Rose seeds / Semillas de rosas

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

THE FIRST TIME I HEARD Bette Midler sing “The Rose,” I was so moved as I listened all the way through. When she reached the end, however, I was perplexed. She sang:

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.

Roses don’t grow from seeds, I thought. I was obsessed. I believed the only way to grow roses was from cuttings. I chalked it up, at first, to poetic license. But it really bugged me. So, I researched it, which wasn’t easy. No internet in 1979. But, what do you know? Roses can be grown from seeds, although the seeds can take anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks to germinate and, usually, only 30 percent make it. Once I knew that, I was able to enjoy the song again.

And the only reason I thought of that today is because our two desert roses on the terrace are suddenly thriving. The first one to bloom this year (click here) didn’t do much. But, suddenly they’re both covered with buds. Our second desert rose, we knew, had much larger flowers of a more vivid pink, but it had never done a thing since we brought it home a few years ago. Check it out now — even though it didn’t come from a seed. I’ve been studying how to prune them during their dormant phase (which was supposed to be now).

Isabel cleaned the house today instead of Friday, so we had the pleasure of an hour or so at Mesón Salvador this morning. Afterwards, I had a great walk on the Paseo and beach, even though the wind started to blow when I was a half hour from home and my ears hurt. There was a damp chill (it rained overnight), although it was around 60°F/16°C.

I noticed a couple of palm trees have been planted near the crosswalk to what used to be Plaza San Rafael. There had been a series of dead tamarinds there over the years.

I cut back all five of our hibiscus yesterday, preceded and followed by an attack on all the bugs. One bloomed well. The others tried but dropped their buds. Here’s hoping my ministrations will have the same effect they’ve had on the desert rose. I have lots more budding and blooming to share with you around the house.

I forgot to tell you, when The Kid Brother told me he received two postcards from me two weeks ago, he said I had written the zip [postal] code incorrectly on one of them. “But,” he told me, “don’t worry. I fixed it for you.” I was about to explain, but I said instead, “Oh, thanks!”


LA PRIMERA VEZ QUE ESCUCHÉ a Bette Midler cantar “The Rose” [La Rosa], me conmovió escuchar todo el rato. Sin embargo, cuando llegó al final, me quedé perplejo. Cantó:

Sólo recuerda que en el invierno
Debajo de la amarga nieve
Se encuentra la semilla que con el amor del sol
En la primavera se convertira en la rosa

Las rosas no crecen a partir de semillas, pensé. Estaba obsesionado. Creía que la única forma de cultivar rosas era con esquejes. Lo atribuí, al principio, a una licencia poética. Pero realmente me molestó. Entonces, lo investigué, lo cual no fue fácil. No hay internet en 1979. Pero, ¿qué sabes? Las rosas se pueden cultivar a partir de semillas, aunque las semillas pueden tardar entre 4 y 16 semanas en germinar y, por lo general, solo el 30 por ciento lo hace. Una vez que supe eso, pude volver a disfrutar de la canción.

Y la única razón por la que pensé en eso hoy es porque nuestras dos rosas del desierto en la terraza de repente están floreciendo. El primero en florecer este año (haz clic aquí) no hizo mucho. Pero, de repente, ambos están cubiertos de cogollos. Nuestra segunda rosa del desierto, sabíamos, tenía flores mucho más grandes de un rosa más vivo, pero nunca había hecho nada desde que la trajimos a casa hace unos años. Compruébelo ahora, aunque no provino de una semilla. He estado estudiando cómo podarlos durante su fase inactiva (que se suponía que era ahora).

Isabel limpió la casa hoy en lugar del viernes, así que tuvimos el placer de una hora más o menos en el Mesón Salvador esta mañana. Después di un gran paseo por el Paseo y la playa, a pesar de que el viento empezó a soplar cuando estaba a media hora de casa y me dolían los oídos. Hubo un frío húmedo (llovió durante la noche), aunque rondaba los 16°C/60°F.

Noté que se han plantado un par de palmeras cerca del paso de peatones hacia lo que solía ser la Plaza San Rafael. Había habido una serie de tamarindos muertos allí a lo largo de los años.

