Today’s post is a difficult one for me. My grandma passed away today. She was a delightful lady who made an impression on everyone she met. She had a dynamic personality that very few people ever forgot. She was 90 years old and the last survivor of her immediate family. And she was the one that first ignited the spark of gardening in me.
Perhaps there is a house in your neighborhood or town where the yard is awash with flowers. Everyone knows the house that you’re speaking of when you mention it: “you know, the one on the corner with all of the flowers”. That was grandma’s house. She took such pride in her yard when she was able to keep up with it. She loved pansies but never liked white flowers. She said that they looked dead when they were spent. Her and I would spend time in her borders weeding and deadheading. When her body wouldn’t let her deadhead her daffodils any more, the men in the family spent time clipping the spent flowers after her birthday celebration one year. She thought that was so comical. She looked forward to going to Maybelle’s in the spring and picking out flowers for her garden. In fact, that was my first “job” in horticulture. I would cut the tops off of paper bags for the customers to carry their plants home in while my grandma and Maybelle would talk. I was paid a quarter for my efforts.
My grandma has a strict rule when it came to gardening too: you could never thank someone for a plant that they gave you (a “slip” she called them)…that was bad luck. And you could never throw a plant away, even if it wasn’t particularly healthy. She took great pride in showing off the arborvitae that she purchased for a quarter because it wasn’t looking too good at the nursery…she nursed it back to health and was quite proud of it.
Besides giving my grandma the honor and respect that she deserves, I want to encourage you to make gardening memories with your loved ones. Perhaps you have children or nieces and nephews; I encourage you to spend time with them in the garden and teach them how fun it can be to dig in the dirt. Or perhaps you have an elderly parent or grandparent that loves to garden. I encourage you to spend time with them in the garden helping them with the chores that perhaps they can’t accomplish any more. My grandma used to say that she never felt closer to the Lord than when she was digging in the dirt. It was a time when she could reflect and be quiet with Him. Well Grandma, you are with Him now. And now it’s time for me to say “thank you”. Thank you for all of the memories that you created with me and the rest of the family. Thank you for loving your family more than we could ever know. One of grandma’s favorite expressions was “I am what I am”. Thank you for being you.
I love you.