Dad’s White Rose

Our family’s favorite story.

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Dad flower gardened with enthusiasm and curiosity. It didn’t matter if plants were pass-alongs, came from purchased seed, or were just happy accidents—he enjoyed them all.

Dad’s color blindness made for some entertaining combinations. Cosmos clashed with zinnias, and orange marigolds shot up everywhere. But his real passion was roses.

One day he bought a sad little twig labeled “White Rose” from a bargain bin. The plant turned out to be a vigorous climber, and its blooms were large and strikingly fragrant. Whenever we had to move (Dad was a military man), he could never leave that rose behind. So it came to Wisconsin, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The bush was so delighted by its spot beside the Tennessee house that it would sprawl—and bloom—over a third of the roof by the time Dad would cut it back for Winter.

When it was time to leave Tennessee, it was August, and Dad’s rose was in full bloom. Even he had to admit the bush couldn’t come with us this time. He wrote detailed instructions for its care so the next resident could enjoy it as much as we had. As we sat in the driveway for the last time, looking at the house with roses falling across the bedroom windows, Dad said, “I’m going to miss her. She’s the most spectacular white rose I ever had.”

We all agreed. No one had the heart to tell him it was pink.

This article was published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #106.


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