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The Saga of Anna's Promise


I am going to admit that I sometimes buy a bottle of wine because I like the cutesy name or the clever label or the pretty bottle. Likewise, I am a sucker for roses named for people or places or ideas that are special to me. Which is why I bought the rose pictures above. This is Anna's Promise, named for one of my favorite Downton Abbey characters. 

The fact that I am now seeing my first blossom on this rose seems like a miracle. I am not sure naming a rose after a character who always seems to be facing a traumatic experience is a good idea. I ordered the roes online and it arrived as a seemingly healthy bare-root rose with no leaves but several very thorny canes. I promptly planted it in a large pot with quality soil and gave it a good feeding. Alas, Virginia had an exceptionally long winter which subjected this poor rose to multiple snowfalls and numerous freezing nights.

I waited and waited for signs of life after the temperatures warmed. All of my other roses were sprouting leaves and buds within a month or so of our last frost. Not Anna's Promise. Months passed. Thorns fell off the canes. Green canes turned black. I kept wondering if I should just throw it out since it looked much more like it was dying than growing. I just couldn't give up on it. I scratched at the base and there was still a bit of green, evidence of a living plant. I just kept cutting away the black dried canes. 

Then one day I saw it. A small sprout. And before I knew it sprouts were coming up everywhere. Buds formed and I anxiously awaited the first blossom. But this is Anna's rose. The first bud on the top looked like it would be a gorgeous long-stemmed flower when an inadvertent bump against the plant chopped the bud off. It didn't kill the plant, but I was going to have to wait a bit longer to see my first flower.

Then there are the pests. I have a love-hate relationship with roses.  I absolutely love the flowers but they require so much attention. They are the fragile needy residents of my garden. One day as I checked on Anna I found the telltale evidence of sawfly larvae. Leaves were spotted with the brown webbed chewed lesions. I picked off and squished the small worms that I found and then gave Anna a good spraying with a natural insecticide.

Success! I now have a thriving lovely rosebush offering me this beautiful flower whose color reminds me of the sunrise. I am sure there is a life lesson somewhere in there if I think about it enough. But right now I think I shall just pour my morning coffee and enjoy gazing at Anna's Promise.

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