The Gardener and the Wild
A gardener was walking in the woods one September day when
he stumbled over a branch that had grown across his path. ".What is this?" he
asked himself. ""Why, it looks like a rose bush growing wild among the
evergreens and underbrush," he said. Upon closer inspection he noticed many of the
leaves on the wild rose bush had turned brown. The forest floor surrounding the wild rose
was littered with dried, wilted rose pedals. Obviously, the rose bush had suffered serious
damage from an unexpected freeze that came in late May, he thought.
The gardener looked at the rose bush and imagined her in
full bloom; how beautiful she must have been. He imagined her full rose blossoms with
dewy, soft pedals in rich, vibrant colors. He could almost smell her sweet, delicate,
fresh fragrance carried on a breeze as it danced its way through the pines. He wanted to
save the young rose bush, still in shock from the wintry blast months earlier. He wanted
the wild rose bush to live with him in his garden.
Although the gardener had not cared for a wild rose
before, he was a good gardener. Besides, he thought, the wild rose would certainly fair
better with me than if she were left alone in the forest in her present condition. The
gardener left the forest and returned a short time later with a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
The gardener began digging in the soil
surrounding the rose bush. He was careful not to cause further damage to the wild rose,
for he realized her delicate condition. The gardener worked very hard; perspiration
gathered on his forehead and his breathing became labored. The warmth of his breath on her
leaves and his strong, gentle hands on her branches awoke the wild rose from her frozen
slumber. He gently placed her in the wheelbarrow and, together, they began the journey
back to his garden.
The gardener found the perfect place in his garden to
plant his wild rose. He prepared the soil, adding a bone-meal fertilizer with just the
right amount of nitrogen and phosphorous. After transplanting his wild rose, he watered
her thirsty roots. The gardener tied strings to her branches for support and attached the
strings to strong sticks placed in the ground around the rose bush. Rescuing the rose and
tending to her needs made the gardener feel good. The wild rose, grateful that the
gardener had rescued her, wanted to please him.
Everyday the gardener would go to his garden to tend to
his wild rose. He gave her water when she was thirsty and made sure that the support
strings were secure. The gardener looked forward to Spring. His wild rose would be in full
bloom and that, he thought, will prove that I am a master gardener.
The wild rose looked forward to the gardener’s daily
visits and waited patiently for him in the garden. She tried to straighten her tangled
branches and look lovely for him. Though she was still very weak from her chilly coma, she
wanted to recover quickly and be in full bloom when Spring arrived. This will make the
gardener happy, she thought Then he will know how much I love him and appreciate him for
In January, the gardener came to the garden and told the
wild rose that he had to go away and was not certain when he would return. The wild rose
was sad and began to weep. The rose, who had become dependent on the gardener’s care, was
frightened. "But who will tend to my needs?!" she cried.
The gardener reminded the wild rose that he was a master
gardener and that he had carefully prepared the sod with the right amount of nitrogen and
phosphorous. He checked the strings, tied to her branches for support, to make sure they
were secure. The gardener said that he would leave the water running from the garden hose
so that the rose could drink whenever she was thirsty. "’I must go now," he
The wild rose tried to straighten her branches and look
lovely for the gardener, but she was very sad. She would miss the gardener and his daily
visits to the garden.
Winter came to the garden. The rose was lonely and afraid.
Not yet recovered from last year’s freeze, she was afraid that she could not survive
another frost. Without the shelter of the forest or the gardener to care for her, the rose
felt exposed and vulnerable to the elements. In an effort to protect and defend herself,
the wild rose developed a shield of armor. She grew large, sharp thorns on branches that
eventually became tough and callused.
Days, weeks, even months had passed and still the gardener
had not returned to his garden or to the wild rose. Her buds, full of the promise of
beautiful blossoms, could not break through the tough calluses on her branches. She would
not bloom this Spring.
Then, one day in May, the gardener returned home. He raced
to the garden, eager to see his wild rose in bloom. He stumbled over one of her branches
and her thorns pierced his flesh. "Ouch!" he yelled. "Why did you hurt me,
my beloved rose?"
"Oh gardener! I am so happy that you have returned!
Please sit with me in the garden; I have missed you so!" she cried.
The gardener looked around his garden. "What happened
to all my hard work?" he asked himself. "And what happened to my wild
rose?" The gardener expected to see her beautifully colored rose blossoms, instead,
all he saw were her piercing thorns. He left the garden disheartened.
The next day the gardener returned to the garden to tend
to the wild rose, but he could not avoid her jagged thorns. Tired, hurt and sad, he left
the garden. As each day passed, he spent less and less time in the garden. The rose was
very sad. She did not mean to hurt the gardener with her thorns. She tried to straighten
her branches the way he liked, but they had grown so tough and heavy, she could not manage
The gardener began to resent rescuing the wild rose and
bringing her to his garden.
The wild rose began to resent the gardener for rescuing
her and bringing her to his garden.
Eventually, the wild rose asked the gardener to take her
back to the forest – and so he did.
Years have passed and now the wild rose lives happily in
the forest. She often thinks of the gardener and what she learned during her time in his
garden. She learned the difference between being loved and being rescued. She learned that
she can weather the most bitter Winter frost and survive. She learned that the best
support comes from her friends and family in the forest and from God – not from strings.
She learned that she can be strong without being tough and callused. The rose keeps a few
thorns to remind herself that she is not defenseless when she is alone.
The wild rose blossoms each season and she is beautiful.
by Colleen G.