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I am not…

There’s a lot of things I’m not. I am not an athlete. I am not a cow. I am not a Freudian. I am not a birder. There’s lots of things that I am not. Heck, the string ‘I am not’ appears more than twenty times on this blog.

grep 'I am not' blog.postings | wc -l

I am also not a photographer. Because of that, usually the weekly photo challenges that the nice people at ‘The Daily Post‘ create get read, filed away and eventually deleted. “That’s nice” I sometimes think; “If I was a photographer I might do something about that.” But I’m not.  So I don’t.

But this week, well, it was sort of a ‘meta-challenge’ in which sewers were involved (sort of) and that piqued my interest. Even though I’m not a photographer.

Sewers were involved because the city where I live has subterranean infrastructure dating from — in places — the Qing dynasty so every year during road construction season things get… dug up. A few years back it was our street’s turn so it got dug up. Heck, every street in the neighborhood got dug up. And, most importantly to the story, the front yard — the one composed entirely of crabgrass — got dug up.

Now, we weren’t sad to see the crabgrass go but when the digging was finished we had a choice: we could fill in the holes and rebuild the lawn — a lawn like every other house in an N block radius — or we could forego conformity (even though it would be a crabgrass-free conformity) with the North American ideal and plant something else.

How about roses? I like roses and, while you do need to prune them and trim them and feed them, you don’t need to mow them. So roses it was.

We planted a few red ones because all the books say that’s essential but mostly yellow, orange and white ones. (Because at least one of those books says yellow roses are ‘as clear and bright as a sunny day’ and who doesn’t like those?)

Four years ago I was looking for something to plant in one of the spaces between bushes. And one day I bumped into a nice-looking rudbeckia just sitting there begging to be taken home. It looked like about the right size to fit the space and all the photos on the internet (because if it’s on the internet it must be true) looked nice and the colour would fit the ‘theme’ of the rose garden. Sold.

That year it did nothing. It didn’t die or anything, it just didn’t do anything. In particular, it didn’t flower. The next summer was more or less the same — it grew a little taller and a little healthier, but still didn’t flower. (Well, with me, ‘didn’t die’ is a modest success.) And the next summer it went “Well, I’ve done nothing for two years. Time to earn my keep.” It grew about twice as tall as the card (and the internet) said it would and also pooted out an impressive array of very nice purple flowers.

Purple? But the card said yellow… Don’t believe everything you read, I guess.

The next year (that would be, like, now) it did/is doing the same thing — twice as tall as the card said, tower-y rather than mound-y, purple rather than yellow. And most days the flowers are visited by several members of the bombini tribe. That’s nice because there hasn’t been many of them for some years. (I’m not naive enough to think ‘they’re back, crisis over’ — it’s more likely that there’s just a nest somewhere nearby — but it’s still nice. Cherryesque, even.)


The rose garden is the cherry on top of the shiny new water line that replaced the old, dull, probably lead one.

The garden is pretty — certainly prettier than the crabgrass was — and the not-really-cherry-coloured-but-closer-than-yellow-would-be flowers are the tallest things in the garden, so they’re sort of ‘on top.’

And our yellow-and-black dinner guest (?) was the cherry on top of that.


Did you know that when you tell an insect to turn around because you can’t see its face it rarely listens to you?


Close enough.

The Author

Rose Glace is the pseudonym of nobody important.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Cherry on Top (Apple) | What's (in) the picture?

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