Now it made sense. I had heard dogs barking. And guns shooting. It was odd, but I was busy. Much too busy to stop because of some strange commotion.
You see, I was outside pruning the roses. It's a Seasonal Celebration that I look forward to each and every early spring. To a non-gardener, or even to a non-rose-loving gardener, pruning roses seems like a chore. And I have to admit, it takes me several days of concentrated effort to prune all the roses in my garden. And even with long sleeves and rose gauntlets on, I always end up scratched and bloodied. But I still get excited every year about pruning the roses. To me, it means that blooms will soon be on the way.
This year I was trying hard to prune all my roses within a few days. I wanted all my roses to come into their peak all around the same time, and I thought the odds of that happening would be much greater if I pruned all my roses within a short time frame. Visions of my garden in full bloom filled my mind. That's why a chore - pruning - is a celebration I look forward to all winter.
But this particular escapee had come from Georgia. They had caught his accomplice. He was desperate. And he had been seen in the area, with a gun. People around here don't lock their vehicles. Sometimes, people around here don't even lock their doors at night. We are not used to crime. It is still something shocking when it happens. And someone had left their vehicle unlocked, with a gun inside. The escapee had stolen the gun.
I went inside.
All night long, helicopters flew overhead. He was close. He was very close. But they just couldn't catch him. The next morning, we drove to the post office. There was law enforcement everywhere. And no sign of the escapee.
What to do? I needed to garden! I couldn't waste a beautiful day! I weighed the odds. The odds of an encounter with an escapee seemed pretty unlikely, even if he was in the area. And I would be armed with pruners! Maybe not much of a weapon against a gun, but I was guessing he didn't want to be seen. And I knew that spring was coming. The odds of spring coming was much higher than the sighting of an escapee.
And so, my husband armed me with pepper spray and a walkie talkie. And I went outside to prune. I decided to prune in the back. If law enforcement saw me, they might mistake me for the escapee, and I didn't want to get shot by accident.
I was on high alert. I listened for the rustling of leaves. Vigilantly, I listened to the birds for any sign of danger - complete silence or agitated twittering. I watched for sudden flight. And my eyes scanned the woods for movement. Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of pruning done.
Finally, my husband came outside. "He's gone."
The escapee had stolen an unlocked vehicle in the middle of the night not five miles from my house.
They spotted him again about a week later in Alabama. Again, he evaded capture. From Georgia to Texas back to Alabama? I hope he's on his way back to Georgia to turn himself in.
My roses responded to the pruning gloriously. New little leaves popped out on my roses bushes. I was optimistic about my roses bursting into glorious blooms all at the same time.
But Mother Nature (or maybe it was Old Man Winter) had other thoughts. The escapee is not the only one that has gone back and forth. The temperatures have too - from sun-burning 78 to a very chilly 17 degrees. All those sweet new little rose leaves are now black and shriveled. My dreams of a glorious display have withered and died, too. The roses will eventually bloom, but it won't be the same. I had done the work, but will not see the results I had hoped for.
I am disappointed. Extremely disappointed. But not too surprised. That's the Lesson Learned that all gardeners learn eventually. Like a desperate escapee, the weather is never predictable. You have to keep alert to it. Odds are, it will come into the garden some time during the year, wreaking havoc. It can be record cold, an extreme drought, or scorching summer temperatures. Some years, it's all three. And the weather is something we will never capture. We gardeners just have to keep gardening. We can't waste a beautiful day. Because most of all, we have to keep hoping for that glorious year of our dreams.
I'm joining Donna at Gardens Eye View for Seasonal Celebrations, and Beth at Plant Postings for Lessons Learned.
