It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.


I have this one rose bush. It’s a particularly troublesome rose bush. To be blunt, this rose bush is an asshead.

It’s all wonky and spindly and I don’t know how, but it grows thorns made out of Tarantula fangs. It’s always the very first rose bush to get black spot, drops every leaf it has and more often than not looks ugly. It also scratches people on purpose.  Usually on their forearms and upper backs.  True story.

Ironically this rose bush produces the most beautiful roses in my garden.  Black, scrawny, scarred stems, filled with deadly sharp thorns, leading up to the most beautiful, full, cheerful looking rose you’ve ever seen. It’s like someone dropped Shirley Temple’s head on Amy Winehouse’s body.



So why do I keep this asshead rose around?  Because it’s November 4th and that sucker is still producing roses. Every other plant in the garden is dead, dried up, frozen, limp or liquified. But not this thing.   This thing is still growing perfect roses.

So even though the calendar says it’s over.  Even though every other plant in my garden says it’s over.  This miserable rose bush says differently.  Every single November, it says it ain’t over til it’s over.

So yesterday I ventured outside in the freezing cold to clip the very last memories of nice weather.  The last of the roses and a few rose hips.



I brought em inside, made a hot chocolate, lit a fire and started arranging roses from the garden.  That was a bit weird.

I didn’t have a lot to work with but you don’t really need a lot.  So if you have a backyard or um … access to one … go have a look to see what you can find.  If you can look past the mess of a fall garden in distress you might just find enough to fill a …


Mason Jar



A Jug



or A Retro Nut Bowl



When you only have 4 or 5 (slightly weatherworn) roses and a handful or rosehips you’re best not to try to make a perfect arrangement.

Let em just pile up however they want.  They’re in old age and frankly a bit crotchety.  Just let them rest where they may.

And watch your back.



  1. Andrea Claire says:

    #1 FUNNY!
    #2 – ever thought DIY Rosehip tea? Or DIY Facial Mist??

    • Karen says:

      Andrea! Thx.! I’ve always loved the idea of Rosehip tea, but could never be bothered to make it because #1 Figured I’d hate it (LOL) and #2 Don’t want to cut all the pretty rose hips outside. They look nice in the winter! ~ karen

  2. Dane Caldwell says:

    I have 2 rose bushes just like that. Well, I inherited them from the previous owner who probably sold the house because the rose bushes were so pathetic.

    Anyway, just wanted to say how much I like them in your nut bowl!


    • Karen says:

      Thanks Dane! I love that nut bowl too! It looks great no matter what’s in it. Oddly … I don’t know that I’ve ever put nuts in it. ~ karen

    • Bess says:

      I second the love of the nutbowl–those roses look great in there.

      And the Shirley Temple head on Amy Winehouse’s body comment means that I need to make sure I’m done drinking my coffee BEFORE reading your blog, or as the phrase goes on the intertubz, I’m gonna need a new keyboard. 😉

  3. I love roses – even the asshead ones. I’ve just planted some in my garden because there is something right with life when you can pluck a fresh rose from your garden and stick it in a cute jar.

  4. Tracy says:

    What’s the groovy, white,marbly,platter,cutting board looking thingy that the roses are on in picture # 1 ? I REALLY need it ! Thanks, Tracy

    • Karen says:

      Tracy! The marble thing is a pastry board. At least that’s what I used it for! One of my sisters got it for me at a flea market years ago! ~ karen

  5. Your photographs are outstanding!

  6. Todd@PhitZone says:

    “It’s like someone dropped Shirley Temple’s head on Amy Winehouse’s body.”

    I seriously LOL’d on that line.

    Roses are funny creatures. At our (now) rental house, we had a rose bush in the front yard. It was THE worst place for a rose bush. But, as long as I kept it pruned, it would keep spitting out flowers until it just got too cold.

  7. Melissa says:

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who had an eternal rose bush! Even though I have neglected it completely all season, it is still sprouting beauty. I’m going follow your lead and cut some tonight to bring inside. This might be the end.

    By the way, I’m addicted to your blog – I think you’re great.

  8. Oona says:

    We have a rose bush like this, also inherited from the previous owner. I hate it. I like small, compact, symmetrical, organized landscaping and this guy is all “Hey, look at me! I’m messing up your aesthetics and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Because the Mr. loves roses and won’t let me did the damn thing up. But it is still blooming, so I guess that’s something.

