Gather Ye Rosebuds

One thing I love about living in Florida is that there’s such a long growing season. I don’t think things actually stop growing, to be honest. I miss growing daffodils and tulips as I did in New England, but having a front yard full of year-round roses compensates for a good deal. I can’t begin to explain how nice it is to have roses that survive my care (or lack thereof). I snip off the dead roses and branches once in a while, water them if it hasn’t rained in a couple days, and that’s it. Most of the flowers pictured are from my own yard, with a few that I see on my evening walk. The Knockout Roses are the hardiest and most prolific, though they have a disappointingly slight fragrance. The Hybrid Tea Roses are slow-blooming, but the fragrance smells wonderfully like the kind of hand cream you find in a gift shop that caters to old ladies. Old ladies know how to live, because that stuff smells delicious.

Besides six rosebushes, I’m also growing two bougainvillea vines that remind me of me and my husband’s honeymoon in Catalina Island (glorious bougainvillea vines weighing down chain link fences everywhere you look), two jasmine vines that can’t decide whether to live or die, two azalea bushes that are looking pretty melancholy because they need fertilizer and water, thriving asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, but the butterflies are ignoring them), tall, proud hollyhocks that will be blooming in a few weeks, marigolds, and dozens of morning glories that my husband keeps mowing over. I need to put them in pots until they’re big enough to hold their own. There are also one or two three-foot-tall dandelions. There’s something bold and rakish about them that I admire. It seems a shame to pull them now that they’ve gone on for so long. So I won’t.