I was up on a ladder, in my garden, trimming a rose bush when my friend Annie came over to visit. Looking up at me, then the rose bush she said, "How I wish I were up on that ladder! What a pleasure it would be to aid spring!"
"Annie!" I greeted her, "I was just saying to myself, God, I wish Annie were here to help me!"
Annie said, "You should pray for something serious, because you have his ear!" With that
I jumped down from the ladder, and hugged her.
Eagle-eyed Annie sees things with years of experience and gives her wisdom from a gentle heart. She advised me which off shots to cut, what branches to trim and in the middle of it all, recited her recipe for rose jam.
As I started to sweep the rose clippings in a pile, Annie bent down and picked up a few branches.
"We could plant these you know. Do you have a hammer?"
"A hammer? You mean a shovel?"
"No, a hammer, we need to smash the ends. Do you have a hammer, and we will need wheat seeds too."
A hammer and wheat seeds? Who would have guessed that is how one plants roses clippings?
Annie has a ton of her mother's secrets about gardening, cooking, sewing, baking, wine-making and a million other household tricks up her sleeve. I thank my lucky stars that she remembers everything in such detail to share it with me.
I gave her a hammer. Unfortunately, I didn't have any wheat seeds on hand, though I had rice grain and offered that instead..
"No, rice won't work, but we can use our hair instead." She said.
"Our hair?" Certainly, I had misunderstood her French.
"Yes, we need something to aid the rose trimmings to root. You'll see."
Under her guidance I trimmed the rose clippings, taking off the old leaves and leaving one or two new shoots per branch. Each trimming was about eight inches long. As long as it had a new shoot it was could be used. Annie smashed one end with the hammer. Then we plucked out two to three strands of hair from our head. Then Annie put the hair strands in the smashed part of the trimming, then pinching it so it wouldn't slip out, she wrapped the other ends of hair, around and around the trimming. Afterwards, she poked the hair wrapped, rose trimmed, branch end into the moisten dirt, about two inches deep.
Annie says that this method helps the rose trimmings root easier, given them a better chance of survival. She did say that for every five rose shoots, maybe one will actually take.
"Annie, I wonder if my dyed blond hair will turn the red roses white?" I laughed.
"Only the hairdresser in the sky knows for sure." She smiled as she pulled out a few more strands of my hair. Then added, "Though, if your neighbors are watching us, they'll think we are crazy old ladies!"
Photos of My Annie who is nearly 90 years old and is going strong.
Note: The wheat grain or lentil is shoved up into the smashed part of the rose stem. Then planted about two inches deep into moist soil; The wheat or lentil sprouts faster, and therefor aids the rose trimming to root easier.