Of Gardens and Grandmothers

The gardener was here this week.  He is turning our small grassy hill into a thing of beauty, part of preparing the house for the market. His strength is a wonder to behold as he attacks the solid clay on which we live, with seemingly  little effort.    I have always dreamed of living in a house with a beautiful garden (low-maintenance, of course) but I never seemed to be able to get it all together. Before we went away last year, we had a deck built out the back and now we, or at least the gardener, is  completing the grand plan, just in time for our move away.  How typical is that?

My grandmother had a wonderful garden. She and my grandfather lived in a small white cottage with a green roof and green shutters.  The front door was exactly in the middle, facing the road and there was a bedroom window on either side.  Just like the houses small children draw when they are first starting out. In the middle of the front lawn was the most wonderful weeping cherry tree.  It was huge and pink and beautiful and was chopped down with despatch by the new owners who bought the house after my grandmother’s death.  Oh – vandalism, thou art alive and well.  My grandmother was crazy about flowers and gardening.  She would be up at  five am, would pick masses of flowers from her garden, make up dozens of posies and take them up to distribute to the patients in the local hospital. I remember bunches of violets, floribunda roses and grape hyacinths – we used to call them Johnny Blue Boys, then.  She would take a hydrangea bloom and thread small blossoms through it, then slip the stems through a doily with a hole cut in the centre.  They looked wonderful and she would sally forth with several baskets of her creations at least once a fortnight.  She was a woman before her time, my grandmother.  She used to describe her occupation,  acerbically , as  “household drudge” and she used this title on official paperwork!  I wish I had known her when I was older.

Pink is Good
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