Last year,at this time,I wrote this.
Thankfully,I got another year with Dad.
A year filled with ups and downs.A year where he finally got to meet his darling.The ever delightful Miss Emma….
But after falling and breaking his hip,he has had to adjust to a walker.An adjustment he has not taken to kindly.Especially,when it comes to visiting TheGreatWall.
“You need to do something about this gravel.It’s hard with this walker.Why don’t you pour some concrete between those stones?Then I could move around easier.”
“Ummm,Dad,I’m not too good at concrete.”
My dad was an engineer before he retired.His garden,and our yard,growing up,was done with an engineer’s eye.Everything planned beforehand,and with charts and grafts.Me?I fly by the seat of my pants.Looks good there?There it shall go.
One summer,he decided we needed a swimming pool,in our yard.So he built one.It took him almost all summer,but he dug it by his own hand.Laid the block walls,himself.The concrete blocks were filled with stubby bottles of Utica Club Beer,that he drank while building the pool.”Bottles are the best reinforcement,ever,for concrete.Remember that.”
…and YardBoy and I have put that factoid to use many times…
He even designed his own filtration and skimmer system.It wasn’t pretty,but it worked.He built the privacy fences,too.
Outside of her family,my mother loved three things in life,her gladiolus(drove him crazy that she made him dig them up and bring them to Florida),her roses(drove him crazy that she put her tea bags on her roses-it works,by the way),and golf.One year,he put in a putting green for her.And then he taught us kids how to take the baby apples,that had fallen off the tree,and use her driver and knock ‘em into the neighbor’s yard.
to us kids
…..’til we ALL (Dad included) got caught,with her clubs…
There was Hell to pay in our house that summer!
As an engineer,my dad liked straight lines.All his gardens were square or they edged the perimeter of the yard.
I like curves…..
His thoughts on my yard,“Too messy looking for me.You need to straighten those edges.”
…and he would’ve mowed and edged,by hand,before he took a photo…
And he liked to build things.Even out of snow…
But even then,they had to be to scale and perfect…
For as long as I can remember,my dad kept a journal of his garden….I blog….And like a true Canadian---He says he isn’t cheap;he just can’t see wasting the money when there are still blank spaces to write on---he kept reusing the same journal,over and over and over.
You wanna know the weather in Niagara Falls,NY,or St.Petersburg,FL on a given date? I can tell you.Highs,lows,rainfall,snowfall,I got it.
To over winter his orchids(his passion),and to start seedlings,he built his own green house,off of our back door.
I looked,but I couldn’t find any photos that included his greenhouse.
One of my greatest memories of that greenhouse was the Hoya he had growing around the upper perimeter.It totally encircled that greenhouse,and when it was blooming,to me as a child,it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Because he built the greenhouse,he had to pacify my mother and he put in a new proper,backdoor entryway,that included shelving for all of her canning…How to make a marriage work,right?
Instead of a greenhouse,I have this….
Works for me….
When I want to try something new,he tells me,”Why not?What do you have to lose?”
When it fails,he tells me,”I wouldn’t have done it that way.”
So,I have come to the realization that I have inherited half of my gardening genes from both of my parents.
My mother gave me the casualness,and the love of enjoying things just as they grow,
and my dad gave me the need to make things perfect.
...What a mix!
Happy Father’s Day!
Enjoy your fathers,while you have them.
One more year,please?