It is the season of the dog rose [Rosa canina]. As June begins its simple, open flowers fill hedgerows and wander in wild places. As summer moves into autumn small, orange-red rosehips form. Bees, butterflies and birds find food and shelter amidst its thorny branches.
The dog rose is not generally grown in gardens. It flowers just once and for a few brief weeks. It has scent but not such that it is likely to stop you in your tracks. The roses form on short, spiny stems unsuitable for cutting. But the flowers are abundant and free and sing of early summer.
When I lived in London I took on an allotment. Plots are meant to be cultivated, full of planned for, planted and productive plants. But a year or so in, a dog rose arrived of its own choosing. I imagine a blackbird feasting on rose hips and then flying to rest on my allotment and letting fall the seed. Should I remove it? I decided to let it be. It had come to me and it felt right to receive it. Every June it flowered, giving joy to the surrounding lettuces and beans. For much of the rest of the summer it snagged me with its thorns, no matter how carefully I pruned it. And then the hips came, softening and becoming sweet with the first frost.
The dog rose reminds me of joy in seasons: being present to the wonder within each breath of time. It takes but a moment to look and say ‘thank you’ for what we gaze at. But through that moment we are taken into a relational world where, like the dog rose, we too have our place and our significance.
Perhaps too, it confirms for me that life is not only what we plan for, but also what we receive unexpectedly and not worked for. When the ground is receptive, who knows what might come...who might come...how it might change us?