Arose by Any Other Name.

Russ Murray
3 min readJun 5, 2022

Day 154 / 2022 Photo Project365

This tough little rosebush, planted 15 years ago, has watched several unsuccessful attempts to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers, inside the rock-walled patch of crappy-clay-soil under its nose. It’s been nearly pulled up and replaced more than once, forgotten a few times, yet it endured, sprouting a few wild, 3–4 foot long (90–120 cm), thick stems with a few rosy blossoms each year despite our neglect. Each year, in late fall, I’d cut back the stems close to the ground so the rosebush could focus on new growth the following spring.

In spring of 2020, when COVID quarantined us at home, we decided to try lavender (apparently it does well in crappy soil) in the little patch in front of the rosebush. It was a bit of a gardening “hail Mary” pass, since all other flora had failed there while weeds prevailed. It seemed like this patch of ground was only good for weeds and one half-hearted rosebush. We planted 6–8 lavender plants, watered them well, mulched the clay patch to suppress weeds and enrich the soil. Finally, we crossed our fingers and offered up a little prayer to Mother Nature.

While we waited to see what the lavender would do in this enriched patch of clay, our little rosebush started vigorously sprouting new spring stems as expected, but I noticed there were 2–3 times more of them than in previous years! So I got a fan-shaped wire trellis and tied the stems onto it, in hopes the rosebush would look a little less wild, with a nicer shape. I also paid more attention to the rosebush, trimming off dead leaves and stems, cutting off some new growth, to see if that would help…

Well, not only did the lavender grow and flourish, much to the delight of butterflies and bees of all kinds during the summers of 2020 and 2021 — our little rosebush did too — never had it produced so many roses before! Was it the mulch-enriched soil, my attentive grooming, and/or the trellis-tethering? Not sure; probably all three, so in October 2021, instead of cutting back the skyward-reaching rosebush stems, I decided to weave and tie the best of them into big arcs and loops onto the trellis frame. I was hoping for some nice results in 2022…

Spring 2022 arrived, a little cooler than average, pushing the planting and growing season start-date to…

Russ Murray

My photographs, daft/deft words, haikus, observations, and musings.