Saturday, June 21, 2008

First Rose

I was about to turn thirteen when my parents bought their first and only house. I had lived in a lovely, old, mid-town Montreal apartment from the time I was born up until the day we moved into our new home. It was a first for us in a few ways.

My first bedroom - I no longer had to share one with my sister. Our first back yard - where I spent much of my summer days soaking up the sun. Most importantly for my Dad, for the first time we had lots of space for gardening. He no longer needed to resort to displaying window boxes on a balcony railing. He spent a great deal of his time tending to his flowers and shrubs - a hobby which he enjoyed, and at which he became quite accomplished. We had beautiful blue hydrangeas, yellow roses, daisies, petunias, pansies, marigolds, geraniums, and impatiens in bloom throughout the summer out front. Vivid sunflowers, hollyhocks and black-eyed Susans shared fragrant space with a lilac bush in the back yard.

The house next door had recently changed ownership as well, and the Portuguese family who took up residence there had three daughters. Two of them were close to me in age, and we became fast friends. The Mom tended a lovely garden of her own in their back yard where she took particular pride in her rose bushes. My Dad was impressed with her gardening ability and they could often be heard discussing soil conditions, fertilizer brands and other gardening tips.

Every summer, my friends' mother would bring my Mom their first and last roses of the season. Its beauty would brighten a room as it breathed its sweet-smelling perfume into the air. I think about my old neighbours every time I see the first rose on my own rosebush.

This one is for them.


(Click to enlarge)


73 comments:

Leah J. Utas said...

Gorgeous rose and what a beautiful shot and beautiful sentiment.

Daryl said...

Just beautiful .. a lovely memory

:-Daryl

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Magnificent flower; alo a lovely tribute to your former neighbors.

Frank Baron said...

Between the words and picture, I could very nearly smell the flowers. :)

Dianne said...

what a lovely memory and what an amazing first rose!

Momma said...

What a special gift, those first and last roses of the season. That was an incredible act of kindness.

Peace - D

MamaGeek said...

This memory is nothing short of delicious. And that flower is spec.tac.u.lar!

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much, Leah. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. :)

• Thank you, Pat. :)

• Thanks muchly, Frank. :)

• Thanks so much, Dianne. :)

• It truly was, Momma. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Mamageek. Much ap.pre.ci.a.ted! :)

Kathryn said...

That is a lovely story to go along with a beautiful photo!

david mcmahon said...

Beautiful tribute. I like the sound of your Dad - I grow roses too, all of which I planted with our kids.

Kappa no He said...

Great lighting on that! I'm with Frank, I can practically smell them. Yum!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Stunning.

Brightened my morning!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

A beautiful story and stunning rose to follow! I love the drops of moisture. Very well done!!

Kerri said...

Wow Hilary...this is an amazing capture! Love those little water drops on it!
And what happy memories you share with us!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I have a childhood rose story too!

Our bachelor Canadian neighbor hated tending his yard and would only mow it to keep the Homeowners Association off his back. He inherited a whole row of gorgeous roses planted along his house and he NEVER took care of them and yet they grew stunningly beautiful. Meanwhile my mom used every trick in the book to get her roses to grow including singing to them, Seriously. And yet they always drooped and failed to thrive.

I guess our neighbors roses had grown to be independent and weren't coddled like my mom's snobbish ones. :)

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I LOVE that color on the rose, by the way. So much prettier than standard red. :)

Suldog said...

That's lovely. The rose bush in our backyard bloomed about three weeks ago, and I get to see the beauty every morning when I go to my car. Nice little bit of beauty to start the day!

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - wonderful memories, and that rose is gorgeous! Love the colour. My rose bush hasn't yet bloomed, but should any day now. Of course, I'll never get as great a photo of the blossoms as you would. So you'll have to come to Alberta to photograph my roses. Hey, that's a good idea, eh?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Of course it's gorgeous. And when I enlarged it, there's a rosebud right next to the blooming flower. Perfect for the first and last rose in your story.

Mark Salinas said...

Very nice!

Carolyn said...

