Last winter, as I written here many times, was one to remember ... or rather one I'd like to forget, Already by January 3, we began dipping into the negative numbers at night. -4° on the 3rd; -6° on the 6th; -10° on the 7th.
This pattern continued throughout the winter. On January 28, we dropped to -12°, the coldest night of the year. All told, we dropped to zero or below a dozen times. Most winters we do not see the temperature dip to zero even once.
It was one "polar vortex" after another. I spent many nights checking pipes, making sure the kerosene heaters were safely burning, watching the snow build up outside the window. It was a winter I just wanted to get over and done with.
The roses, I see now, felt the same way.
Mom had six roses. We were left with only half of them as spring arrived. A few sprouted from their base (though nothing living came from the tops of any). I dug the remainder up, checking the roots for any sign of life. There was none.
And yet as brutal as the winter had been, the remaining roses have been magnificent. Especially the Lincoln Rose.
Perfect, isn't it? There seems no deeper red in any rose. I am told these have a nice scent but I can smell nothing of significance. My sinus infections and allergies have taken that ability from me.
We have other roses blooming now, too. One is a pink rose that was here when we moved to Pinehaven twenty-seven years ago. It is a less showy rose, a little more shy and the delicate pink blooms smaller and less spectacular. Still, I give it credit for tenacity.
In the spring, I cut each rose back to its base and waited for sprouts. It was disappointing to find only these few successful. But what we have left - though Mom says the flower bed at the back of the garage is no longer balanced and that she doesn't like it at all - have flowered beyond all expectation.
Those that survive have reason to celebrate.