Ayer corté los cinco hibiscos, precedidos y seguidos de un ataque a todos los insectos. Uno floreció bien. Los otros lo intentaron pero dejaron caer sus cogollos. Espero que mis cuidados tengan el mismo efecto que han tenido en la rosa del desierto. Tengo muchos más brotes y flores para compartir contigo en la casa.

Me olvidé de decirte, cuando El Hermanito me dijo que había recibido dos postales de mí hace dos semanas, dijo que yo había escrito el código postal incorrectamente en una de ellas. “Pero”, me dijo, “no te preocupes. Te lo arreglé”. Estaba a punto de explicar, pero dije en su lugar: “¡Oh, gracias!”

The last hibiscus before pruning.
La última hibisco antes de la poda.
“I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed.”
“Yo digo que el amor es una flor, y tú eres la única semilla”.
Happy after today’s walk. (Grab it while you can.)
Feliz después del camino de hoy. (Agárralo mientras puedes.)


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

22 thoughts on “Rose seeds / Semillas de rosas”

  1. I learned something I didn’t know. Orchids can be grown from seed, but most of them today are cloans.

  2. As I am reading and looking at your photos I see only Hibiscus then I see the Desert Rose that looks somewhat like the Hibiscus. Took me a second to really focus. Hope they bloom for you this year.

    1. Parsnip:
      Oops. I thought maybe I should caption them all, but then I thought if I captioned the hibiscus the others would be understood. Glad you figured it out! You’re right, at a glance you wouldn’t realize.

  3. I remember hearing/seeing that for the first time. Ms. Midler has always gotten my attention from the start. She is quite exceptional in my opinion.
    You have inspired me with your pruning! We have a Jade plant and it is getting pot-bound and very large. Do I prune the be-jeepers out of it or put it in a larger pot? I am leaning towards the latter with minimum pruning. What do you think?

    1. Jim:
      Even if you prune the jade, it will still need more soil. I say, just keep going bigger (that’s what we always did; amazingly, we don’t have any jade currently). OR… if you want to try bonsai, you can take it out of the pot and trim the roots, too!

  4. Glad to know I am not the only one who gets annoyed with lyrics. At least The Rose is correct. I get perturbed by Midnight at the Oasis because cacti are native to the Americas. So if you are sending your camel to bed, there won’t be a cactus friend to show you the way. Whatever.

    You look happy in the shot with the lovely desert rose.

    1. Wilma:
      Oh, I never even put together the bedded camel and the friendly cactus. Now I’ll never be able to listen to that song again. I WAS happy. Had a great walk and am having a good few days. (Touch wood!)

  5. Ohhhh, I could never stand that song. But I’m a bigger fan of Bette’s acting over her singing. Although, she can grate my nerves if I’m not in the mood for her. But I loved the picture of the desert rose!

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      Middler’s flamboyance and gay sensibility in the ’70s for this living-as-a-straight boy, was a god-send. Saw her in the ’70s in Rochester, NY. She screamed out to me in that audience. Saw her again in ’82 in LA when I proudly scream back. She knows how to put on a show. I’m elated by the desert roses. I’m hoping for more drama with a bunch of buds opening at once. The flowers on this second one are perhaps twice the size of the other.

    2. A gay as I am, and having done drag, I’m a unusual bad gay. I have never been a fan or can’t stand period many “gay delights” such as Milder, Gaga, Brittney, Patti Lupone, Garland, Diana Ross, Streisand and Minelli. Not that I dislike them, but I either don’t listen to them, or I don’t go out of my way to listen either. But as for Milder and Garland…I like their acting more.

    1. Bob:
      Jose completely renovated and updated Mesón Salvador a few years ago. He did a great job. I love the backgrounds in my photos (anyway, I can’t wait for the day we can have dinner there again and hang out for hours).

  6. I love that song. One of my favorites by Bette. How can you have a plant to get a cutting from if there wasn’t a seed to begin with? I buy seedless watermelons because I can’t find the ones with seeds anymore. How can one grow a seedless watermelon without seeds? I’ve got a headache. Going to bed now. 7:30 is late for me.

    1. Deedles:
      Science! Don’t ask me. I majored in art. (Also one of my favorites by Bette… although I’ll never forget Oh, ya gotta have friends!)

  7. Oh, I remember that song. It was so popular when I was in middle school. I never thought about the seed line! Funny.

    Those desert roses are beautiful! The kid brother cracks me up.

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