A.D.D., Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

ADD and What Needs My Attention Now?

My boss describes himself as A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder).

We were talking about his neighbor who accidentally burned down his 5M house. My boss said (about his neighbor), “He’s ADD like me. ADD people burn down the house.”

I’m not ADD, at least I have no proper diagnosis of it, and, though sorely uneducated on the subject, if I had to guess, I’d say I’m the complete opposite of ADD. I have a laser-like focus that keeps me on task to the point where I am hard to interrupt. (There is a caveat to this: If I am bored, or uninterested, then I appear to be the ditz of the universe, who, like Dory, sees all sorts of shiny things.)

A recent example: The house behind me, 2 doors down, 2 weeks ago, caught on fire. In my small town that’s an evening of excitement, so the entire neighborhood was standing in my yard watching the goings on. (All so engrossed with the dramatic event they missed my pretty my roses. Seems I’m not the only one with laser focus.) There were also several firetrucks with lights flashing parked in my yard.

I missed the house burning down.

I was lying in bed reading a newsletter from Blooms of Bressingham on the subject of their new perennials. I never heard the firetrucks, never saw the lights, or smelled smoke. I did hear voices outside, but that was not enough to interrupt my thoughts on the Moonshine yarrow that was introduced in 1950 by the Blooms, and is still the best yarrow on the market today, and to my thinking on that fated night, would make a great companion plant with my Walker’s Low catmint. It was only when I got up for a drink, that I saw the lights, and realized there’d been a fire. I missed the entire thing. People were heading home and firetrucks were backing out of my driveway.

Attention Deficit Disorder and What Needs My Attention Now, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Walker’s Low Catmint

Here’s what I said to my boss. “ADDs may burn the house down, but people like me? We don’t even know the house is on fire.”

Oh the analogies.

Why do folks with ADD get so much attention? And, someone please tell me. What is it we’re all supposed to be paying attention too, anyway?

I have a new granddaughter (she’ll be a month old tomorrow). I haven’t met her because I am working 24/7.  No, that is not an exaggeration. I work 7 days a week.

My best friend is going through the toughest ordeal of her life. Chemo and radiation are a daily routine for her, hoping to shrink the tumors in her brain. She’s an hour away and I work, worried if this next paycheck will be enough to pay the bills.

If I am not mistaken, every niece and nephew I have is graduating between the end of May and the middle of June. I will miss all of them.

My garden is divine right now. The roses are climbing over the white picket fence, iris are blooming, gaura is staring to bloom up their wispy stalks, and I know this because I see it as I drive by it on my way to work.

I’m burning down the house, and I’m not ADD.

When I was in the 5th grade my teacher scolded me, and called my parents for a parent/teacher conference because I looked bored. Oh man, did I get in trouble. Cinthia, are you not paying attention class? Why do you look bored? Because I was, and no of course, I wasn’t paying attention. But, to appease those who could ground me, I practiced the art of looking interested in the bathroom mirror. The moral of this story?

We may look like we’re paying attention, but are we?

I am unaware if my boss ever burned down a house. I do know that he has built a very successful garden center that rivals the garden centers of England. And, while I may have missed a few barn burnings, I am getting the idea, you don’t have to be ADD to burn down the house. Clueless works too.


Lord Send Help, The Boxwoods Still Need Trimming, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Lord, Send Help. The Boxwoods Still Need Trimming.

Exhaustion: a weary body, a weary soul, a weary heart.

I just woke up from a nap. A much needed, exhaustion-curbing (almost) nap.

Exhaustion is the catch word these days. We’ve passed tired, gone beyond needing a day off, and landed in the middle of exhaustion.

When you reach exhaustion, you’re all out of resources. Unless you’re a Navy Seal, but really, even they seem a bit tired lately what with all the book writing.

Lord, send help.

After waking from my nap and devouring the only food in the house–chips and salsa–and finishing my Chick-fil-A tea. I put my head back and uttered, “Lord send help.”  Like you’d let out a big sigh when you finally sat down after a 16 hour day. Only this was surprisingly accurate words. Lord, send help indeed. When did I start thinking I could do it all? All by myself?

Lord Send Help, The Boxwoods Still Need Trimming, SOS, Transplanted and Still Blooming

I have no idea. But, I remembered the numerous times Israel was up against yet another enemy and the Lord said, stand still and watch what I do, delivering them from their enemy and kicking some butt in the process. I have no butts that need kicking (except perhaps my own), but the supernatural army would come in handy about now, especially if they know how to prune the azaleas, and plant Daub’s Frosted Juniper in the front. Or figure out how to use the new mop I bought six months ago that is so complicated I can’t get the dang kitchen floor clean. If Gabriel can power wash decks and weed the hemlocks, then yes, Lord, send him.

And may I be like Elisha’s servant? Eyes opened to see the armies surrounding me? To see the help that has arrived? I have a to-do list, Lord. I can keep them busy. Though keeping the troops of the Lord busy with domestic chores seems a tad, well, like giving a Navy Seal a weed eater when he should be fighting terrorists. We all have our skill sets.

Then I wondered what I’d actually want help for if he were to send the troops in.

  • Make it rain so I don’t have to water, please.
  • Is it okay to spend money on a vacation this year or not?  (A little fortune telling goes a long way.)
  • Could you bring my mom back? It is Mother’s Day, you know.
  • Send friends. You can only do life alone for so long and then it just gets old.
  • Am I really going to have to work this hard for the rest of my life? I’m so beat.
  • Would you move my grandchildren next door. I’d adore their hugs everyday.
  • And yes, someone to mow grass would be awesome.
  • Cleaning the house wouldn’t hurt.
  • Would you heal my best friend?
  • Would you stop terrorists from terrorizing?
  • Would you make my neighbors nice? By that I mean, would you make them let me use their weed eater?
  • Would you make me nice? By that I mean, make me not bitter about the weed eater.
  • Would you fix my weary soul?

