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For a long time I thought I could never keep plants. I kept spider plants, renowned for being impossible to kill, and they all died. I bought hardy plants specifically for the conditions in my bedroom, and still they died.

I gave up.

And then the dreams began. For the past few years I have been daydreaming of growing a beautiful garden. A place where the flowers smell gorgeous and transform themselves into fruit when the autumn comes. A place where the greenery is lush and deep and soothing to the spirit. A place to rest and work and play, for visitors, friends, and my family.

And I despaired! How could I ever grow this magnificent place of wonder if I couldn’t even keep a spider plant alive!

Last February, at Imbolc, when snow covered the ground, a friend gave me a bright bunch of daffodils. The flowers were like sunshine in the cold, cheering, comforting, and inspiring. I loved it and toyed with the idea of always keeping cut flowers on my windowsill.

And again, the plants in my care died. But this time they were cut flowers, so I was expecting it. And this time I decided to try again, but, flowers are so much nicer, I thought, when they are alive and growing and not about to die a week later. I chose life, I chose flowers that would keep blooming, that would stay alive, that would not have been hacked from the ground…

I went to the florists and found two blooming roses, one red and one yellow.

And they came home with me, as I danced through the snow, determined to look after these small pieces of life and light and hope for the summer.

They almost died within days. And I did not give up.

By some miracle (known as knowledgeable friends) I was guided in repotting them and I instigated a solid routine of care appropriate to roses.

Over a year later, my roses are still blossoming with hopes of summer and memories of warmth. They have grown to three times the size and are healthier than I ever expected them to be.

My dream of a wondrous garden seems that much closer now and I am collecting seeds to make a window box of herbs and flowers this spring. It seems that, with a little bit of determination, even I can grow a rose garden!!!

There are many things I thought I could never do because I have not managed it so far… and yet, every time I see my roses I am reminded that just because I failed at something once, it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, just that I didn’t do it then.  In the past I have given up on things when I couldn’t do them first time round, when they didn’t come easily. Now I’ve learnt that often, I need to learn at least a little more than what can be picked up in the first few minutes before I can do something properly, and I have also learnt that this is ok. Oh, and, that I can keep beautiful plants!