Monday, February 27, 2006

My Grandmother's Garden


I was named for my grandmother, Kathleen. She was a wonderful woman who believed that meat was bad for you and that chocolate covered cherries were an important source of nutrients. She lived to be nearly 90 and it was osteoporosis that killed her, not bad cholesterol. She fell, cracked a vertebrae, got pneumonia and died. I loved her dearly and to this day I miss her.

When I sat on her lap, which was not large due to her girth, you could rest your head on her boobs and feel truly blessed by the comfort of them. She bore five children, only two lived to maturity. Some died at childbirth and one died in World War II. They called her Kit. She giggled when she had a bit of whiskey. And she went to confession every week just as a good Irish Catholic woman should.

She had a green thumb unrivaled by anyone in the family. There were four things I remember about her garden. One, the apple tree which provided fruit for her apple sauce and apple butter. The secret to her recipe was lots of sugar and cinnamon. Sugar could cure just about anything. Second were her lilac bushes. They covered two sides of the yard with their beautiful colors and fragrance. Third, lilly of the valley. They are tiny little white bells suspended from green stems that are so fragrant. And then there were the peonies. They are lush, colorful blooms that last for a long time. I can remember the exact spot that each of these filled in her garden. Although the peonies were in the front yard.

I planted two lilac bushes when we first moved to Lincoln. I killed one with the heat and barely save the other one. Peonies are out of the question here because it's just too hot in the summer. We've planted two apple trees so I can make my own apple sauce and butter.

But the most important find at my favorite nursery is Lilly of the Valley. I've never seen them before. They need shade to partial shade. I have just the spot so bought some. I planted 20 of them and hope they will spread. Even though my sense of smell is limited, I think I'll be able to smell these. Even if I can't I will have fulfilled a dream of re-creating part of Grandma Kit's garden. The photo is of the Lilly of the Valley.

Memories are so important.

1 comment:

Asana Bear said...

Really a good post. I could see and smell Grandma's garden again. Thanks for that.