Beauty. The lighting is devine. And I just love the colour. Awesome! Thanks for stopping by my blog too.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Kathryn. I'm glad you stopped by. :)

• Thanks, David. No doubt that's something your kids will always remember. You would indeed like my Dad.. he's the one that taught me all I know about puns.. ;)

• Thank you, Kappa. They do smell wonderful. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Crabby. I'm glad it did. :)

• Thank you, Michele. It was taken shortly after a light rainfall. :)

• Thanks so much, Kerri. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks, EWBL. I have to laugh about the image of your Mom singing to her roses. Every year people "remind" me to cut my rose bush way back so it will bloom well the next summer. Every year I do that.. except for this time. Now I have more roses than ever. So perhaps less really is more. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Sully. It sure is a sight for sore eyes to see them in bloom each day. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Baggie. I'd say "don't sell yourself short" and I'd mean it.. but a visit out west would be too fun to resist.. Steak for dinner? ;)

• Thanks so much for your kind words, Jenn. :)

• Thank you, Mark. :)

• Thanks, Carolyn. Much appreciated. :)

Reb said...

Wow, what a great memory. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

That rose photo is stunning! I love the colour, the lighting...it is beautiful.

Carver said...

That's a beautiful rose and I enjoyed reading your well written post. Thank you for visiting my site and commenting. That was the same birdbath as the one on my other site.

Latin Lupe Lu said...

What beautiful memories Hilary! Do you still keep in contact with those girls (women now) from next door? Do you still live in that same area?

Missicat said...

What a beautiful rose! And a great memory...I love love love roses. My father, who also loved gardening, would get gardening magazines and I would pore over the rose section...

Sandpiper said...

This is absolutely gorgeous. The light on it is stunning. I love the color.

Tink said...

I love that, the first AND the last rose. Those are true friends.

the Bag Lady said...

Hey, for you, I'd even cook prime rib! (And we'd have to have pizza and bread cooked in the outdoor oven, too!)

Hilary said...

• Thanks muchly, Reb. You're too kind. :)

• Thanks so much, Carver. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, LLL. No, I've not been in contact with any of them for at least 30 years now. I've tried Googling their names and have come up blank. That was back in Montreal and I've long since moved away to the Toronto area. Maybe one day. :)

• Thank you, Missicat. It's hard to resist a flower as beautiful as a rose. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for your kind words, Sandpiper. :)

• She truly was a sweet woman. Thanks for stopping by, Tink. :)

• Meet me at the airport, Baggie. I'll be the one carrying a bottle of Shiraz, a sign saying "I'm Smitty's namesake," and a smile. ;)

steviewren said...

Great story about you and another great photo.

Stace said...

How pretty! My colleague and I ran over a rosebush in his van today, it belonged to a very rich lady who's house we had to visit... I hope she doesn't notice!! haha

Indrani said...

A great tribute and exemplary post.

Christopha! said...

Beatiful picture, Hil. That one deserves a frame and an audience for sure.

gary rith said...

totally beautiful---
I wonder, though, if you moved from Montreal because of seperatist activity?

Russell said...

Your dad sounds like he was a great guy. I have lots of respect for any one who works with the soil. I can almost see and smell all those wonderful flowers around your house.

The peach or orange colored rose is beautiful. When I moved back to this acreage I said I was going to start growing roses - your post has reminded me that some things are more important in life than others - and growing roses is pretty important!

Take care.

JoeinVegas said...

We had over 300 rose bushes when we lived in San Diego. The first blooms always were the best. None at all now, the Las Vegas desert does not seem as hospitable, plus my wife is tired of all the work.
Yours is very nice.

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Steviewren. :)

• Ack, Stace.. sounds like you put the metal to the petal! ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Indrani. :)

• Thank you, Christopha. I might just print and frame it now that you've given me the idea. :)

• Thank you, Gary. No, we moved because my ex's company transferred him. I came here kicking and screaming.. ish. But I'm happy to live here now. I don't think we ever really entertained the idea of Quebec's separatism as a real threat. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Russell. He was indeed a great guy in many ways. I'm glad you've been inspired to grow some roses and I hope you'll share some photos when they're in bloom. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Wow, Joe! Three hundred rose bushes sounds like a tremendous amount of work. I'll bet they were incredible! Thanks for the kind words. :)

just jamie said...

Came over from Seeking Sanity. I've been touched by your comments here and there, and thought I'd pop over to see what you're all about. Wonderful memory, well told.

Glad to meet you.

tkwi said...

Thats beautiful, my favorite color. I like tulips that are the same color too :-)

Thats an amazing job with the lighting.

kimmy said...

That is a beautiful picture and story. I have several rose bushes in my flower garden and they will always be my favorite flower!

Thanks for stopping by my little blog!

Kimmy

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I was quite taken aback at the beauty of that rose. My favourite flower.

CJ xx

moo said...

OMG, just gorgeous ... all of it.

lime said...

oh what a very beautiful remembrance, from your father's joy over a space to garden, to your bedroom, to the happiness of good neighbors bonding in the yard....just lovely.

