I’m still laughing as I write to you today, about the punchline in today’s piece, Dad’s White Rose from Leslie Hanks. When I think about some of our best submissions on gardening humor, I think about the raised bed that turned into a septic tank, and I think about the person who dug up his Azaleas because they didn’t grow, and it turns out that they were dwarf Azaleas. But for one of my favorite chuckles, this story comes to the top of my mind.
I think it’s because I am, as I’m sure we all are, familiar with wanting to protect our families, particularly from embarrassment, and even when it’s really funny. A childhood friend of mine always used to remark that cucumbers looked a lot like pickles, and it took years before we finally let her know how pickles were made.
So when Leslie shares the story of her father, who is color-blind, and the love of his roses, I already like him, and, well, read the article below and you’ll see what made me chuckle.
In This Gardening Humor Story, No One Had the Heart to Tell Him…
This gardening humor story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject gardening humor into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
Dad’s White Rose
Our family’s favorite story.
By Leslie Hanks
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 a 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. ❖
By Leslie Hanks, published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #106. Illustrations by Dena Seiferling.
Did you enjoy this gardening humor story? Leave a comment and let me know.