    • Karen says:

      I love a nice symmetrical landscaping too. Love it. Doesn’t suit the front of my house though. That’s why I did what I did to my backyard. Neat and tidy. Until a single leaf falls at which point it somehow seems to look like a disaster. ~ karen

  9. Butter says:

    BEAUUUUUUTIFUL roses. That first image is just gorgeous – sucked me right in. I love to read and find unique observations and lines. So funny, your line “It’s like someone dropped Shirley Temple’s head on Amy Winehouse’s body.” And “asshead”makes me laugh. This was a treat to read and to look at – I can’t stop staring at these pictures. Just gorgeous…a feast for the eyes and spirit. Thank you.
    – Butter
    (from Running On Butter)

  10. kristin says:

    I love the rose hips.

  11. Paulina J! says:

    Love how you take something simple and make it wonderful. Also loved “They’re in old age and frankly a bit crotchety.” Immediately made me think of a cute, old crochety grandpa that you can’t get mad at because old age entitles them to say or do as they please. Maybe that’s why the rose bush attacks.

  12. Natalie says:

    Oh man…shirley temple’s head on amy whinehouse’s body? HAHAHAHA! That’s a pretty colorful/vivid description 🙂 What an interesting character this rosebush is. Tough as nails, but still a producer of beauty…and pain.

  13. magali says:

    I have a rosebush like that too in my backyard. My boyfriend’s grandparents(who live beneath us) claim they are rare roses. Those Italians are always so proud of their gardens and flowers and thanks to them I have the nicest backyard in town. After reading this post I went to look outside and there are still 10 good roses, which really is quite something considering we live in Montréal. I won’t go cut them though, that may make grandpa (92 years old grandpa) kick the bucket early.

  14. Alisha says:

    I moved into a place last year with a cute little courtyard and a completely dead garden. Zero nutrients in the soil so I slowly started planting little things. With the watering that came with the new plants, a tiny little rosebush popped up from nothing. I didn’t plant it, it was just dormant under the dead soil begging for water. So it arrived this last spring and it’s only 6 inches tall and it has bloomed SEVEN times and is still blooming! I love your November blooming Rosebush.

  15. deborahinPS says:

    The way you take us along with your adventures is so danged charming. A girl knows her stuffs doncha?
    And your crotchity ole rose bush does put out bunches of loveliness…lucky you!

  16. Jessica says:

    Oh wow! Those roses are beautiful!
    I can’t keep any plants alive, much less through to November. Maybe I need to find some badass never-say-die kick-you-in-the-face rose bushes… then fill my yard with them.

  17. Lisa says:

    Love the word asshead. Except if I use it it will sound crap,me being English…arsehead..? Not so good.

  18. Sam says:

    I have a rose like this – but its yellow and is still flowering despite the torrential rain in England. I once had a gardener (oh glory days) and she told me to cut it right down every year about now and that’s what I’ve been doing for about 5 years and it comes back every spring and flowers until….well I cut it back.
    But please don’t hate me if your’s doesn’t like it and dies.

    • Karen says:

      Sam! I often hack my roses back. Certain ones you can hack, and others you cannot because they only flower on the previous year’s woods. But you’re right, I should look at my notes here at home to see if the offending rose in my garden is a floribunda, or a David Austin, or a Grandiflora or BundiGrandiFloraDavidAustin. Good thinkin’! ~ karen. Oh! And it will still be entirely your fault if it dies. 🙂

  19. Mary Werner says:

    Love this post. My hubby dug up an old one and planted it for me. It too was ugly except it bloomed all the time. I cut it back and fertilized and it went into shock for over a year. I didn’t repeat that again. Twenty years later after hubby died, I moved out and the bush died that very week. Maybe a rose is a rose is a rose but some are more than just a rose. LOVE YOUR POSTS and strangely, love to read the comments too.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mary! And you’re not the only one. Everyone loves to read the comments. I tend to draw an entertaining and interesting crowd apparently. 🙂 ~ karen

  20. Sarah van der burch says:


    Great blog. I have just started reading it and will return. Just wondering where I can get those jugs you have the roses in and are in the kitchen photos? Love the look. Also love the shelving on your house. Did you build those?

    Cheers Sarah

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sarah – Glad you found my site! The cream enamel jug is from Ikea. They come in 3 sizes … I have all 3. ‘Cause how could I not. I’m not sure what shelving you’re talking about, but if it’s the white book cases in the front hall (with the sheepskin chair) they’re Billy bookcases from … Ikea. 🙂 ~ karen

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