Shear Necessity

What I finally learned about pruning roses. (They need not dread my approach anymore.)


  • God is a gardener.  You’re reading through Genesis Chapter 2, and there it is: The Lord God planted a garden. One assumes that, since He planted it, He tended it. Tending means pruning. Pruning means you better know what you’re doing.

Which brings to mind a Environmental Horticulture class I took fresh out of high school at the local junior college. The instructor was a energetic fella with a great deal of enthusiasm for his subject. One afternoon he took us for a walk around campus for a pruning clinic, reducing those defenseless bushes to an array of sticks in nothing flat.

 Rose, well, sticks.

Pitiful, but full of potential.

Appalled as I was, I did learn a few things. Although, apparently, too few.

So, I recently asked a friend, a rosebush-pruning-pro, to visit my one rose bush (a long-suffering specimen), and those of my daughters-in-law: 17 lucky  plants in all.

Yvonne patiently taught me:

  • Cut off the dead stuff first. Those knobby pieces of wood will hang around year after year if you let them.
  • Aim for a nice “bowl” shape. This was news to me. I’ve left many shapes behind on rose bushes. Just not bowl ones.
  • Remove much of the interior growth. Branches should ideally be growing out. How did I not know this? I ask, mystified.
  • Anything ugly has to go. Bam. Gone.

Maybe Adam walked around the garden with the Lord God while He pruned. Had he kept his mind on interesting things like the ones I just listed, he wouldn’t have been hanging around that tree.

So he got pruned.

 Yes, He did.

Yes, He did.

I mention this because it is Lent and Easter approaches which is the story of God, so merciful, so full of love, making a way for man to bloom again.

I love that thought. Now that I’m better informed.

Suffering from “dead stuff?” Do you have an “airy” interior? Do you trust that God has a sure hand with the shears?


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