My husband and I have moved around a lot in our marriage and with each successive home my gardening hobby grew. We’ve lived in our current home for sixteen years, by far the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. What a treat it has been to finally be around long enough to see some of my plants mature!
My parents lived in their lake home for about fifteen years, and during that time my parents both enjoyed gardening. My dad tended fruits, vegetables, and the stately pecan trees that anchored their yard. My mother loved flowers and added to the beds that she inherited, and added more. They both took a lot of pride in keeping their home and yard looking its best, as it sat on a prominent corner in their small lake community.
While visiting my parents late one spring, I had the idea to write about my mother’s garden. Looking back, I believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and a gift of God’s perfect timing. I took lots of pictures and spent time interviewing my mother, writing and editing, to share her labor of love through my blog. Her garden seemed to be at its peak, the culmination of about fifteen years of hard work. Late in her 70s, my mother spent endless hours, sometimes all day, working outside. Now, at 60, I’m feeling a noticeable difference in my strength and stamina, and marvel at how long my mother was able to keep that up!
A year or two after I wrote that blog post, all of a sudden my mother was done gardening. She just lost interest. Then a short time later, after my dad passed away, it was time for her to leave that home to move closer to my sister. As we prepared their house for sale, for new owners to enjoy its wrap-around porch, the expansive yard, the water views, and the natural beauty, I couldn’t help but wonder, would they be gardeners, too? Would they appreciate and nurture the plants that my parents had planted there? I’m so glad that I wrote that post. What a treasure it has become to me!
Gardening takes a lot of work. Almost daily, there are weeds to pull to prevent nature from reclaiming the space. When that nurturer is gone, it’s amazing how quickly their endeavors can disappear beneath sprouting trees and weeds! Sometimes a homestead’s new owners are also gardeners who delight in discovering the verdant treasures. In other cases, the new owners have no appreciation and mow over flower beds that were labored over for many seasons, or cut down fruit-bearing trees.
I was reflecting on these things one day in my own garden. Despite my allergies acting up, dirt and sweat in my face, I was tending my flower beds; pulling weeds, transplanting, pruning, and watering. As much as I love it, there will come a day for me, too, when I’m no longer here, or able to garden anymore. When that time sadly comes, I hope that someone will enjoy the work I’ve done.
I’ve started thinking about pre-ordering my headstone and reserving my cemetery plot. Then I could plant some daffodils and peonies. On my headstone, maybe I’ll add “A Gardener was Here.”
I’d like to dedicate this post to my lovely mother, Melissa, who nurtured both me and my love of gardening.