This is how blue the sky

This is how blue the sky.jpg

This weekend my husband and I spent an afternoon at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We sought its quiet, space, and natural beauty as a balm for a disappointment the week had delivered. In a mown field, alongside progressively bare Russian Pea Shrubs and just across the road from Ponderosa Pines, we spread a blanket and sat. Earlier we had taken a ride on the tram, which runs a three-mile circuit through the property. The tram driver doubles as a tour guide and calls his riders' attention to this and that along the way.

That day, through his microphone, he kept returning to some mention of the roses. In the Arboretum's rose garden, the traditional rose bushes were now being tied up and tipped, using the "Minnesota Tip Method," in preparation for the winter. Volunteers tie each bush with twine into a single narrow stalk as if they were going to slide a tube over it. Then they dig a trench, with a length equivalent to the bush's height, extending perpendicular to the bush, and bend the bush at its roots into the trench. Finally, they cover the bush, now laid flat, with dirt and leaves to wait for Spring when volunteers will then untip the roses, reversing the process.

In contrast, the driver/tour guide told us, were the shrub roses. These roses, developed by the University, had no need for protection but would bloom until Fall's bitter end, fuchsia and scarlet petals nearly daring the cold to come and cover them. In the Spring they would revive on their own, still standing.

Not being a botanist or even a good gardener, the reason for these different postures of waiting and withstanding among roses is unknowable to me, yet blooms come again regardless. This picture is how blue the sky was when viewed from the field looking up.