By Upendra Mishra
WESTON, MA—When it comes to flowers, I just go to roses. Filled with a variety of fragrances, colors, shades, shapes, sizes and texture, they make romance come alive. They radiate beauty, grace, elegance, peace and happiness.
When I was growing up in my remote north Indian village, there was a big and tall bush of rose plant. Flowers were small, pink and the fragrance was intense. I can still smell them. That is how my journey with roses started.
Later, as I went to various Indian cities for my higher studies, I saw some more varieties and colors of roses. Sometimes, I will buy some cool rose plants and bring them to my village during the holidays, and plant them. Roses fascinated me. Maybe they are in my genes. My grandfather was a vivid gardener (but most grew fresh vegetables.) My father loved all sorts of plants (fruits, bushes and flowers.) Sometimes when he visited the village from his work during holidays, he will bring some plants and I will help him plant them.
When I left India in 1984, gardening took a back seat in my life as I lived in the heart of Mexico City in Mexico. There was just an apartment and not even a terrace, but I kept some indoor plants, though. It was only when I moved to Boston in 1992, my interest in roses began again. First, I thought you could not grow roses in this cold weather, but then I visited a fried who had planted many bushes of roses and I was again bitten by the gardening bug—I should rather say rose bug.
When we bought our home in Weston, I was fascinated by the land and I remember I had ordered about 50 plants of roses to plant. When the plants arrived for planting, I got into a terrible car accident. The air bag broke and it released some sort of chemical which made me completely blind for about a week. I could not see anything. My vision slowly recovered, but my friend helped me plant those roses.
The roses did great for the first two years, and then then a family of deer smelled the roses and they ate them all the way. I was heart broken and very disappointed. Years later, I learned about the eating behavior of deer and started to plant roses in spaces that were safer from deer and rabbits (they love roses, too.)
I must say my rose journey has been mesmerizing. Now, I grow more variety of roses than I could have ever imagined in India. Because the colder climate here, the blooming season is longer (from May through October). There are obviously smaller size of flowers and less blooms during warm months of July and August, but as the weather gets colder, the size and bloom get bigger and plenty here. During the winter, rose plants go dormant during the winter and come roaring back after the snow is gone.
Roses need some pruning, feeding and watering (they are always hungry and thirsty), but once you take care of them, they literally transport you to rose heaven.
Here are some roses flowers from the Mishra Rose Garden from this year. I have also tried to name them—in case you like their color and shape and may be interested in planting them in your own back or front yard—to have a little piece of romance in your backyard. The best time to plant roses is early spring; and if you really want them to be established and healthy and survive, prepare their space in fall—at least dig the hole.
Here are some from The Mishra Rose Garden:
Smok ‘n Hot
(Mr. Mishra is managing partner of the Waltham, MA-based integrated inbound marketing and PR firm The Mishra Group. He writes about his three passions: marketing, scriptures and gardening.)