Year of Grace, Day 108. Nature’s freshest greens – rose leaves

I’ve been tidying up the garden little by little. It’s also an excuse to soak up sunshine outdoors and it’s lovely pruning roses in the sun, meagre though its light still is. The new leaves on some of the rose twigs have already unfurled, and their perfection in colour and form is a delight, as are the pinky-red tips on lengthening leaf buds. The leaves start out red and pink and yellow, before turning the palest of greens, as they begin to generate chlorophyll. In their delicate coloration, these baby leaves are as gorgeous as the blooms that will come later. And perhaps even more, to my eyes, as I had never before appreciated how truly exquisite baby rose leaves can be. Nature’s freshest greens are not just green — they reflect the rainbow!

Nevertheless it’s still several months before the last frost date, which is mid-May for Bonn, and so I hesitate to cut the withered ends, which offer some shield from the cold, but I waiver only briefly. I feel a sense of accomplishment pruning off the crisped, frostbitten tips. As well the bushes seem glad to be relieved of the extra weight, much as one appreciates the lightness that results from a much-deferred hair trimming. (I know how that feels – I’ve recently had about 5 cm (2 in.) trimmed off my hair and it’s still waist length, but the difference is quite palpable.)

Every day encourages more and more leaf buds out. Here is a sampling of the roses’ delights this early spring. Please click on each one to enlarge.