thanks..... I needed this. I, too, have been in the midst of gloom over my dead-looking-frost-bitten plant/shrubs/roses, etc....ReplyDelete
It's depressing to see the damage, isn't it? I just hope the plants can spring back, and make new leaves - and that we don't have any more cold snaps like that this spring!Delete
Oh my goodness! I was chuckling a bit when you said that you still needed to prune so your husband armed you with a walkie talkie and pepper spray! You go friend! And yes you could have always used your pruners! Your blooms thus far are stunning! I do hope that all of your hard work pays off and those roses bloom gloriously for you! I can't wait to see more of your garden and I always enjoy when you post! Your posts are fantastic! I do hope they catch him! All the best...Nicole xoxoReplyDelete
In retrospect, it was quite foolish to go out there and prune, but I felt I needed to work while the weather was being cooperative. Little did I know that all that hard work would be laughed at by Mother Nature just a couple of weeks later. :( As for the escapee, I do hope they catch him, or he turns himself in. If I have my facts straight, he's not really dangerous, just stupid. I would hate for them to kill him.Delete
My heart was in my mouth the whole time I was reading Holley! Glad you are safe and sound but bad new about your Roses. As you say they will recover but it's difficult to predict Mother Nature! We've had the perfect winter thus far yet the fear at the back of my mind is that it can turn anytime!ReplyDelete
Oh, enjoy the weather while it's nice! I'm happy someone has had the perfect winter this year! Actually, ours has not been too bad, it had just been a little too warm for that dip in the temperature. I hope that was the last one! I was fooled into thinking spring had arrived, and my garden was fooled too!Delete
Nothing stops a true gardener;) Glad that you are safe. Your garden is looking so pretty and Springy! Spring is knocking on the door in South TX.ReplyDelete
I'm ready to let it in! I always hate these late freezes, but this freeze was so very cold - it did a lot more damage that I usually expect this time of year.Delete
We've been having that see-saw weather, too, but luckily, no escapees.ReplyDelete
Well, I hope he doesn't make it to Florida! ;)Delete
Nerve wracking to say the least! Sorry about your roses. Is there a special event coming that you want all the roses to be in bloom for? I'm envious of the spring blooms you do have. Nothing like that here yet. Warmth today and tomorrow may help though.ReplyDelete
Marcia, no special event. It's just that last year I was very slow at pruning - it took me perhaps six weeks to get through with all my roses. And I felt like the garden bloomed a little here, a little there. I figured it was due to my drawn-out pruning. I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to see if the entire garden would bloom all at once if I pruned it all at once. I guess I'll have to wait until next year to try out my theory!Delete
Rites of Spring include jailbreaks. Get a dog, a large dog. It can love him to death.ReplyDelete
You're right - I need a large dog. Mine died not too long ago, and I miss that added feeling of security.Delete
For a moment with gun and dog noises, I didn't realize you lived near me. Seriously, that's one interesting scenario to prune and garden through!ReplyDelete
A few years ago, a few armed prisoners escaped from a private prison in AZ. They made local and national news after driving through the entire town - 16 freeway exits - gassed up where I often did, went right by my house (only way to get over the mountains), and murdered a couple camping 100 miles east that same evening. Being lazy at gardening helped me, I think!
Your garden will certainly benefit from your tenacity.
I wasn't sure how many readers could relate to gun and dog noises! Your story of the murdered couple is so sad. How scary that they were so close! This guy, if the news had it right, was a young guy, with only a burglary charge. He hadn't even been sentenced - he broke out of jail awaiting his trial. They will now throw the book at him, if/when they ever find him. I don't think he would be inclined to hurt anyone, although one never knows how someone will react when they get desperate. If he had been in jail for a violent offense, I don't think I would have chanced it.Delete
A great post, not to mention exciting. I feel the same way at the end of the summer when I'm on high alert for bears wandering down to the salmon spawning site. I too put my faith in the birds to tip me off.ReplyDelete
Bears! Oh, my! At least I don't have to worry about those! Watching the birds is smart - they can see much more than we can, and have a great warning system to the rest of the flock.Delete
That must have been very scary. I don't think I could have been so determined! I bet you still will get beautiful blooms from your roses in spite of the cold. Sometimes I think they like that jolt of cold to invigorate them! It's good to see your post again. You always give me a smile!ReplyDelete
Dorothy, I will try to have your positive attitude - and think of them as being invigorated by the cold! Thanks for the alternative perspective! :)Delete
High drama! I'm pig-headed too but, confronted by that event, I might have put off my pruning for another day. We periodically get helicopters circling overhead, usually police tracking thieves, although on one occasion the news copters circled for hours over a fire, even after it was out. We were concerned about the fire until it was extinguished and then went about our business despite the persistent copters. We later learned that the fire had been set to cover up a murder just a mile away. I gardened through that one but then I didn't know there was a murderer on the loose at the time...ReplyDelete
What a scary story! Thankfully, this guy was not a murderer - or I wouldn't have been out there! I guess we gardeners need to be prepared for anything these days. Maybe someone should invent pruners that turn into a large defense weapon!Delete
Hi Holley, I so can relate that rose pruning is not just another big garden chore for you but a seasonal celebration. Even though in my garden it is really a lot of work too, each year I am looking forward to it, with the same dreams of a wonderful spring flush that you have. For that reason I am sooo... sorry that your garden got hit by a cold spell. I hope that it won't be too bad and that your roses will recover from it and will still bloom in abundance for you this spring! Warm regards,ReplyDelete
I'm always anxious to get out there and start pruning the roses. To me, it means that spring is coming! In just a few short weeks, winter is will be over, and roses will be blooming - hard to believe right now, but I know it to be true. It will be interesting to see how the roses recover. Not only the newly pruned roses were hurt, but the unpruned teas were also decimated. Everything had new little delicate leaves. I'm hoping they will bounce back as fast as they were damaged.Delete
Wow, that is quite a lesson! I was so worried for you as you were describing the day out in the garden worried about the escapee. I think I would have stayed inside, although I understand your motivations. And you are so right about the weather. That is a hard lesson to accept. Thanks for joining in the meme!ReplyDelete
I think everyone could have a weather lesson! We gardeners have to learn to bounce back. Otherwise, we would just give up, and what a shame that would be.Delete
Oh, I was on the edge of the ol' Lazy Boy reading about your pruning adventures. I'm glad the escapee didn't turn out to be hiding in your climbing roses, but I would feel uneasy, too. I always carry my pruners with me, sometimes even to the grocery store, but I know they wouldn't be much of a match for a convict.ReplyDelete
Having the weather vary that much is sad; I hate when that happens. I'm hoping your roses will spring forth in bloom as always.
