My dad speaks of roses as some men speak of wines:

This one has a particularly strong aroma

Publications are scoured for pedigrees, new offerings, and desirable traits; clippers and gloves sit in the car floorboard ready to prune the unruly bush at a park or business; pilgrimages are made to the growers to buy when the age is right; and roses grown in a hothouse for profit are identified by their lack of scent – an unforgivable defect.

The name comes from a family in France who have bred this one for decades

My dad tends roses at several houses in Oklahoma, the church where he preaches, the YMCA in Midwest City, and a few locations in Sydney Australia. There are roses blooming literally year-round due to his care. We have given bucketfuls to widows, the sick, teachers, neighbors, and – most importantly – my mother.

pH levels affect the growth of the plant and the blooms

Roses take him back to the garden: the fertile Australian soil of my youth, the arid red soil of his western Oklahoma youth, and the primal garden from the Good Book. God made man to have his hands in the dirt, to tend the land he created, to help bring beauty from decay. And this he does when time and energy permit. When the unforgiving Oklahoma climate and unrelenting pastoral duties conspire against the bushes they get replaced with heartier stock from the latest publications.

Do you think a red or a white or a pink would pair best with this meal?

Some men buy a dozen roses; more thoughtful men try to teach their sons to do the same. My dad bought a dozen rose bushes for our backyard. I came home to my boys helping my father put mulch around the new bushes. They’re learning – as I did with the 80 or 90 rose bushes from my childhood backyard – about earth, growth, patience, pruning deadness, and how to bring beautiful things to mothers.

This one’s beautiful and intoxicating

I’m not interested in roses to the same degree. But I have an interest in my father and a primal need – on occasion – to mar my hands with soil and thorns. I’m grateful my father’s hobby lives on in our backyard and will die in slow petal showers from vases inside our home.