Sunday, 13 March 2011

If you create a garden, do you ever die?

Home saved beans, from Grannies garden just arrived home tonight, tucked into my bag as I was leaving the house yesterday.
I'm not meaning to be maudlin, it's a real question. If you create gardens, propagate plants, sow and keep seeds like these beans, do you ever really die? We've recently lost the official 'head gardener' in our extended family. A mother figure, a friend, a real and wonderful 'granny' to my own children extended our own family greatly, with the addition of this wonderful friendship.

Many years ago, a chance meeting, our first cup of tea as we arrived to stay in her B&B and the tentative question from me, 'Can I look at your garden?' the reply a firm grin and a quick 'Of course! Do you garden?' sealed a firm friendship and many conversations about plants, gardens, children and life in general. For a few years we were neighbours, our family's friendships blossomed. We even got to Wisely together, no mean feat when we were both living on different remote scottish islands at the time! We miss her so. It's been a sad time, a very sad time. But, as we had a stroll around the garden with Grandad before we left for home yesterday, it was very apparent wherever we walked, looked, identified and prodded, granny's hard work was beginning to explode into life. All  around the garden her handiwork very much alive and kicking!
David Austin Recommended Variety - Anne Boelyn
From the pots and the cuttings, to the new rockery, the fruit trees and the herbs, all of her garden, beginning to wake up and bud. Bursting with life. And her roses, one planted for each of her children and grandchildren, newly pruned ready for growing again. She loves David Austin roses. I love that when she talked about plants, her first question would be 'Do you know it?' - a phrase I've copied and often used myself. As we continued our tour, the figs new growth in the heated greenhouse were especially poignant for me.
They are beginning to break bud and there were tiny fruit appearing on granny's fig trees. Fantastic! She'd propagated a few cuttings last year and I was given one last summer for my own. So when I came home late tonight and had a peek at it on the windowsill, leaves unfurling, coming back into life. My heart perked up a bit, 'granny's fig', beside a multitude of other of her cuttings, seeds, pots, books and magazines. All with such potential, all from her labours and very much still in everyday use. In my bag a new book that I had been given this weekend, as an early birthday present, one of her manuals for life and now my own bible. Very much appreciated, very thoughtful and will be treasured. It has an excellent section on being a self sufficient gardener, a good place to start!
I'll be back to visit in early summer, can't wait to see what's growing and we'll likely sit out by the lavender and the roses and enjoy their beauty. Being joined by the 'head gardener', who'll likely keep a watchful eye and be enjoying her garden with us. Hopefully where she is the seasons are always kind, the weeds are pretty and the insects are all helpful.Tomorrow I've about a kilo of her saved beans to sort, label and get ready for sowing later. She's still got us working hard, that head gardener of ours! I'm sure she always will. X
The children, much grown now, looking over the next job in the from the head gardener!


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss but, as you say, we never really lose the ones we love, espcially when they leave such a legacy behind.

  2. Thank you Anne, you're right - of course she'll be parked on a bench, cuppa in hand, keeping busy. I'm lucky to have been included as a 'adopted' part of her special family and we cherish it all and will continue to. Better not forget to tend that little fig either, or I'd get a row!

  3. My father is always at my elbow when I garden.

  4. What a lovely post, a real tribute to her.
    I'm sure she will be in your mind whenever you step into the garden.
    Your beans look lovely and healthy! What type are they?
    By the way, we have been watching a DVD - The Islands of Britain with Martin Clunes, I think it is only fairly new. Have been all around the Shetlands, know about Eigg and have been looking for mention of yours. Have you seen it?

  5. A fig is a fig, but those beans are glorious! Does the colour stay when you cook them? Or can you only enjoy that before they grow ...

  6. There is a lot of "nurture" in any one who gardens - a beautiful quality I always feel. I am always very suspicious of people who say they don't like gardening. xxxxx

  7. Hi Fay,
    Im sure that you will feel her 'keeping you right' when you are gardening.Sorry to hear your sad news.

  8. Oh Fay what a great post , you will think of her every step of the way....when you plant those beans, watching them grow and when you eat them well as when you dig the roots in to fix the nitrogen for the next crop :)

    I am sorry shes gone but pleased she won't be forgotten

  9. Just found you via blotanical - from one island gardener to another! What a lovely idea that someone who gardens never really leaves. A touching post. And I'm sorry for your loss but how good to have known such a special person.

  10. Lovely heartfelt post Fay x
    Lots of precious memories to remember her by and more will come to mind along the way,triggered by the scent of a flower or a new bloom, you will remember lots of small things you have both shared.I'm so sorry that you have lost someone so special but glad that you had the privilege to have had her as part of your life. xxx

  11. I wrote replies to you all and lost them - oh well best to say = thank you all! x

    Welcome to Harriet :) nice to see you on here

    I am sorry I couldn't call in past to see you squirrel family - another time perhaps!

    Hazel you're right my grandfather will be at one elbow and she will be at the other!

    Julie I need someone to keep me right!

    Duchess - I've never watched that DVD - I wonder if he did Orkney? They are a mix of different bean which will need to be labelled and identified! (Keeping me occupied eh?)

    Again thank you all for leaving a reply! xxx

    E-Eye, I'll try them and tell you!!

    Diane - very true!

  12. Dreamer - very true and I do feel very honoured - hope all well with you and the chickens! I will remember her alot - everyday - even far away we all were a great part of each other and our family life.


  13. anytime .....theres always fresh cake!

  14. Hi Fay, what a lovely post. Brought a wee tear to my eye - such a lovely

    My grandad's rose bush is proudly in my mum's back garden after being moved from its original place to my gran's sheltered home and then passed down to her. Lovely to think its still living on in their memory.

  15. I have some of those beans too, they are planted and sat in my bath lol

  16. Welcome Janine! Goodluck to the bath beans lets hope they are magic!

    Looking forward to a cuppa - no cake though - bleurgh - I hate cake :) but happy to meet up!!

    Thank you M PB - a good way to remember folk eh?