When You Smother

I absolutely destroyed the precious rose cutting I had been propagating. In my attempts to make warm, moist, greenhouse conditions, I covered the planted cutting with a large glass jar. For days and days, this worked, and I saw evidence of new growth. At last my “pink social climber” climbing rose would parent enough cuttings to fill out my trellis with blooms in years to come!

Then, the days of harsh sun and sweltering heat came. I never thought to remove that protective jar. And my cutting turned brown and shriveled from the heat, as if I actually incinerated it. Had I let the plant breath, had I given it space and cool, fresh air, it might have survived.

You can indeed smother. You can indeed provide the kind of protection that harms. I think about this as I launch one daughter off to a new city for college. I need to let family members breathe and root without that prison of protective parental heat all the time.

Today, my husband and I try again with new rose cuttings, better soil, and a vented greenhouse covering designed for airflow and cooling. We also discover a special soil additive that helps roses root. Our strategy involves nurturing and freedom rather than stifling. We have much to learn.

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