Green Fingers: A Cherished Garden

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Nature Space

In Grandad's Green-House

At the end of this month my grandparents move out of the house that’s been their home for the last 45 years. It’s a place that’s so familiar to me – a place that has always felt like home. The kind of place that when you walk through the front door, you’re enveloped with that wonderful comforting feeling of belonging.

However, more often than not, as soon as you walk in the front door, you walk through the house and out of the back door, because Grandad would be in his garden – his natural habitat.

He loves that garden. Has spent many many many hours digging over soil, pulling up weeds, trimming fruit trees, tending to the tomatoes. When I picture Grandad in my head, I see him in his garden. It’s from him that I learned the names of flowers, the importance of timing when planting, and the solace one finds in surrounding oneself with nature.

I have such a clear memory from when I was very small, of sitting in Grandad’s greenhouse on an upturned bucket, helping Grandad transplant lobelia seedlings from one polystyrene box to another. These teeny tiny plants were huddled together, cramped up close in the box, all striving for an advantage, for just enough sunlight to grow and be strong – to flourish. Grandad gently gently teased them apart using an old fork, and then placed them in their new box, spaced apart, free to grow, free to thrive.

My own chubby childish fingers struggled to pluck out these baby plants without squishing them. Grandad, however, deftly disentangled miniscule roots and carried them the short distance to their new home. And after a few failed attempts, I too managed to transplant a few seedlings, although my rows were a bit squiffy and my baby plants a bit bedraggled.

I know that even although Grandad is leaving this garden behind, he leaves the soil richer for his attentive actions. He leaves a garden well-cherished.

Grandad is already looking out for his new greenhouse to go in his new garden, where he’ll continue to spend many many many hours transplanting seedlings, tending tomatoes, watering pot plants. And maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to sit with him for a while and transplant lobelia seedlings on some warm spring day…


7 Responses to “Green Fingers: A Cherished Garden”
  1. Anne Maybus says:

    This is a lovely tale, Amy. How hard for them (and you) to let go of their home after so many years. It does sound as though your Grandad is looking ahead, though, doesn’t it? I wish you both many more happy years pottering together in his shed.

  2. Joanna Young says:

    He leaves the soil richer…

    Something for us all to aspire to Amy.

  3. Stacey says:

    What a lovely tribute for such a lovely man! Thanks so much for sharing! Much love, Stacey

  4. Bo Mackison says:

    I too had a grandfather who taught me gardening and so much more. Lovely memories. Thank you.

  5. Hilary says:

    Hi Amy – wonderful memories .. and you’ll have them forever. I too remember playing in our own garden, and my grandparents garden .. sharing their pleasure in the fruits of the garden, the flower cuttings .. He seems a wise man – to look forward to the new garden, and not be frightened of moving on .. good for him. And a loving family to help them both through the move ..

  6. I’m at the other end of this now, sharing happy hours with my toddler grandson. Your words have reminded me that those hours need not be spent entirely in play (or hugs, or reading) but in sharing tasks, elemental tasks which allow us to cherish yet more, the time together.
    And they have reminded me too, of my long lost grandpa and the joy he took in his garden and the pleasure I shared with him there.
    The photograph is wonderful, Amy. Extraordinarily evocative. x