A Rose Memoir…

Thorns and Tropical Roses

The very first rose garden I visited was during a drive back to Miami, Florida from the University of North Texas, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Arranging. My mom always wanted to be a horticulturist but she was unable to finish her college education due to a heart attack that her mom suffered during the course of her studies. She left school to help take care of her mother. Going back further in her family, while they were prisoners of war in Manila during WWII, her father was separated from her and her mother. A Japanese guard told her father that as long as he took care of one particular plant and not let it die, he would remain alive. Needless to say, I can remember all the times my mom’s parents came to visit us in Miami and the first thing they would do was head straight to the backyard to look at the mango, avocado, lemon and orange trees, (not to mention the abundance of orchids) and a huge tomato garden my mom tenderly cared for underneath a crepe myrtle tree.

Across from our Keat mango tree, adorned with a plethora of orchids she cultivated, was a modest ensemble of rose bushes. I remember the light purple ones the most and my mom was quite fond of them too; perhaps she enjoyed the challenge of cultivating them in Miami’s subtropical climate.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

And so, during our drive back to Miami from North Texas before summer was in full swing, we stopped in Tyler, the Rose Capital of the US. I was lucky enough to have had a college friend from Tyler who told me all about the garden. Tyler hosts the largest Rose Garden in the country. I remember the freshness and fragrant floral scent in the air as well as the lushness in color hues.

City Living

Fast forward twenty some years to apartment living in Brooklyn. No backyard here, but we do have the Brooklyn Botanic Garden not too far away and right next to Prospect Park. There are plenty of gardens to stroll through, depending upon the season. As I walked through the entrance, I was greeted by a group of volunteers who were doing some weeding. I spoke for merely a few seconds with one of them, whom I could tell was wishing for a bit of shade.

The Roses of June

A beautifully manicured path followed by a descending stone staircase brought me to the Cranford Rose Garden which was first opened in 1928. In the month of June, the rose garden is in full swing with a captivating perfume in the air every which where. Some blossoms had notes of jasmin and even coconut! The bees were busy and I was in the right place at the right time as one can see in the photos below.




Rose clusters…



Stunning Sunsprite…and my dad’s favorite rose color.



A garden with a view.





Alba Rose, date back to the Middle Ages.
Alba Rose, dates back to the Middle Ages.



Ciao for now, rose garden, at least until the next season.




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