What an adventure!! And with it poignant lessons learned parallel with how unpredictable weather can be. Gardeners must be on guard and play with what the weather brings, and hope for the best :)ReplyDelete
Thanks to this lesson.ReplyDelete
Well I'm hoping for you that the downturn of the weather doesn't cause too many problems for your newly pruned Roses. I guess this winter is one we'll all remember for what it has done to our gardens.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
And who says that gardening is boring? You look like Lara Croft. Nothing can keep a gardener from spring fever. I am sorry to hear about your roses. In Holland they start to make buds. The weather is delicious!ReplyDelete
Oh, my! I just knew your were going to say the booger man was hunkered down in your roses. Yipes! Glad all is safe there. Yes, it is sad to see the freeze damage. I think I lost all in my greenhouse as our power was out for 6 hours and I was one of the lucky ones. My broccoli and chard is gone as are the wonderful white blooms of the native Mexican plum (a great substitute for the Bradford pear) and the pink of the quince. All I can say with a winter we have had here in Texas there had better not be any bugs this summer!!ReplyDelete
Lol your pepper spray pruning just made my day. I'm sorry you had a surprise Winter men visit. Your flowers looked amazing. Maybe they survive the cold. Our flowers are still sleeping. They haven't even started making buds.ReplyDelete
What an exciting gardening story! I'm glad things turned out all right for you -- even if the weather didn't cooperate. Perhaps your roses will still all bloom at the same time, since they all had the same treatment: pruning and freeze back all occurred simultaneously. You might be surprised at the rose show this year... Thanks for sharing your story. -BethReplyDelete
WOW! That's dramatic! I think your neighborhood needs to start locking the doors. I'm glad you're ok! Winter won't let us go, either. We get little teasers of spring but then Mother Nature comes roaring back for more.ReplyDelete
Well...never a dull moment.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean about leaving doors on houses and cars unlocked. Happens sometimes in our neighborhood. We don't worry about each other, but an 'invader' is another matter.
It's hard not to get out there and garden, when the weather is so gorgeous. Then, WHAM....another cold front.
We haven't had it as bad as you have up there. But, bad enough.
Surely, surely winter will be over soon, and I can start whining about the heat.
Alabama? That's my neck of the woods! So true about the unpredictability of the weather. Today was glorious, and temps are supposed to stay spring-like this week. Lou says everything is about to explode. That's his way of saying everything is about to turn green or bloom. I hope your roses rebound quickly. They may surprise you!ReplyDelete
Wow Holley--you could always take to writing crime novels on the side! It's a little unnerving to think there might be somebody on the loose in your neighborhood isn't it? We've only had it once and that was enough. We have one of those super-safe neighborhoods too where people look out for each other. I have a temperature comparison for you: all last week I was in southern Calif. visiting my family. The day before I left, I was gardening outside in sixty degree weather--everything was gorgeous. (This is Portland, Oregon) The next day, the temps dropped to a high of 37! When I arrived in California, it was in the high sixties and the day I came home, it was 80 degrees. Talk about a whiplash. Hey, I just bought a couple of Heirloom roses called Oregold that I saw in CA. They were stunning. Do you know that variety?ReplyDelete
Susie, I looked up Oregold - it really IS stunning! Gorgeous! I'm actually looking for a rose that color, but I want it to stay small (2 to 3 ft or so) (probably need to look for a mini). Anyway, Oregold should do well - it's a hybrid tea and very disease resistant (I always look for that!). I hope it does well for you!Delete
You have some lovely things coming along here. I really like the photo in your header.ReplyDelete
I heartily endorse your message - don't waste a beautiful day no matter what.ReplyDelete
Your story had me on the edge of my seat... Sorry about your dashed hopes; sometimes mother nature can be less than helpful!ReplyDelete
wow...what a story...you are brave and wise to just continue with what you loveReplyDelete
There is nothing more frightening than a desperate man. I am glad that you only used the pruners and did not have to use the pepper spray or the walkie talkie. Our weather seems very unpredictable here as well. The day before yesterday we had a snow storm and tonight we are to have rain.ReplyDelete
Good grief! WHo would have thought gardening could be fraught with peril. Glad all ended well :-)ReplyDelete
Wow, that's quite an overly-exciting pruning day! Glad the guy left the area! The weather is always so unpredictable; I don't know how farmers stand it with so much risk. I guess that is why there are not too many farmers left - you have to be ready for anything Mother Nature throws you! Your daffodils and spring plants are lovely (I'm a little envious, as I'm still surrounded by snow). I hope your roses turn out glorious anyway!ReplyDelete
Wow Holley what an amazing story...you had me riveted and boy were you brave.ReplyDelete
Your celebration of roses will come soon I hope...spring weather here would be nice for more than one day every other week. And yes that lesson is the hardest for gardeners to deal with....thanks as always for joining in to the celebration!!