An Unusual Companion

When we moved into this house, several years ago, there were still a few flowers and bushes in the neglected beds, including a clematis and two climbing roses along the east side of the house.  To tell the truth, I was excited because my husband has never been a fan of vines of any kind.  Thus, I had always purchased non-climbing plants, but these! These were a free pass.  Already here, already growing.

Each summer, both roses bloom once, as old-fashioned roses usually do.  These days of ‘reblooming’ plants are thrilling but decidedly new.  The red rose puts on a pretty show of small, tightly ruffled blooms held in clusters of five to seven.  Once it finishes blooming, the blossoms morph into rose hips, and the plant throws up gigantic canes-to-nowhere.  It is not unusual for new canes to suddenly rise seven, nine, twelve feet into the sky.  Each fall, I trim these canes back to match the height of the rest of the rose bush and await the following June when the rose will bloom again.

Except for this year.  I cannot tell you whether it was weather, work, or just other priorities, but there were several gardening tasks that I did not accomplish this past fall.  Cutting back the monster canes on this rose bush was one of them.  Little did I know that the canes were poised to become long, scary noisemakers.  Under their own weight, the canes have bent toward the house and now spend their time scratching, scraping, and grating against the window and siding.  A spooky sound as I am writing or reading, immersed in words, “Eeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkk” disturbs the calm.  Once, while I was vacuuming, a cane scraped with a high pitched noise I had not heard before, almost a shriek, that caused me to jump out of my skin and turn off the vacuum, certain that death was near.

I told myself that once the weather warmed, even for just a day, I would trim the canes enough that they could no longer touch the house.  Today was unseasonably warm, close to 50º and yet I found that I did not wish to cut the canes.  Their scraping and shrieking have kept me company in solitude and besides, who doesn’t like to leave their skin once in a while?


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