There is nothing quite like down-on-your-hands-and-knees gardening. My un-gloved hands break up clumps of dark, cool loam, pull out the weeds and smooth out the surface. I revel in the rich feel of all that dirt, magical dirt. Just add flowers and water!
Planting flowers can turn any frown upside down and turn any lament into pure delight. Works for me, every time. And did you know that talking to the precious blooms, especially the pansies, sets the stage for laughter and enduring memories?
One day a long time ago, my Dad was out planting the annuals in the back garden. He loved gardening, when he had the time to do it, and if he could amuse his three daughters at the same time, well that really was a red letter day. So on this one morning my sisters and I, noses pressed tight up against the window screen, watched Dad plant pansies.
For our entertainment, he talked to his little plants in a voice not unlike that of the late Jonathan Winter's character, Maude Frickert. An old reedy, wheezy voice with a bit of a southern drawl wafted up to the window, "Well aren't you just a little cutie. Let's just get you set up right in here. Oh, such a sweetie. Now what about your other little friends here? They want a special place just like you. Oops, don't you worry about those little wormies. They're your friends too."
We hung on every word, suppressing giggles and jostling each other. What neither we nor Dad knew was that our neighbour, hidden by the fence, was also crouched down in her garden not two metres away from Dad. At some point she went to the fence to investigate the chatter.
Dad kept right on talking to the flowers, "Oh look at you, such a pretty yellow dress." At some point I guess he must have felt her eyes burning into his back. We watched him ooze his head around to look over the fence. We saw the colour go out of his face. Then we heard a woman's voice say as sweetly and slowly as possible, "Well they are pretty aren't they?"
We slid from our places at the window, hands clutching our mouths, giggles bubbling up inside us. I don't think Dad ever talked to the flowers again, at least while anyone was within earshot.
Do I talk to my pansies? You betcha! And not just the pansies, but the begonias, gazanias, geraniums. and more!
Together we enjoy many a lovely chat come sun or cloud. There are no little faces pressed up against a window screen watching me and no neighbours listening in, but I'm never alone. My Dad is always right there beside me chatting away. It's a family tradition!
|Mom & Dad, August 1971|
©2016 April Hoeller