Stace said...

hahaha, metal to the petal, that's great!!!

Hilary said...

• Welcome, Just Jamie! And thanks so much for your kind words, and for stopping by. I hope you'll return again. :)

• Thanks so much TKWI. It's my favourite colour for a rose too. :)

• Thank you, Kimmy. I'm glad you stopped by too. :)

• Thanks for stopping by and letting me know, CJ. :)

• Thanks muchly, Moo. Not nearly as gorgeous as that last pic of yours today! ;)

• Thanks so much for your kind words, Lime. Much appreciated. :)

• ;) Stace.

Ex-Shammickite said...

That's a lovely rose, such a vibrant colour.
Thanks for your Welcome Home message... I had a great time, doncha just love vacations? I had almost 3 weeks in England, staying with cousins and in-laws, catching up on all the latest family gossip, meeting great-neices and great-nephews, and second-cousins-twice-removed etc etc. And it didn't even rain on me... not once!

Seamus said...

I think the rose garden is the thing dad misses most about being in the house.
Gorgeous shot and wonderful memory.

MizFit said...

such a gorgeous story AND shot.

Miz.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, ex-S. I'm glad you had a great vacation. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it and seeing all of your wonderful photos. :)

• Thanks, Seamus. The photo of your little fox pal is so adorable. What a treat it must be to see her each morning. :)

• Thanks so much, MizFit. Much appreciated. :)

CrazyCath said...

Simply wonderful. I love my roses too and always taking shots of them. Not one as good as this though.
Wish there was smell-o-vision. I just want to sniff that rose.

Hilary said...

Thanks, Cath. Smell-o-vision would be fun.. to a point. I can think of times when it might not work out so nicely. Thanks so much for your kind words. :)

addhumorandfaith said...

This evokes strong memories for me because my mother's hobby was gardening, and her favorites were roses. A beautiful picture of a beautiful rose, accompanied by a poignant memory. Thank you.

Hilary said...

Thanks very much Addhumorandfaith. I'm glad the image and words touched you. Thanks for stopping by and reading. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Hilary, for the incredibly beautiful orange rose; if my mother were alive, she would be deeply touched...as I am!

Your next door neighbour from all those years ago,

Yvonne
Montreal

Hilary said...

Big hugs to you, Yvonne. I'm so glad we've reconnected again after all these years. :) I might just frame this photo and call it Fernanda's Rose.

CherylK said...

For some reason I've just noticed the link to this page...that is just the nicest story, Hilary, and that rose is absolutely splendid.

Hilary said...

Thank you, Cheryl. The link has only been there since I changed my blog format. Before that, I linked to my first blog post (and the story behind the characters in the previous header) in my profile. Thanks for noticing and for stopping by with your kind comment. :)

Dave said...

I enjoyed your rose story here Hilary. Lovely coloured rose too. - Dave

Ekanthapadhikan said...

The pic. of that rose is really really beautiful! The soft light, the dew, the details... Oh! I could almost smell its fragrance!

Hilary said...

• Thanks kindly, Dave. Very much appreciated. :)

• Ekanthapadhikan, I'm so pleased that you enjoy this rose. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Thank you. :)

sage said...

A beautiful rose and story

sage said...

A beautiful rose and wonderful story, thanks for sharing

Anvilcloud said...

I'm also from Montreal but a long time ago, and I kind like word play too. Thanks for the visit.

Great photo btw.

Hilary said...

• Thanks very kindly, Sage. :)

• Thank you, AnvilCloud. Nice to see a fellow ex-Montrealer. :)

Possum said...

Fabulously fragrant post!

Hilary said...

Thanks, Possum. :)

kcinnova said...

Somehow, somehow I missed this post before. I'm glad I clicked through today -- such a lovely story of a selfless gift, those first AND last roses, that will stay with me for a long time.

Daniel said...

Interesting how some of our childhood memories remain so vivid and fresh.

~ A sentimental journey. :)

Daniel

Hilary said...

• Thank you so much KC. I'm glad you found this post. :)

• Thanks kindly, Daniel. I have many such memories stored away. And I cherish every one of them. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Deborah said...

Childhood memories such as these are the fondest of all, I often wonder as my kids have grown into young adults what they will take with them on their own journey.
A beautiful post and photo...

texwisgirl said...

what wonderful memories of your first family home - and such sweet neighbors to help make it so.

Hilary said...

Thank you very kindly Deborah and Texwisgirl. Your lovely comments made my day. I'm happy to see that people go back to read this post. Thank you for that.