When we were recently in India, we stayed at the ashram of our guru, Nani Ma. We knew that the majority of our time would be spent volunteering at the hospice she helps run, but I also felt my heart calling out the mantra “use me as you need me”. Speaking these words to Nani Ma, she let us know that she could most certainly use help with the ashram garden!
Monsoon season had just finished and everything had grown into a jungle after the abundant rains. Michael set off to trim a large section of grass by hand and I was given the task of weeding the flower beds and pruning the rose bushes. Weeding I’ve done, but rose pruning notsomuch. Enter google and searching “how to prune rose bushes”.
I read through all of the instructions, grabbed some rusty shears and set off to do my best. Most of the rose bushes were incredibly overgrown, so I began hacking away. Snip, snip, snip… There was a satisfaction about hacking away all of the dead branches. I got through a few bushes and stood back to examine my work. “Oh no!”, I uttered in my mind. Surely I must have done something wrong. All that was left of the once robust bushes were a dozen or so big, naked stalks sticking up out of the ground.
Feeling nervous that I’d butchered these poor bushes, I sent a photo of what I’d done to a friend skilled in gardening. She assured me that I had pruned them perfectly. That it was necessary to get rid of all the overgrowth and dead bits in order for the bushes to stand a chance at growing and blooming properly next season. Can you say metaphor?!?
I’ll leave you with these instructions that I followed…even if you don’t ever prune a rose bush, I think they’ll feel quite applicable to life in general. Read them slowly and allow the sweet metaphors to sink in.
Heavy pruning is essential to insure the prolific bloom and long-life of a rose bush.
Cut away all the dead wood first -- it will help you "see" the true shape and form of the bush without distraction.
Remove all growth on the main canes that does not appear capable of sustaining a reasonably thick stem on its own. This will require you to cut off some blooms and even buds. Don't be scared!
Every time you cut off old blooms and remove twiggy growth you are actually promoting new growth and beauty that would not have otherwise been possible.