Making sense of stuff

Long-time readers know that I don’t subscribe to any religion; I’m agnostic, a sceptic. There are lots of religions, lots of different beliefs and I greatly respect anyone’s religion and beliefs. Do I believe that only one of them is right, and the rest wrong. Hell no! I think they’re just different ways of articulating the same thing “the meaning of life.” So you might find it kind of amusing that I fondly imagine my late parents have been reunited in some Elysian spot and are still watching over me. Do I really believe that? No, but I do derive comfort from it and, at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

This is a rather odd way of introducing the subject of gardening. I love a beautiful garden, doesn’t everyone? What I don’t like is the back breaking work (and cost) that goes into developing and maintaining said garden. I have on numerous occasions talked about my lack of “green fingers” calling them digits of doom. In that respect I don’t take after my late mother who lavished endless amounts of time (and money) on her beautiful garden. It was always a blaze of colour and a welcome habitat for wildlife.

I used to pay for her RHS subscription and tickets to the annual Chelsea Flower Show as a small token of my appreciation of everything she did for me. She was enormously knowledgeable about flora and fauna and there are times, when I see something I don’t know the name of, I wish she was still around to ask. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently.

My father wasn’t as in to gardening as my mother but he did like a beautiful garden and was very particular about his velvety green, weed-free lawn. He had one of those mowers which leaves perpendicular stripes on the lawn and carefully used to trim the lawn’s borders. He would have no truck with a hover mower. Once he’d retired, he did take more of an interest in gardening and Mum gave him a small project, the creation of an alpine garden in one of the rockeries, which he enthusiastically embraced.

As my mother’s Alzheimers progressed, she stopped gardening even while she still claimed to b doing it. One of the first things my father did after her death was to restore her beloved garden to its former glory. He died not long after my mother and the house and garden were remodelled by my sister and brother-in-law. They’ve done their best but neither possess my mother’s passion for gardening. It looks nice but it wouldn’t win any prizes whereas my mother’s garden always elicited gasps of delight from everyone who saw it.

She would however be amazed to know that I’ve recently started watching documentaries about gardens and, in recent years, have much enjoyed visiting them. Our recent confinement has led me to taking more care of our much maligned terrace garden which only contains succulents. We’ve trialled lots of plants and bushes and even citrus fruits but none could withstand our indifference.

Our succulents come from the garden of a friend of my sister, who lives in nearby La Napoule. My younger sister, who bought our holiday home, discarded the fake topiary balls which I had put in the wide balcony trough, replacing them with cuttings of succulents from her friend’s French garden. Said cuttings have flourished as the trough is sheltered from the wind but benefits from both rain and sunshine. In fact they’ve flourished so much, she has to keep cutting them back. I get the cuttings. I just stuffed (literally) these into some pots on the terrace and did absolutely nothing to them.

Some of the more hardy species have taken root, others have withered and died. My weekend project during lockdown has been to nurse those on life support back to life and even add to my collection from plants I found on my daily rambles around the Domaine. This has been an unqualified success. Thanks to a spot of TLC, the garden is in bloom, literally.

My late parents, if they are indeed watching over me, would be much amused by my belated endeavours.

71 thoughts on “Making sense of stuff

  1. I’m agnostic too and imagine relatives watching over me. I’ve been paying closer attention to my garden this year. It can be nice just for the sunshine and fresh air.

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    1. Those pictures are of various gardens we’ve visited. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of my Mum’s garden. Succulents are ideal but they still need a bit of TLC.

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  2. Wow, your mother’s garden is fabulous Sheree! And your succulents are doing great! I have never done well with succulents, guess I look after them too much. I have a small “garden patch” on my deck this year, in containers. I just hope that people will leave them alone this year. Great post Sheree!😃😺🌞🌼🌺

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  3. Gardening is an art that you need to have the desire to learn. It takes time, which I have, and money, which is short here but there is something relaxing even about pulling out the weeds. As for religion….I do believe we have a heavenly Father who loves each of us. I only wish each of us could love Him too.

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  4. I take comfort in my beliefs too and realize th at my religious beliefs are mostly there for this reason too. I’m pretty sure your parents would be proud of you. My husband and I have a garden at his house, but it was very poorly kept by the previous owners and I can’t even properly water the plants unless my husband shows me. At the care facility, I have a small balcony and would love to have some things grow there at some point.

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  5. You have such a lovely connection with you Mum. My Mum has beautiful gardens, she calls her gardens her church and her gym. And although I have taken many cuttings from Mum’s garden, my garden never looks any where near as good as Mum’s, however I still feel the connection. So Sheree, enjoy, it is lovely to still share this with your Mum. Lyn

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  6. A really emotional post Sheree. Many compliments.
    Me too i have a similar experiece. I never cared on my father’s garden and only after his dead i begun to cultivate it.

    Who knows if he can forgive me

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  7. Nice succulents! And the flower/ garden photos are absolutely amazing. I have a similarly gifted mother. Her garden is really wild and wildlife friendly, but people often stop to admire it on their walks. She also manages an orchard, which is quite impressive!
    I’ve recently started keeping house plants. It all started with a rescue cactus from someone who left the neighbourhood and didn’t want to throw it away. It keeps growing more arms which then develop roots and fall off, so now I have planted some in little pots and also expanded to include a primula and a kitchen garden into my repertoire. Very fun!

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  8. Very nice, Sheree. Glad to read your sense of comfort that your parents would be proud. Amazing how that orientation to life remains regardless of how much time passes.
    I love the wily succulents!

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  9. They are beautiful. I am sure they are looking down on you and smiling. I think on very similar lines like you but I sometimes wonder if they are looking down. My mother in law passed away recently and sometimes I wonder. I just moved into a house with a big garden. I am more of a vegetable garden person and will have to learn about other plants. All houses around me have beautiful gardens and that puts pressure on me. I enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. If everyone around you has lovely gardens, knock on their doors and ask them for advice. They’ll be happy to oblige and give you cuttings. My mother loved being asked and gave neighbours loads of cuttings.

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