Why the hell is there so much about roses? The short answer: I have no idea. I really didn’t see this one coming.

I was supposed to obsess over tomatoes. As is broadly understood, people of Mediterranean origin are typically hard wired such that, as they approach their 40s, certain genes abruptly activate, thereby compelling the poor souls to devote countless hours to the cultivation of assorted vegetables — generally with a heavy bias towards the nightshade family. Not to say this didn’t happen — indeed, it certainly did — but by the spring of 2016, the population of roses in our tiny yard rose dramatically, and they began to outnumber tomatoes.

My plight last winter included a selection of light reading

I blame David Austin.

The moment we bought a colonial-style house with a front porch, I envisioned chairs in the front and yellow roses growing up the pillars. This seemed a simple home improvement — figure out which yellow climber was best, maybe plant a white one in the middle, and call it a day. So I hit Google, happened upon some photos of the David Austin variety Graham Thomas, confirmed through a bit more research it should work well, and submitted an order.

By April, the planting was done and I moved onto planning raised beds for some vegetables. That was it… until it wasn’t.

Here’s the problem: David Austin’s nurseries do not affix warning labels to their products. Had I picked some random Home Depot special, there would have been no issue (and, likely, this website would not exist). But I didn’t, hence it does.

To make a long story short, David Austin selections, starting with that first Graham Thomas, are far more entertaining than I expected — and have proven a far more effective stress reliever than I could have imagined. Pains in the ass at times, to be sure, but rewarding too. And so I rage on.