Dead heading a rose bush… and the peace it brought.

IMG_2490My father passed away a few months ago.

I miss his voice. I miss his laugh.

He was never one for deep philosophic advice. He was more the knee jerk reaction kind of a guy.

I never went to him for life changing advice but I could always count on his love and his fierce protection of me.

His upbringing was terrible. He was battered as a small child by his step-father and his mother because he was a child of illicit love.

His mere existence in everyone’s eyes was proof of infidelity by his then unwed mother.

He grew into a fine upstanding man who worked his fingers to the bone and who taught himself to be a master gardener. His teacher was my maternal grandfather.

My father would putter around his small and exquisite garden after his retirement and his meticulous care of orchids was visible to the whole neighborhood.

People from miles around would come to the gate to ask him questions about care and feeding of these rain forests wonders.

He was always generous with his knowledge and would most often give a “piece” of a plant for planting in the inquiring strangers garden. If he spoke to a person just one time, he referred to them as his friend. He never met a stranger. I get that ability from him.

He also taught me a thing or two about the garden, but mainly about roses.

When my kids were very small he would visit for months at a time and he would spend hours at the garden store buying every potion and tool his heart desired and he would use those potions and tools to make my garden the most beautiful on the street.

I did not appreciate it as much as I should have. I did not realize then, as a frazzled young wife and mother that his life would end and that his knowledge would be lost. This I regret.

What I do not regret, however, is the lessons on “dead heading the rose bushes” that he gave me.

He would take his oiled nippers and carefully cut off all the spent roses on the bush and he was so happy to do it. It drove him crazy to see dead roses hanging around.

He told me that the roots would be able to feed the rest of the bush in better ways. I believed.

I was always too busy to do this dead heading myself. Over the years my rose bushes looked like a forgotten garden in an expired fairy tale. Something a decrepit old witch might be proud of….nothing royal about them at all.

Last week, however, as I was doing a silent barefoot walking meditation on dew strewn grass I looked over at the rose bushes and saw all the dead heads. I was ashamed. If my father was still here, he would not have stood for this at all.

So I went inside, found an old rusty pair of nippers and began to dead head the bushes.

I felt energized.

I felt his presence.

I felt that he was proud of me.

I felt like a princess, his princess and I was making these bushes fit for a royal garden.

As I worked, I could hear his voice in my head say, “Dran, be careful you don’t step on the pickers.” He never called them thorns.

The memory made me smile.

I could hear his voice guiding my rusty nippers to get the one in the way back and as I reached over the height of the bush I could hear him say, ” Dran, be careful of the pickers.”

How can I use this aged lesson of dead heading and being careful of the pickers in my life beyond rose bushes?

I can think of a few things….

  • I can remove what no longer serves my life.
  • I can stop my life force from being drained by continuing to invest resources into things I no longer want.
  • I can allow the new buds to receive all my love and attention, as I allow the dead heads to fall away.
  • As for being careful of the pickers, this lesson is easier….I can stay away from toxic and harmful situations and people.

I offer these lessons to you as you begin to wander around your life garden. I encourage you to remove what no longer serves you and to be aware of the “pickers.”


Love and light,


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