My garden is a beastly thing in Spring. The roses, especially, transform into stretch-armed monsters that terrorize small children on their way to preschool(sorry about that, Ashli). I’ve always been more of an English gardener than a French one– graceful natural beds intrigue me more than orderly rows of annuals– but even chaos needs some order.

Pruning roses is my job. They are my loves, my pretties; I call them by name and I know the cuts that ensure a green strong bush and the brightest blooms. It pains me to sever those long branches already leaved out and fighting for buds. But the bushes will grow weak and subject to disease without pruning; as will I.

Thorns gouge my arms into a grid of red welts, one catches me on the forehead and leaves a garish bloody stream into my hairline.



Mary breaks my musings with a rake in hand and chickens at her feet (they stunk themselves out of my bathroom and are living in a grapefruit box in the garage). Alternating between strains and giggles she clears the center and chats a cheerful stream of nothing. Xander and Stefan toss silly puns back and forth as they assist with the hateful job of chopping the branches and stuffing them in the garbage can

Soon it’s a party– 13 boys bouncing and rolling in my backyard; admiring the chickens and soaking in Spring sunshine.

You’ve seen the old ‘rabbit ears’ trick in photos– how about chicken head?

Teenage chickens are supposed to be ugly, but we still find them charming.


Toppling from the swing, Mary sobs and Stefan beats me to her rescue. A mama cuddles, but a brother tickles and bounces and replaces tears with laughter.

I drop my clippers for the camera and admire my life pruned down to all that matters.



  1. Selwyn

    April 19, 2010


    I’m counting down the weeks to seeing your garden, your kiddos and yourself in person… there are so many thorny tangles to get through first!

    Just beautiful, as always. L,SK

  2. Sue

    April 19, 2010

    “…watching your life pruned down to all that matters.”

    I love it.


    PS. And I love big brothers, too.

  3. 佳穎

    April 19, 2010

    cool blog,期待更新........................................

  4. Kerri

    April 20, 2010

    I thought about your pruning analogy long and hard as I spent some hours in the yard pruning my bushes. Pruning? No…Massacring. I am as far from a master gardener as could be. I was surprised at how many branches I had to cut away, how many cuts I had to inflict, to get those bushes into shape. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that pruning hurts so much in my own life. It’s not a little twig here and there that need to go…more like big huge limbs all over the place.

    Good thoughts. I guess it’s spring in my life and the Master Gardener is turning his hand to shaping me, too.

    Oh…and I have 2 sisters, 16 and 22 years younger than I am, and 6 brothers, 3 of whom have given me fantastic sisters-in-law.

    And yes please, let’s plan a future get-together. Maybe if I do some more speed work we could even run sometime.

  5. Lydia

    April 21, 2010

    nice blog & good post. You have beautifully maintained it, you must try this website which really helps to increase your traffic. hope u have a wonderful day & awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

Comments are closed.