A Little Color on a Dreary Day

It has been unseasonably cold the past few days.  I’ve been a little under the weather anyways and this dark, chilly day makes me want to take some more NyQuil and go back to bed.

I had to go outside to feed the chickens and get the mail, so Ava and I stopped to smell the roses (and pick some strawberries) along the way. 

These are a few shots of what is still in bloom in my garden this early October.  Knowing that winter is on its way, I’m going to try to appreciate all this color while I still can!  Two more weeks and we’ll be looking for our first frost…

Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.

Tomorrow will mark two years since my husband’s father went to be with Jesus.  He was always one to stop and smell the roses and encouraged others to do the same.  You can see pictures of some of his famous roses and read the tribute I wrote for him last year here.  I hate that my daughter wasn’t old enough to get to know him.  He was really an amazing person and more like a father to me than an “in-law”.

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A tribute to my father-in-law and his roses.

Today is the one year anniversary of my husband’s father passing.  I wanted to post some pictures of his famous roses in his honor.  At the time of his death he was maintaining 67 rose bushes planted on the hillside behind his house.  He was one of the most amazing greenthumbs I’ve ever known and it is a tremendous loss to me to no longer have him around and his garden wisdom.

He was a retired coal miner, school bus driver, former boxer and Vietnam Vet.  To look at him, you would never guess what a love he had for flowers, roses in particular. 

He tended to his roses almost daily, cutting blooms every other day to keep them prolific.  He did not like to use sprays on his roses because he wanted you to be able to smell them without burying your nose in pesticides.  He faithfully picked japanese beetles by hand. 

While he had many beautiful varieties of floribundas,  grandifloras and hybrid teas, what he valued most in a rose was its scent.  And it was his joy to give them away!  He was known around town for his roses and made many a lady’s day by unexpectedly presenting her with a bouquet.  He’d give them to the nurses in the doctor’s offices, which he frequented often because of his health problems and melted the icy hearts of many a receptionist at the VA clinics.

This was a hobby he took up as he was recovering from a brainstem stroke suffered at the young age of 50.  It is known now that his exposure to Agent Orange is linked to stroke.  He was such a big, strong, bear of a man and his doctors believe that his exceptional health at the time, in addition to early detection allowed him to survive this kind of stroke when most die from it.

This time last year, after a successful week of ginseng hunting, he went to bed, had another stroke in his sleep and was gone.  He had made an amazing recovery from the first stroke, but we knew the threat of another was always there.  But we never expected to lose him so soon.  He was only 57 years old.

We still have his rose garden to help keep his memory blooming in our hearts.  My brother-in-law does his best to give it the care it deserves.

Here are a few shots of his roses from a couple years ago.  I used these to make coasters for Christmas presents one year.  My mother-in-law has commissioned me to make 7 more to give in memorial to his close family and friends.

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