The Uphill Slide

There is always something.



Roses are red and pink and yellow and white and orange and striations and blends and metamorphic. There are secret gardens and parks and amazing places in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Some people know. Lots of people are ignorant of their existence. Then someone puts them out there, “Check this out.” Doug Oster posted to his Facebook page an offer to show the Rose Garden at Renziehausen Park to anyone who wanted to come. I never heard of it. A famous garden in McKeesport? Are you excited? Well, I was. Strolling in gardens makes my day. Walking past blooms lights me up. Walking in the woods makes me contemplative about an amazing world and seeing it all. Who was I waiting for? But I will qualify that I’m not a rose aficionado. As a gardener, I thought them finicky. As a stroller, they are exquisite. A plant of beauty from it leaves to thorns to bud and bloom.

The tour was well-attended despite the conflict with the Stanley Cup celebration. I was a little torn about whether to go to the parade or the rose garden. But the rose garden had been on the calendar first. Who knew the Penguins were going to win the Stanley Cup or in how many games?  I missed the parade but did go down to join the excitement in the black-and-gold-confettied-streets later and dunk my toes into the fountain at Point Park with no admonishment from police or park rangers who kept circling.  Return to the roses. Yesterday was Flag Day. One woman came dressed in all the colors of our flag from earrings to shoes. Not team Penguins, team USA.

The garden is moving towards a centennial. According to the McKeesport Garden Club President, the city during the boom years of steel kept the garden going for its residents, then it fell to some neglect during WWII. Currently the garden survives strictly on grants and donations and plants sales and hosting weddings and photo ops. The work of weeding and planting and pruning and mowing? All volunteer. This very day was weeding day. People down on their knees pulling from the mulch. Others using long-handled hoes to mix it up while standing erect. Yesterday was one of those we bring up in conversation. “How ya doin?” “Great, it’s a hot one!” It was a very hot one in full sun strolling and sniffing. You have to stop and smell the roses. Ah, the fragrance of perfume. But one of the days when trickling waterfalls go down from neck to crack and my hair under a hat is plastered to my forehead. The kind of day that makes you sweat like a pig (Do pigs sweat a lot? Note to self. Look that up.) The sunny hot days of summer that I anticipate their approach and arrival each year. Not a sun worshiper of the bathing suit kind. A sun worshiper of “just makes me happy.”

Standing on steps at the start looking at a gentle slope. A landscape of green and brown and bright colors in linear rows divided by wide grassy paths with a bricked path in the middle and a gazebo shelter to take a rest. There are more than roses to this arboretum. A long perennial row on the upper side with a water feature near the clubhouse. A plot of grasses and another for butterfly loving plants. Shrubs. Metal archway. Metal trellises for climbers. Concrete benches to stop and sit a while. The roses exquisite but some blooms, petals prematurely struck off by our rain the night before. The next big flush to visit will be in early September but visit anytime for love of the rose. They open at 7 AM. Love of the rose. Love of the garden. Love of nature. Just love.

Let the roses speak for themselves in the linked gallery. My Galaxy 7 and Coolpix do not do the justice of the naked eye.

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