Friday, June 29, 2012

The Rose Garden

On Wednesday, I took my mother to the International Rose Test Garden in Portland to see the roses in bloom. Mom is visiting from Maine and staying with me until July 19th. We had gone to get her a new camera earlier in the day, and she had thousands of beautiful roses as her test subjects. When we got home, she accidentally deleted all the pictures. No problem, though. We'd just go back.

Mom at the Rose Garden
Yesterday, before we went back to the Rose Garden, I saw a Facebook post from Sue Reich. It was a picture of seven white roses, and someone had left them in her yard on the seventh anniversary of the day her son, Stephen Reich, was killed in action while on a rescue mission in Afghanistan. Once we arrived at the Rose Garden, I couldn't stop thinking about Sue.

There were thousands and thousands of roses in full bloom, all colors, every variety you could imagine. The aroma of roses permeated the air. Visitors from all around the world were there. It was peaceful. Harmonious. I found myself particularly drawn to the yellow roses, because I understand they are a symbol of friendship. In one patch there were two perfect yellow roses together. Two friends. That's the picture I sent to Sue.

We wandered around for a while, blissfully enjoying the roses and snapping pictures. If you're ever in Portland, be sure to visit the Rose Garden!

On the way back the parking lot, still thinking about Sue, I spotted a plaque on the stairs. The words perfectly summed up the experience. I think I'll probably always think of Sue, and Stephen, too, whenever I go to the Rose Garden.


  1. Lovely lovely post Bill and lovely thing to send Sue two roses. I saw Sue's Facebook page too and can't even imagine what it feels like to lose a son.

    Have a wonderful special time with your mother. Next stop for me after the Vermont quilt festival is Maine.
    I hope the roses will be out at the Maine botanical garden too.

  2. beautiful pictures!
    the plaque sums up the true essence of a garden...I love it
    thanks for sharing the visit

  3. The Rose garden will always hold a special place for me. I would take my girls there all the time and we would have a picnic at the amphitheater right next to it.

    Both girls would roll down the hill that didn't have roses on them at the time (they do now). We would smell all the roses and enjoy our time together.

  4. So nice of you to remember Sue and her family...can't imagine what she goes through.

    I once went to a huge quilt exhibit at the Shelburne with a camera borrowed from my sister...seems I loaded the film incorrectly so all the photos from that day...well, weren't! I didn't know if I should laugh or cry!