A rose is a rose, wherever it grows

I planted the rosebush in the wrong place. I admit it. A climbing rose sharing a planter with chrysanthemums looked decidedly odd. To make matters worse, its outstretched arms blocked our path from the house to the patio, posing a threat to pant legs, sleeves, and unprotected flesh. It was definitely the wrong location for a rosebush.

In my defense, it wasn't a bush when I planted it. Having completed my pruning chores one afternoon, I was dumping the clippings in the trash when a neighbor came over to visit. An avid gardener himself, he suggested I try rooting some of the twigs I was throwing away.

I didn't really want another rosebush, but in an effort to humor him I pulled a branch out of the trash and stuck it into the nearest available dirt - a waist-high brick planter.

In addition to having loose soil, the planter had an incontestable advantage over any other location: I didn't have to bend over to reach it.

Something about its unusual location must have agreed with that twig, because in a few weeks it began shooting branches at us in all directions. Each time I clipped it into submission, I promised it a new location - as soon as the weather was right. As soon as I had the time. As soon as ... whatever.

A year later, our planter was still harboring its renegade resident. That spring, I finally donned my garden gloves, located a shovel, and had just set out to find a new home for the rosebush when I noticed it was beginning to develop its first buds. Since my curiosity far outweighed my resolution, I decided to wait and see if it would reproduce the same color blooms as the parent plant before taking the risk of moving it.

That March we were treated to a profusion of peach-colored blossoms that lasted through April into May. When they faded, I once again got out the gardening tools. This time I meant business.

As i considered relocation sites, I found myself remembering those beautiful roses that peeked into view through our family-room windows. If the bush had been at ground level, would we have seen them? If its tentacles hadn't stretched across our path, would we have fully appreciated all the blooms? How often did we take time to walk into the backyard to enjoy the roses planted in "suitable" locations?

This little misfit had certainly given us more pleasure than any of its properly situated relations.

I put the shovel away.

As long as we lived in that house, the rosebush stayed in the planter. Each spring we eagerly anticipated its first blooms and thoroughly enjoyed the profusion of flowers it offered us.

The wrong place? Maybe. The best place? Definitely.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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