Category Archives: cancer treatment

This May in the Shenandoah Valley


The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April (May) day.
~Robert Frost

(Image from a past spring of my Abraham Darby rose, and below of my Bathsheba climbing rose taken last spring. Both are from David Austin)

May is a  balmy, blissful, sometimes treacherous month.  This May has been stressful on various fronts. I sometimes feel as if I’m clinging to a wind-tossed bough. Why the heck did they rock that poor baby in the tree tops, anyway? Crazy nursery rhyme.

Cold winds blasted my darling buds and frost struck not once but three times, after early spring warmth had lured everything out. My roses suffered. I even had iris buds freeze for the first time and the peonies were knocked back or out. Asiatic lilies froze beneath their covers… Weather can be sinister, and yes, I take it personally.


Despite a perilous spring, abundant beauty cloaks our green valley and my beloved garden is rebounding–including the roses. I’ve mulched them with rich wormy compost, added organic rose fertilizer, and I’m using Garden Sentinel, a new biofungicide/bacteriacide spray from Gardens Alive, an organic company. Its based on a naturally occurring bacteria and is fighting the black spot that struck after frost damaged their leaves. I also use liquid kelp to give them a boost. If the Japanese beetles arrive again in a plague of Biblical proportions, there are organic products for that too. Mostly I do hand-to-hand combat.

On the family front, May hit hard when our oldest daughter Alison, in her late 30’s, was stricken with a blockage in her colon and underwent emergency surgery. She went from not feeling well to being in severe pain in a matter hours. Thank God she had a highly skilled surgeon who got her through the surgery and successfully removed the mass. However, pathology reports said the tumor was cancerous and it had spread to one of the several dozen lymph nodes the doctor also removed, so she will have to undergo chemotherapy this summer. He assures us that chemo has come a long way in recent years and he’s confident she will make a full recovery. We pray so with all our hearts. If you have an encouraging cancer survivor story to share please do. We’ve lost too many dear friends and family to this monster.

Of course, we’ve still got Covid to hide from. Virginia is among the worst states for it, but we have a new C-word to worry us. I’m thankful for modern medicine. This is scary.

I’m also open to good rose growing suggestions.

And God bless us everyone.