Lord, send help.

Turns out my exhaustion covers more topics than housework, yard work, and work-work.

Exhaustion is like being stranded at sea in one of those small rafts, the water completely still, no wind stirring and no land in sight, but you have to keep rowing someplace–God knows where. It’s just water for miles and blazing hot sun. There’s no end in sight, and jumping overboard looks good because the view is the same in every direction. You’re wondering, what is the point?

I don’t know the point, but I know the Lord, and while I may not need an army to fight a battle for me, I do remember Jesus turning the water into wine at a wedding to save the celebratory day, and this at this mother’s request. She was a tad bossy about it, so I’m guessing Jesus knew the stresses of domestic life. So while I hope he sends armies to where armies are needed, I’m also hoping he’ll at least send a small platoon my way. I still have the boxwoods to trim.

cinthia milner transplanted and still blooming lady gardener david austin rose

Growing David Austin English Roses

‘Constance Spry’ was my first David Austin English Rose. I ordered it from the Antique Rose Emporium and it came bare root. I remember thumbing through their catalog, and reading that it was an old fashioned, spring-blooming, either climber or shrub, fragrant rose with the cabbage head instead of tea-shape.

I’ll be honest. I had no idea what any of that meant, but the picture was so beautiful I couldn’t resist. This is ‘Constance Spry’ adorning a garden wall, and making that bench seem very inviting.

cinthia milner, transplanted and still blooming david austin english roses constance spry

‘Constance Spry’ climbing up a garden wall.

My ‘Constance Spry’ grew over the barbed wire fence of the vegetable garden. It was huge, very thorny, and divine. Easily 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide, soft pink, and fragrant. (Really, why grow a rose that is not?) I was never more proud of a rose, or myself. My first rose and it grew beautifully. That started my relationship with David Austin English roses.

You can read more about their history, breeding program, and the man, David Austin himself, here.

Growing David Austin English Roses, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

‘Claire Austin’ is on my possibilities list for the garden this summer. I think I need a white in the garden and she’s it. Plus, one of the most fragrant ones, smells like vanilla to me. Can be climber (8′ canes) or shrub (4 1/2 x 4). Haven’t decided which yet. .

In January, I was privileged to interview the senior rosarian for David Austin English roses, Michael Marriott. My favorite quote was, “You Americans, you make it all so hard. Growing roses is like growing any other plant.”

He was referring to the inevitable black spot, rust, powdery mildew, and so forth that roses can sometimes get, and that cause most people (“We Americans”) to avoid roses. Or, going to the opposite extreme of turning roses into divas that can’t be grown unless pruned just so, or fertilized on a strict schedule, or having a spraying regime that requires a hazmat suit to keep leaves whistle-clean. In other words:

We look for perfection and miss the rose.

Growing David Austin English Roses, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

‘Teasing Georgia’ is a contender for my garden this year, too. It has 110 petals. It can climb or act as a shrub. With that many petals, it will nod, which means if I use it as a climber over my fence, then the children walking by with their moms will be the ones with the best view. Which makes me really want it. Grows 4 x 3 1/2 as shrub, has 8′ canes as climber. Fragrant. But seriously…. that color.

Mr. Marriott has grown roses organically for over 20 years in his garden, so his statement that we “make it all so hard” comes from his experience of treating roses like plants instead of divas. I grow organically too. Well, some may call it laziness, but really, semantics, my dear. My roses are planted (for the benefit of my neighbors and myself) on the west side of my house. That means they get the least attention because they’re further-est from anything (my chair). I do little to help them along–some fertilizer once a month, water if no rain is in sight for the 10 day forecast (I have a soaker hose, which yes, took time to set up but turned out to be a huge time saver overall), and deadheading in the evening while strolling with a Corona. (You’re thinking wine and roses, not beer and roses, sorry).

Growing David Austin English Roses, Munstead Wood, Transplanted and still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Third contender, ‘Munstead Wood’ as a shrub, not a climber. I feel I would need to drink wine and not my Cornoas if I grow this rose in my garden. It is so elegant. 3 1/2 x 4 and smells like blackberries.

While discussing the cultural care of the English roses, I repeated my favorite phrase for any gardening situation to Mr. Marriott, “Common sense prevails.” To which he replied, “Yes, but not everyone has common sense, do they?” Touché. Hence the instructions for care here. And FAQ’s here. Pruning (I know, I know, we’re all terrified of it, it’s easy, read on) here. And, lots more on the DAR site to help educate you in your rose adventure.

Growing David Austin English Roses, Wollerton Old Hall, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

‘Wollerton Old Hall’ is one of the most fragrant of all English Roses. Smells citrus-y, so I’m going for it, right outside my bedroom window, where a hideous cherry tree lives now, but its days are numbered. Plus, love that apricot center and stems are nearly thorn less. Grows to 5 ft tall x 3 ft wide or 8 ft as a climber.

Oh, and bonus! Mr. Marriott will design a rose garden for you. He’s done them all over the world for gardens that include 3000+ roses, but he promised he’d do one for the smallest of spaces, including my 50 stretch of white picket-fence. Check it out here, if you’re interested. I didn’t ask if I had to give him credit, or if I could just let my neighbors think I’m that good. But, bragging that David Austin’s Senior Rosarian designed my picket-fence rose garden sounds pretty impressive, too. Either way, it is looking good for the roses this summer.

Growing David Austin Roses, Graham Thomas, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

‘Graham Thomas’ climbing. This one is hugely popular at the store where I work. It stays pretty healthy and can be climber or shrub. 10-12′ canes for climbing. Evidently works well in heat and humidity. Canes can get 10-12′ tall, is also a shrub.