Sunday, May 23, 2010

Papa's Garden

My father has a garden that is very dear to me. We've always worked on this little garden together. It's just a tiny plot in his big back yard and has been thru many , many transitions in the 38 years he's lived there. When my mom was alive the back yard was alive with green grass, plants, vines, roses, potted plants. But after she died 10 years ago the house and the garden has settled into a depression of miscare. After she died my sisters and I each planted a rose for her. But with busy lives and distance only one remains. The little plot of dirt nearby layed there, refusing to be ignored, remembering what happiness it represented in the past. When I moved back to California, overwhelmed by the disarray in my mothers absence, the garden was there calling me. The one surviving rose showing the strength that I needed, I knew what I needed to do. I dug out the weeds of the little rectangle and brought over the lumber for a raised bed along with compost and plant food. I brought over tomatoes and artichokes and zuccini and my father and I, side by side, dug and planted and staked up that little plot of dirt. And, lastly, I pruned and fed and welled up that good strong rose, thanking it for remaining as my inspiration.

My father was so happy with his garden, though he did grumble about using water during California's water shortage, but he did take care of it and was so happy to harvest the prolific vegetables produced. After all, he is forever the teacher, me, forever the student in his eyes. I have designed and completed 4 big gardens in my life but I am very happy for him to tell me how to dig up a weed.
This year my father turned 88 years old. The garden, as you see it here, does contain a new tomato plant and possibly an artichoke but when these calendulas took over the raised bed it was them that made my father happy. And so they remain, as unconventional as it might be to have flowers mixed in with your veggies, they will stay and what will grow will grow. Last week my father picked all the roses from that happy rose and we brought them to lay on my mothers grave. Now everyone is happy!
The sign that sits in the little garden plot reads "Papa's Garden". I made it for him when I was just a little girl. I love my father and I'm so glad to bring him this little plot of beauty.