Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mum's the word

Saturday's Guardian ran a timely feature 'All about my mother' by Dominic Murphy where he talks to three high-profile gardeners and their mums about what they've learned from each other.  And what they've rejected....(2nd April,2011)
 This of course got me thinking about my Mum and her Mum ( my Grandmother Ivy) whilst I prepared the Mothering Sunday lunch.  Walking out into the garden to pick a small posie of primroses and grape hyacinths to put in a pretty little Lalique vase on the dinner table I contemplated the fact that by these very actions I may even have become my mother...
Then out again to pick the first of the mint  to garnish the potatoes and find some greens from the veg patch. Just these simple acts are learned from her.  It has become a pattern, a learned behaviour to interact in this way with my garden and I acquired it, well...at my mother's side.

Seasonal flowers in vases around the house, fresh veg from the garden, walks in the countryside peering over hedges at neighbour's plots was just the beginning really. Learning the names of wild flowers and pouring over the  'flower fairie' stories where each delectable fairy resembled its flowering namesake!

Later came trips to Ventnor Botanic Garden.  First lessons in propagation there in how to keep a nicked cutting fresh in some damp tissue and a plastic bag for the duration of a bus ride home.  Lemons grown from pips, sweet smelling lily of the valley in wild drifts around the conservatory, gaudy begonias in hanging baskets and a gardening friend call 'Miss Webb' who wore a long brown overall like Ronnie Barker in 'Open all Hours' who looked like a man and who actually earned a living as a jobbing gardener. These were all part of a childhood spent around my gardening mother and grandmother.

But my absolute favourite memory was the making of miniature gardens on a tray using a handbag mirror as the pond and other bits of plant material to create magical garden scenes.  My Gran had some tiny chinese porcelain figures, treasures from her past which she generously let me use in my garden once.  So my favourite creation became an oriental scene with bridge, pagoda and even a tiny fisherman with a dangling fish on a rod!

Little wonder then that I have been literally hooked on all things gardening since and why I would like to dedicate this blog to all gardening mothers and grandmothers everywhere. Thank you!

5 Comments:

At 3 April 2011 at 21:49 , Blogger Elephant's Eye said...

Some fynbos fairies to add to your collection.

 
At 4 April 2011 at 10:37 , Blogger Chris said...

Diane, thank you so much for adding this link. The fynbos fairies are a delight, coming as they do from such a wonderful fairie and plant kingdom!

 
At 4 April 2011 at 19:00 , Anonymous Nell Jean said...

What a thoughtful post! My mother was an organic gardener long before we knew what the term meant. Mama cut huge armloads of flowers like peonies to stuff into church vases. Not only did I learn from her but from also my MIL who gardened farther south and introduced me to more tropical plants like crinums and hippeastrum and camellias.

 
At 7 April 2011 at 10:47 , Blogger James Stapley said...

As a devourer of books (including at one stage the RHS Encyclopaedia of Gardening), my mother used to ask me for gardening advice! Of course, as a teenage boy, this was Not Cool, but then I didn't really bother about such nonsense. :)
I've always had an affinity for living things, whether it be peering under rocks or mucking about in the garden.

 
At 7 April 2011 at 11:13 , Blogger Chris said...

NJ: You are so right. We think we have 'discovered' something only to find out it's been around a long time. I so admire that generation. They really just got on with it....
JS: A 'Gardening Geek'! Fantastic! Your post really made me smile. The student becomes the teacher eh? Very zen....

 

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