The Gardener and the Wild Rose

A gardener was walking in the woods one September day when he stumbled over a branch that had grown across his path. ".What is this?" he asked himself. ""Why, it looks like a rose bush growing wild among the evergreens and underbrush," he said. Upon closer inspection he noticed many of the leaves on the wild rose bush had turned brown. The forest floor surrounding the wild rose was littered with dried, wilted rose pedals. Obviously, the rose bush had suffered serious damage from an unexpected freeze that came in late May, he thought.

The gardener looked at the rose bush and imagined her in full bloom; how beautiful she must have been. He imagined her full rose blossoms with dewy, soft pedals in rich, vibrant colors. He could almost smell her sweet, delicate, fresh fragrance carried on a breeze as it danced its way through the pines. He wanted to save the young rose bush, still in shock from the wintry blast months earlier. He wanted the wild rose bush to live with him in his garden.

Although the gardener had not cared for a wild rose before, he was a good gardener. Besides, he thought, the wild rose would certainly fair better with me than if she were left alone in the forest in her present condition. The gardener left the forest and returned a short time later with a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

The gardener began digging in the soil surrounding the rose bush. He was careful not to cause further damage to the wild rose, for he realized her delicate condition. The gardener worked very hard; perspiration gathered on his forehead and his breathing became labored. The warmth of his breath on her leaves and his strong, gentle hands on her branches awoke the wild rose from her frozen slumber. He gently placed her in the wheelbarrow and, together, they began the journey back to his garden.

The gardener found the perfect place in his garden to plant his wild rose. He prepared the soil, adding a bone-meal fertilizer with just the right amount of nitrogen and phosphorous. After transplanting his wild rose, he watered her thirsty roots. The gardener tied strings to her branches for support and attached the strings to strong sticks placed in the ground around the rose bush. Rescuing the rose and tending to her needs made the gardener feel good. The wild rose, grateful that the gardener had rescued her, wanted to please him.

Everyday the gardener would go to his garden to tend to his wild rose. He gave her water when she was thirsty and made sure that the support strings were secure. The gardener looked forward to Spring. His wild rose would be in full bloom and that, he thought, will prove that I am a master gardener.

The wild rose looked forward to the gardener's daily visits and waited patiently for him in the garden. She tried to straighten her tangled branches and look lovely for him. Though she was still very weak from her chilly coma, she wanted to recover quickly and be in full bloom when Spring arrived. This will make the gardener happy, she thought Then he will know how much I love him and appreciate him for rescuing me.

In January, the gardener came to the garden and told the wild rose that he had to go away and was not certain when he would return. The wild rose was sad and began to weep. The rose, who had become dependent on the gardener's care, was frightened. "But who will tend to my needs?!" she cried.

The gardener reminded the wild rose that he was a master gardener and that he had carefully prepared the sod with the right amount of nitrogen and phosphorous. He checked the strings, tied to her branches for support, to make sure they were secure. The gardener said that he would leave the water running from the garden hose so that the rose could drink whenever she was thirsty. "'I must go now," he said.

The wild rose tried to straighten her branches and look lovely for the gardener, but she was very sad. She would miss the gardener and his daily visits to the garden.

Winter came to the garden. The rose was lonely and afraid. Not yet recovered from last year's freeze, she was afraid that she could not survive another frost. Without the shelter of the forest or the gardener to care for her, the rose felt exposed and vulnerable to the elements. In an effort to protect and defend herself, the wild rose developed a shield of armor. She grew large, sharp thorns on branches that eventually became tough and callused.

Days, weeks, even months had passed and still the gardener had not returned to his garden or to the wild rose. Her buds, full of the promise of beautiful blossoms, could not break through the tough calluses on her branches. She would not bloom this Spring.

Then, one day in May, the gardener returned home. He raced to the garden, eager to see his wild rose in bloom. He stumbled over one of her branches and her thorns pierced his flesh. "Ouch!" he yelled. "Why did you hurt me, my beloved rose?"

"Oh gardener! I am so happy that you have returned! Please sit with me in the garden; I have missed you so!" she cried.

The gardener looked around his garden. "What happened to all my hard work?" he asked himself. "And what happened to my wild rose?" The gardener expected to see her beautifully colored rose blossoms, instead, all he saw were her piercing thorns. He left the garden disheartened.

The next day the gardener returned to the garden to tend to the wild rose, but he could not avoid her jagged thorns. Tired, hurt and sad, he left the garden. As each day passed, he spent less and less time in the garden. The rose was very sad. She did not mean to hurt the gardener with her thorns. She tried to straighten her branches the way he liked, but they had grown so tough and heavy, she could not manage them.

The gardener began to resent rescuing the wild rose and bringing her to his garden.

The wild rose began to resent the gardener for rescuing her and bringing her to his garden.

Eventually, the wild rose asked the gardener to take her back to the forest - and so he did.

Years have passed and now the wild rose lives happily in the forest. She often thinks of the gardener and what she learned during her time in his garden. She learned the difference between being loved and being rescued. She learned that she can weather the most bitter Winter frost and survive. She learned that the best support comes from her friends and family in the forest and from God - not from strings. She learned that she can be strong without being tough and callused. The rose keeps a few thorns to remind herself that she is not defenseless when she is alone.

The wild rose blossoms each season and she is beautiful.

 

by Colleen G.