Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gardening in Memoriam

One of my earliest memories of my father revolves around his garden in the rear yard of the house we moved to in 1949 in Hunter Street in Hornsby. Our house fronted Hunter Street, and reared Albert Lane. All of this, sadly, is now part of a Westfield complex. Dad's garage come workshop fronted Albert Lane. Between the workshop and the house was Dad's garden, on the southern fence. The dug plots for veggies are but a blur, the real attraction was the massive trellis Dad constructed along the fence to enable him to grow Sweetpeas facing the northern sun. He always grew from seed but, as luck would have it, one of the ways he turned a buck immediately post-war, was to crank out seedling boxes that he flogged door to door on his fruit'n'veg round through the leafy streets of Wahroonga and Turramurra. He, of course, started his Sweetpea seedlings in one of these boxes. The seeds were planted religiously every 17th March, St Patrick's Day, not that Dad was either Irish or religious, he just needed a method to hang his date-remembering neurones on. I do not recall him growing Sweetpeas on the farm at Denman, but he did grow them through all his years with Peggy, his second wife.

I am growing a trial patch of Sweetpea along a plastic trellis, and two trial pots of Sweetpea Bijou, to see if the Sweetpea-gene has crossed to my generation. Dad passed on in May 2011, one month shy of 90 years.

One of my earliest memories of my Uncle Gordon is of the south side of his house in Waitara Avenue, where he had a series of raised planks on which he tended his orchids, cymbidium orchids, if you please! I mainly remember it as dark, but then so many of my early memories involve 'the dark'. The significance of this eludes me. I am not sure if Uncle Gordon had a green thumb for other than cymbidiums, but then again if you have a way with orchids why would one bother with lesser specimens, I hear you ask. Gordon moved his family to Northbridge in 1964, and I remember either the same planking, or very similar planking up the back of their very large block. I would love to know how he developed his orchid specimens, but sadly that is no longer open to me. Gordon passed on in August 2011, two weeks shy of 92 years.

I have six pots of orchids on a bench in my rear garden, that I separated two years ago from two specimens given to me for my 60th birthday. I am 65 this coming August. It occurred to me today, as I raked, and fertilised, and watered, what plants I was growing, and probably why.

Vale you two.


Joan Elizabeth said...

I find I do many things in life "in memoriam" -- in fact I sometimes wonder if I am forging my own path at all!

Julie said...

There are some aspects of life where there is no space left on the pathway to forge for oneself. Gardening could be one of them - unless one is loaded. However, house decoration and room usage provides lots of room for individuality, more than our forefathers could have envisaged.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm a little older than you are, Julie, and am noticing my mother showing up in my actions and attitudes and tones of voice far more than when she was alive.
Maybe we start off doing the things our parents and close relatives do, because we are little mimics, then we forge ahead being individuals, and perhaps after 60 years the 3-year-old mimic comes back.
This would make an interesting study for a scientist, but I don't have enough data. I've always been fascinated by genetic memory or racial memory (i.e. the way I felt when in Scotland) but perhaps there's a part of it that's more up-close and personal.
Very interesting.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Ha ha, but in my home the foundation pieces of furniture were from my parents, in-laws, grandparents and even some bits from my great-grandparents.

I liked to collect their memories.

But of course my home is much larger than theirs and I have put them together in an individual way.