Zéphirine!

Cut these beautiful stems during a break in Baltimore’s torrential rain. Zéphirine Drouhin roses are fabulous because they are climbing Bourbon roses, which means that their blooming season runs from late spring into fall. What makes this hot pink climbing rose great is that it is amazingly fragrant, thornless, highly disease resistant, and grows well in full sun to partial shade. I’ve been able to cut enough stems for seven huge vases, with plenty of blooms to spare.

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The Old South

For me, Spanish Moss hanging from trees conjures images of the Old South, with all its stereotypes. It brings to mind a time when one race was enslaved, when black families were torn apart, and when many black people lived in fear.

Now our country faces a reckoning in the fight against racism. The battle seems overwhelming, and I look for any hope that people can live in harmony. And it is Spanish Moss, ironically, that provided a great metaphor for hope this week!

Photos taken in Sarasota of Spanish Moss and a Bottlebrush Tree. Spanish Moss most commonly lives in Southern Live Oaks and Bald Cypress.

Turns out that Spanish Moss and the trees on which it grows have a symbiotic relationship. How do they mutually benefit?

Trees such as Bottlebrushes provide a place for moss to hang, allowing it to absorb water from morning condensation and rain. Because Spanish Moss is a bromeliad, it doesn’t send roots into the tree or rely upon its nutrients.

Spanish Moss, in turn, provides shade for branches, protecting them from the hot southern sun. Moss also provides nesting material for birds that eat and disperse seeds of the Bottlebrush.

Can we think of Spanish Moss and Bottlebrush as a metaphor for beings that can live in accord? I think we can!