The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rose Fever in Our Neighborhood

Some see a cute little bug, a sign of good luck.
I see a vicious, voracious enemy of harmful insects.
If the eating is good, the whole clan arrives for a feast.


The Wrights (not their real names) live on the other side of our home. Once I learned that she also enjoyed roses, they began getting them last summer. Mrs. Gardener and the chiropractor and the college registrar's office all received roses as well. I always had Knockout roses to share, and they kept well in vases. I learned that several recipients were careful to keep the roses in fresh water so they lasted longer. Every so often the hybrid tea roses bloomed with their fragrance and subtle colors, and they also wowed the neighbors.

Mrs. Wright came over to say hello to Mrs. Ichabod, so they were conversing in the living room for some time. Later, I came through and heard an interesting story.

She does hospice work, staying overnight at the home of an elderly patient in very frail health. She reasoned, "I have little to do all night, so I will bring the roses along to enjoy. My patient loved the roses so much - and so did her family - that I left them there each time. They had so much pleasure from having them there, and they made sure the roses lasted a long time."

Mrs. Wright went on to emphasize the joy everyone experienced from the roses, and she beamed when I said. "Next summer, there will be more."

My wife loves having the roses in bloom around the front porch. That was her idea, and she was correct. We see them all the time. We enjoy their fragrance the moment we open the front door. My initial plan for growing roses on the side of the home (between us and the Wrights) would have baked the roses in the afternoon sun. We would not have seen them unless we walked over to that side because there are no windows there.

Most plants do well in partial sun, but only a few like total exposure - as tomatoes, sunflowers, and corn do. Some - like cucumbers - would rather have shade. I was concerned about the greedy maple roots thwarting the roses, but the roses became productive right away under Jackson Mulch - a layer of newspaper covered with wooden mulch. Our helper and I also removed as many extra maple limbs as we could, so there was a generous amount of sun until the afternoon.

Watching one close up is more unnerving that any science fiction movie.


We spotted grasshoppers on the roses twice, but never had any significant damage. By letting the beneficial insects do their work, with help from spiders, the plants thrived without spraying.

It may seem that cutting yourself out of the predator–prey cycle and having enough prey around would be enough to keep your beneficial insects happy. This isn’t the case. We also have to create the right environment for them. First and foremost, that environment needs to be pesticide free—and not just free of chemical pesticides, either. Ideally, all backyard pesticide use should stop (except, perhaps, in cases of introduced exotic pest outbreaks where the risk of death to an entire population of plants is extremely high—as is the case with the emerald ash borer, for example). Here’s why. Let’s start with what happens when a synthetic chemical is applied to a perceived pest outbreak. Most of the pest insects are killed, yes, but some survive. Those that do are more likely to be resistant to that particular pesticide. They go on to breed and pass that trait along to their young. Over time and several generations, the localized population of that pest becomes resistant to that pesticide. Increasing the rate of resistance further is the gardener or farmer who is continuing to use the same pesticide every time more of those pests are spotted.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 402-410). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Here is the irony of the rose growing phobias. People think the plant is a lot of trouble because they have spent so much time ruining the environment--with fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides--that they succeed in rosicide.



Some Parallels
Denominational leaders have been killing their institutions for decades now. All they need is the Word of God, which thrives in the humblest surroundings. But how can anyone have an expensive fund-raising campaign based on that premise? Instead, they plead for millions so they can waste even more money while applying the latest measures

The latest measures lose their fad appeal, so more training is needed from false teachers to offer even more of what itching ears want to hear. The pastors become lost about what a sermon is, so they simply copy from the false teachers. They even obtain a license to copy the sermons verbatim, so the same sermon series pop up all over the Internet - as if various denominations decided to have the exact same sermon topics with the same texts and even the same graphics. 'Sa miracle!

2 Timothy 4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. KJV.