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I completely change my rose care routine after my latest discovery

Like many, I initially got into rose gardening because of the beauty of the roses and the hope/desire to de-stress from daily life with this new hobby. Little did I knew, gardening was much more than that. It's very therapeutic, yet can be stressful (depending on what expectations we set upfront).

**All photos in this blog show how my roses look after 3 weeks without care. I was gone at the end of April to mid-May when temp started to rise above 80F in TX. My family only watered 2 times for me. Mother Nature took care of the rest.

After 3+ years of rose gardening, I've realized that gardening teaches and shows me so much about nature & life lessons. That includes how setting and managing our expectations result in how we feel, how we handle unexpected challenges, why it's healthier to detach from outcomes/results, self-control, staying in the present moments, and simply enjoying the process (not the end results).

To many, including myself, we can easily become stressful when dealing with external and uncontrollable factors. Pests, diseases and weather are the primary challenges in most gardening conditions. Each year is different and unpredictable.

Along my rose gardening journey, I realized that I became too worried and attached to my roses more than I knew. There's a need to be in full control and stay on top of pests, diseases, and water/fertilizing management. Not including compulsively buying more roses (does this sound familiar?).

I researched and experimented with the best fertilizers, implemented various watering and fertilizing schedules, and much more (as well as what other varieties to buy). I ended up spending way more hours caring for my roses and a lot of money in the rose related gardening with a false sense that it's better to spend money on roses than shoes, bags, unhealthy desserts or etc.

During that process, rose gardening became so important, but quite consuming amd mundane.

Just about a month ago, I had a solo trip planned to visit my family in Asia which required me to be away from my usual routine, family, and the life I knew for 3 weeks. My mom had a stroke back in Jan 2024 which you can read here.

Without drip irrigation, I was worried about roses not getting watered while I was away.

Just like that, life seemed to sprinkle a few more uncomfortable scenarios here and there to spice up our lives. My husband faced an unexpected, sudden death of an immediate family member just a few days prior to my trip which turned the world upside down for all of us. Everything was hectic and overwhelming to say the least, but my trip couldn't be postponed.

While feeling worried and uncomfortable with the unexpected situation and a long trip ahead, I proceeded with the plan to visit my mom. Life is so unpredictable, I remember what it was like a few months ago when I almost lost her forever. If there's anything I wanted to do now, do it so I don't regret later.

I loved my garden and they meant the world to me. However, at this point, they were not the top priorities compared to people that were important in my life. I couldn't bring myself to ask my husband who just lost his loved one to tend to my garden. I had to surrender and trust that everything would be okay.

I truly believe this trip and everything was fated to happen to force me to detach and let go of things.

It wasn't easy, but it could be done.

During this period of time, I had two choices: to worry about my husband, daughter and my roses for 3 whole weeks OR to spend quality time with my elderly parents whom I didn't get to see a lot.

Worrying wouldn't change any situation for the better so might as well emerge in the present moments and do what's best at the time.

During those 3 weeks, rain magically appeared 2-3 times. My husband and daughter were able to help water twice.

I had to fully rely on nature to care and do its things without my intervention.

Did I mention that two of my roses constantly had diebacks to the point that I thought they probably would die upon my return?

My husband sent photos of my roses a few times to show me how they looked. I couldn't believe my eyes how much they bloomed during those weeks I was away.

Three weeks later, I came back to my abundant garden full of life: buds, blooms, tomatoes, and green beans!! I was so shocked to see how much my roses had grown and flourished. I used to go out to remove foliages with blackspots as soon as they appeared.

This time, no one was there to deadhead spent blooms or remove infected leaves that fell to the ground, yet they're growing and blooming their heads off as if nothing could stop them.

After witnessing this, I questioned so many things about rose care that we had known/heard all these years. We have been told that roses were high maintenance and finicky plants, they also needed to be fed, watered, and treated every so often and continuously or they wouldn't perform.

However, I was surprised at how hardy and resilient they were when not receiving continuous care that I thought I needed to give them.

They thrive much better on their own (I know this could be a different story during the harsh summer months, but last July, we went on vacation for 5 days without having anyone to water them during those hot days and they all thrived as well. I watered deeply and heavily for 3 days in a row before I left).

Many varieties stayed so clean and green without blackspots. Some varieties that were prone to blackspots continue to blackspot, but they did incredibly well. The two roses that constantly had diebacks flourished and grew new canes/leaves, and even bloomed!

These past 3 years of rose gardening, I chose not to go with the traditional rose care by experimenting something entirely different (not using insecticide, fungicide, and systematic method. Also trying less and infrequent watering and fertilizing). 

Let me address this, I have nothing against the common rose care advice.

The reason I choose to go this route is due to my personal preference, certain spiritual challenges/personal growths I want to overcome, and lifestyle (and my laziness to stick to routine spraying).

If the preventative/treatment method or watering them daily work well for you continue to do what works for you and what brings you joy.

The point I am trying to get across in this post is...if at any point you can't care for your roses for whatever reason (illness, family obligations or etc). Know that your roses will be okay. Take care of what's neccessary and trust that nature will do her things. What isn't meant to be will fall away, what's meant to stay will stay.

For me personally, gardening is a teacher and a reflection of my inner journey. I experienced many traumas in life growing up which resulted in my lack of trust and I had a challenge in properly regulating/processing my emotions for over 40 years.

During the gardening years, I went from wanting to do everything right by taking control of nature to achieve the results/perfections that I wanted, to now learning to sit back, relax, feel okay, cool & calm no matter what external factors play out. It has been a long journey that unveils so many things about myself and what trajectory I want to live life moving forward.

What has gardening taught you? Do you find it hard to trust and detach?

Enjoy the journey


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