by, 11-19-2009 at 05:33 PM (1174 Views)
Comedian's gardening thread put me in mind of my Mum. She's a gardener, untrained and instinctive. Her house is on an ex council estate that boasts an example of every kind of The English Garden within it. A common “look” there is overgrown-with-attractive-rotting-sofa-feature. another favourite concept is the weedy- lawn- full-of-kids- toys. Getting more and more popular is the flagged-over-for-parking, also the wooden decking-with-outdoor-pots-and-built-in-barbie mark the encroachments of the buy-to-let entrepreneur.
My mother's house is unmistakeable, though practically invisible on account of the verdure that surrounds it. The neatly clipped front hedge and the boundary fences are - in an almost perfect metaphor of their life together,- my dad's responsibility. Within them, but barely contained, mum's garden runs free, her personality and desires made manifest in bursts of vegitation.
Walking up her garden path is an adventure, you get the feeling that if you stray from it you will be lost forever. Laburnum, Lilac and Flowering Currant overhang , clumps of Saxifrage and Camomile encroach onto the trodden way. Fuschia and Hebe brush a little too close for comfort. Every plant thrives and competes, each one seems to be straining to outshine its nieghbour. Drifts of pastle colours twist and merge together with blood red persicara exploding like fireworks above them. You have travelled about 6 paces.
Rather than try to describe the whole garden I'll cut to the most suprising thing about it:- My mum never seems to do any gardening at all! Her horticultural technique involves giving a young seedling a word or two of encouragement as she passes, letting her charges know they're appreciated, and moving anything that tells her it's unhappy . There is no seed she cannot persuade to germinate, every cutting will strike if she asks it to. You could say she has green fingers, but its more than that.
I reckon she is really Flora, goddess of flowers and fertility in the avatar of a little old lady. I imagine the flowers bowing down to touch the hem of her dress as she walks through her bower and new life bursting out of the ground in her wake.