddess Flora appeared in my door and offered the reddest and most perfect rose from the garden of paradise for my $2 tiny ground rose, I am not sure anymore that I would trade (although I might ask her for some tips).

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