By Jeanne Sterling—

Mid-fall of last year, we planted a sorry-looking rosebush that I purchased from Job Lots. I think it cost all of $4.00. There might have been one or two ready-to-drop leaves, but that was the only sign of life.

Anyway, the hole was dug, compost mixed in and the sad little twig was set into the spot.

This spring, much to my surprise and delight, green shoots appeared and some rather healthy looking leaves. Eventually, one or two buds developed and I felt pretty pleased with myself for rescuing this mangy-looking plant. I watched the buds start to show their color: a peach-melba pink edge with a creamy ivory flower. Gorgeous! However, the next time I glanced at the bush, it had been invaded by those dratted Japanese beetles! The leaves were now a lacey poof, and each flower held a family of beetles, munching away on the spectacular petals. What to do?! I don’t spray for bugs, but was sorely tempted to this time around.

After mulling over several possible solutions, Aha!

Last winter, I had purchased herbs and spices contained in a fine net bag from Harvest Thyme here in town. The bag has a drawstring closure. Problem solved! I covered the most mature bud with the bag, cinched the drawstring and waited for the bud to blossom.

Patiently (which I have little of), I exchanged one bud for another throughout the season. Each time, rewarded with a fragrant and beautiful rose.

All in all, 14 roses bloomed in the bag, one at a time. I need more bags.

Jeanne Sterling is the advertising coordinator for the Advocate.