The Tim-tales 2: Gardening on a hillside




Hello. My name is Tim. And I am a rose-aholic.

Chorus of: ‘Hi, Tim!!’

I garden on a hillside. In order to do so, we have carved out some seven terraces or so along the incline of the hill. Some people think this is because the roses resent growing at odd angles to the earth; others are convinced that the rationale is to increase the area devoted to roses; my cardiologist thinks it is to provide rest stations along the declension.
Actually, my brother-in-law is a contractor.

People who grow roses on hillsides either have really good calves or they are efficient gardeners. I have really well developed calves. There are many recommendations as to how to cope with the fact that whatever tool you need is located on the terrace farthest from your present location. My friend, Old Vinny Mueslix, strews things like plastic measuring spoons on every possible surface so it is there when he wants one. Of course, he also strews them in the church collection plate, the return box at the video store, and the plate for tips for the waitress at Denny’s. And the prospect of stashing 7 sets of Felcos along the terraces and rest stations kind of stretches the rose budget a little thin, not to mention providing negative evidence for my competency hearing.

My friend Ingrid has put mailboxes on alternate terraces where she places duplicates of pruning shears, hand trowels, ripsaws, measurers, and fertilizers. Of course, she is now placing outgoing mail in these boxes as well, which complicates matters considerably. The best solution is just to make sure that you always carry your pruning clippers, a trowel, and a plastic bag with you wherever you go. It also helps when you are walking the dog.

Growing roses on a hillside also teaches you that ‘less is more.’ Schlepping 15 gallon squats up a hillside means that you won’t have as many roses as you will have herniated disks. And you have a smaller margin of error. I mean, once you plant ‘Montecito’ or ‘Lady Banks’ on a hillside, your chances of moving it are close to the Cubs’ chances of being in the World Series any time soon. And you have to beware of Austins which abroad are well behaved little English misses; in my yard, they seem to have taken on the character of Rubenesque sluts. Of course, if your hillside is below you, you can always enjoy the Austin blooms on the second or third story deck.

Now that I am retired, roses comprise the major portion of my life, except for annoying letters from my children asking for loans or character references. But I try to maintain a balance between the blood I give at the Red Cross and the blood I give to my roses. I stopped giving my roses my tetracycline prescription because the side effects made them sensitive to sunlight; but I had to use it up before the expiration date.

New rose society members are always asking me things like which roses are the best or the most fragrant. I don’t really know the answers to these questions; I haven’t been able to smell a rose in twenty years, even when I was judging the most fragrant class. So I always tell them to look for the ‘Honeysuckle Rose,’ hybridized by ‘Fats’ Waller and Andy Razaf. It keeps them out of what is left of my hair for quite a while. Otherwise, I just pretend I can’t hear them.

By the way, did I mention that I hate ‘Show and Tell’ at the monthly meetings?

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