Growing Through Grief

I have written previously about how gardening helped me work through the grief I experienced when I lost my beloved dog Pebbles 6 years ago. Now I need its help again following the death of my Dad. Even in these dark, cold and wet February days, the garden provides distraction and hope.

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Victoria has been making regular deliveries of snowdrops from her garden in a tiny vase which sets them off perfectly. What is it about looking at these flowers that makes me feel so uplifted? The freshness of the bright green stems against the dainty white flowers makes me think that Spring isn’t far around the corner. I have so enjoyed having them in my home that I have resolved to plant more in my garden. I haven’t had much success in the past – I spent hours on my knees planting hundreds of the tiny bulbs some years ago – none of them came up. They may have provided a feast for the squirrels, but I have since read that planting the dried bulbs is often met with disappointment and that planting “in the green” is generally more successful. This has been my experience, having planted a couple of pots two years ago. The problem is if I used them for cut flowers there would be none left to look at in the garden! So yesterday I bought four more pots and as soon as it stops raining and blowing a gale, they will be joining the others.

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Last summer Victoria also provided me with regular bunches of sweet peas. They too are a delight to have in the house – their fragrance is delicious and the pastel coloured petals so soft and calming. When Victoria was away I was able to prolong flowering by helping myself to any blooms appearing in her absence. This led to another gardening resolution – grow some sweet peas of my own. I found a packet of seeds in my Dad’s flat – use by 2016 …..

… but I’ve read of seeds found in ancient shipwrecks being grown successfully, and I don’t subscribe too seriously to use by dates of any description, so I’ve given it a go. I hope they grow and provide me with a happy reminder of my Dad later in the year. Before planting, I watched a Monty Don video on how to grow sweet peas, so I reckon I’m in with as good a chance as any! He says they should germinate within a week. Think I might buy some new seeds as well though, just in case.

Another project is to re pot and keep alive these mini Christmas Trees. Following two stays in hospital in December, my Dad returned home to his flat where he wanted to end his days. His bedroom was cleared to make room for a hospital bed. I put the smaller of these trees on the table that went over his bed and decorated it with little star lights and tiny baubles. His Christmas cards were on strings on the wall opposite the end of his bed, joined by birthday cards on 30 December – 87 years. The bigger tree was from my Mum’s nursing home room – all the residents were given one and rather than see it go out with the rubbish after Christmas, I brought it home. The idea is that next Christmas she will be able to have both in her room, but if not they will take pride of place on my front door step, complete with fairy lights.

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