Monday, March 21, 2011

The first full day of Spring....sweet memories/ramblings

Today is the first full day of Spring here in Indiana...whats a girl to do? Well, this morning I entered the garden and immediately saw the snowdrops hanging their little white heads so I tiptoed past them quietly so I wouldn't wake them. The ground was wet. It is soaking in every drop of rain to make for bigger and brighter blooms. Buds are on the lilac trees and signs of green were everywhere.
Lilacs in bloom 2008A few purple Crocus were a welcome sight. As I stood near the tiny tea area behind the Forsythia bush and stared at the old Rhododendron, once a beautiful bloomer, now just a bare twig which had been eaten by the hungry deer over the winter I felt a bit sad. This was the spot I would sit with mom hiding from the cool winds in the Spring sipping hot herbal tea and planning our ventures to Michigan. Our spot to get out of the beaming sun on a hot Summer day as we shared lunch together and discussed which flowers I should add to the garden in the Fall. Many topics were discussed sitting beside that old Rhodie, oh if it could talk!

Looking around the garden I felt hopeful and so fortunate to have such a spot of my own to work in, laugh in, share thoughts in, stitch in, and sometimes cry in. A special place where I can still explore with child like curiosity and dream of future happenings, reminisce of days past like when my father surprised me with the front arched trellis one Easter.
The back archway trellis from dad I try to remember the day he brought it over. I'm sure he had a big smile and was feeling so proud to have made something for our new old home. Another arrived that Autumn for the back entrance.
I inherited my love of growing, planting, digging and keeping my garden from him. Mom would plant flowers in pots and perennials but the deep rooted gardening part came from dad. Although he grew veggies, and teased me and mom for wasting time with flowers, I knew the day the archway arrived that he was thrilled I kept a garden.

Spring time is always bittersweet as memories flood my mind of days shared with my father talking "garden talk". Every time I would go to visit dad was in his garden. He would just sit many times staring across the rows of squash,green beans,tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and so on. It wasn't until I brought him back a large sage plant from a Michigan jaunt that he started growing herbs. I remember one time when he called me down to the garden to see his new plantings. One plant grabbed my attention right away. It was a beautiful globe shaped plant with pretty blueish green fancy leaves which I had never seen before. Had he started growing flowers? Hardly, it was an herb known as "Rue". Neither of us knew what to use it for then and we laughed out loud for the longest time. We later discovered its purpose in his extensive Organic Gardening magazine collection which he valued as if they held the answers to all things important. I guess in a way, to him they did. It was his passion and pride to bring healthy food to his family.

Dad had a large garden planted just before he passed away in August 2001 and we harvested it that Autumn for the last time. We couldn't bring ourselves to disturb the place he loved so much. It could never be the same however something good other than memories came from it. My brother began a garden during dad's last few years and he continues to plant my fathers tomatoes from seeds he dried from the last harvest. They are the best tomatoes and we all continue to enjoy dad's gifts every year.

I hope to be able to celebrate Spring one day without the heartstrings being tugged. Perhaps it will never be. When others ask when does the pain of losing a parent or loved one subside, I honestly reply, "Never". You just try to accept it and keep the memories alive by finding a quiet spot in the garden. I'll see you in the garden..................


  1. Pat, your words are so touching and heartfelt. The photos of your garden and your father's fabulous handiwork are beautiful. Lilacs are my mother's favorite. I look forward to your gardening posts, especially seeing the lilac in full bloom. Precious photos of your parents in their budding years! Have a peaceful week. ~ Angela

  2. Pat, are you a beautiful spring, beautiful living here in Holland is too much water, I love forests, and in general nature.
    As I visit with my kids is my homeland, I am very happy, because Poland is a lot of beautiful nature, until they want to return back to the humid climate.
    I cordially greet,....

  3. You are so right - our loved ones may be gone, but their memories always bring that bittersweet tug. But thank goodness for memories! Beautiful post, Pat! Hugs, Cathy

  4. Wonderful, reflective post, Pat. Spring always has a bittersweetness to it: new growth and new beginnings on one hand, and the other- losing both parents in spring one year apart. I too, caught my green thumb from my father.

  5. Lovely tender post.

  6. There's nothing quite like gardening, I love the quet time to reflect on the day and figure out all the worlds problems. It keeps my sanity and brings back fond memories of my Grandmothers garden when I was small. Thanks for the memories. Here's to all the wonderful Dads like yours!

  7. Oh wow....this post and the last few back really got to me. Very,very touching...tears flowing.
    Every corner I turn in my yard stirs up a memory. Your post made me think of a few years back when my Uncle, a masterful gardener, died. I couldn't travel to Maryland to the funeral but it was late spring so I went in my yard and did what I had watched him do in his yard countless times as a child ~ prune my cherry tree. Then I went in the house and made some southern style potato salad and ate it for lunch at the same time my family would be having lunch after the service.And there is Jake living under the oak tree.It goes on and on. The bitter part of loss is the ache in the heart but the sweet is letting them live on through us.Oh Patsy seems sometimes there is a strange bit of comfort even in the heartache.......

  8. A very heartfelt post Pat. We are so lucky to have such beautiful gardens to ponder and remember the bitter and the sweet memories of those we have loved and who still live on in us through the beauty created in planting and planning and building structures to tie all this together.
    I dread the day when I can't go out and walk amongst the beauty of the trees, the roses, the vegies and the flowers. It helps us so much to find happiness in the present moment as this is our life!


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