No. 7 in a Series of 253,486.

ROSE (Rosa).—Roses are hideous and invasive spiny monstrosities brought about by the curse on Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:18). They infest roadsides, waste places, and the edges of forests; but by far their favorite habitat is the hard-won plot of the hapless urban gardener.

Not much can be done once a rose has got a foothold in the garden. Cutting roses back produces bushier and more vigorous roses. Pouring boiling salt water on them only seems to encourage them. Digging them out always misses a few of the roots, resulting in a multiplication rather than a subtraction of roses. Small arms have little permanent effect, and explosions large enough to destroy the rose will generally destroy the rest of the garden and the adjacent house as well. Withering sarcasm produces temporary depression but does nothing to curb the rose’s long-term joie de vivre. The only sure way to keep roses out of the garden is to prevent their getting in in the first place, for which constant vigilance is required.

It is said that some species of rose may occasionally produce moderately attractive flowers, but this is no excuse for relaxing our vigilance and tolerating the pests. Zinnias have much more colorful flowers and lack both the rose’s thorns and its invasive habits, politely vacating the garden at the first hard frost.

Most herbs are traditionally said to be governed by one of the celestial powers; but from what has already been said, it should be patently obvious that the rose is a government unto itself.