Care and Feeding of Roses: Not Your Everyday Garden Guide

David Austin Lady of Shalott rose. I love, love, love it!

Do you want to bloom? Reach your peak? Do you want passersby to stop and admire those showy blooms and drink in that intoxicating fragrance? It all begins with proper care and feeding.

That’s right. Authors are like rose bushes, roots dug deep into the ground, a channel of endless potential that can go either way. Beautifully bloomed or bug ridden and burned out.

It’s taken me a long while to adopt this love of rose growing and quoting aphorisms like my mother. But while times change, people don’t. You are what you eat. You do get what you put in.

So authors, please, while our focus may be on that showy novel that delivers everything a reader could want while challenging the market to adopt our unique color, keep the basics in mind.

Try sleeping like a baby — take naps when you need them!
  • Get sleep: Roses don’t produce blooms 24/7. To everything there is a season. Exhausted people can’t write, not their best material. Cranky people DO notice flaws, even those that aren’t there. (The hamster wheel from hell.) So set a schedule to give your mind (your muse) the rest needed to meet demand.
  • Eat: Rose growers fertilize their plants for peak production. A projected 151 BILLION USD will be spent on soil enrichment in 2020. That figure includes far more than rose fertilizer, but you get the idea? If you want results, feed the team. That’s YOU. And I’m not talking caffeine and Cocoa Puffs.
The SUN is our friend!
  • Get plenty of sunshine: Roses need light and heat to produce blooms. Human beings need sunshine to produce Vitamin D. Depression, bone loss and back pain, muscle pain and fatigue are some of the lovelies that may visit those who disregard this basic need.
  • Drink water: Roses need water and so do humans. And while caffeine is my go to for energy, the side effects of premature wilting are all too real. Counter that caffeine with untainted H20. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll look better, too.
I missed spraying this poor bud and LOOK what happened!!
  • Spray for BUGS: Beautiful roses often attract unwanted visitors, diners that will make a meal of your beautiful bushes. So if you find yourself visited by gnats of doubt, indecision, excessive criticism, please, don’t wait to pull out the big guns. Waiting to attack these issues is like letting a nest of aphids go unchallenged. Yes, the aphids need to eat, but if you let them get a taste for your roses, they’ll never leave. And you’ll be left with a blossoming cautionary tale. So when doldrums strike, recognize, resist, and redirect.
  • PRUNE: Roses are lovely, but wild branches that snag you on the sidewalk aren’t so much. Runway projects that take a writer away from what’s important are a nuisance, too. So reassess on a regular basis. Target extraneous clutter. Look seriously at those items sucking time and energy and ask yourself if they’re worth keeping. If not, cut them out. You’ll grow stronger!
Not my garden — yet! But maybe someday.
  • ENJOY yourself. Roses and other flowers can’t talk. But if they did, I can’t help but think they’d glory in the beauty of existing, especially among their fellows. Talk about flower POWER. So find your tribe and have fun. It’s good medicine.

Write on!


4 thoughts on “Care and Feeding of Roses: Not Your Everyday Garden Guide”

  1. Love your roses and the comparison to writers. Once upon a time you gave me a number of African violets and I did my best with them for many years. Still not sure what happened, but the ones I brought to Maine with me didn’t like the move either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were kind to take those violets, Di. I do love growing things and when I have to leave them — move again — it hurts. So thanks again for providing my babies a home. That said, I’m not sure I’d do well in Maine. Rugged country there. But with a ready supply of your heart-melting romances and a full fridge, I may tuck in well in snow season ;^)


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