Mothering Sunday Thoughts
So today was the first Mothering Sunday in my life without a mum alive. As a result I have been rather lost in my thoughts about my wonderful mother and the fact that I couldn’t send her any flowers or far more importantly talk to her other than in my head. I really wanted to say “thank you” to her today for sharing her creative genes with me. Her genes have come out in her descendants in a number of ways such as an ability to write, draw and design and I think in my case a love of gardening which I always think of as 3 dimensional creative art.
My mother was what I would describe as an interested gardener but not a committed or indeed a particularly good one! As firstly a working single Mum in the 50’s and then an army wife moving from quarter to quarter in the the 60’s and 70’s and then an antique dealer in the 80’s she didn’t have much time to garden. Her life was dominated by a career in music, a love of antiques and France. However when she could she did often talk to me about plants and take me to Sissinghurst as a child which she loved. She was a visual person.
So thanks to Mum some of my earliest memories are garden and plant related. There were the Hybrid T Super Star roses she proudly planted in our beloved home in Suffolk. They were very trendy in the late 60’s although I don’t think I’d like them now! We marvelled about the cowslips on the verges as she drove me to school. There was the Clematis Jackmantii that grew outside the dining room window succumbed to wilt. As a child I once pounced on an adult friend visiting, asking if they had seen Clematis Wilt. She thought I was talking about a strangely named girl! There were the “king cups” Caltha palustris growing in the stream down the side of the garden that she loved. For years she would lament about the loss of the elms that dominated the Suffolk landscape before the beetles ravaged the trees.
She bought a house in rural France in her 70’s where she was so happy and she finally did a little more gardening when she was there. She grew beautiful plumbago, lots of Albertine roses that she never really pruned (I’d have a go when I was down there but it was never the right time of the year to do a proper job), “Belle de Nuit” a beautiful name for what I call Mirabalis jalapa. There were the begonias she grew by the well, the geraniums in large terracotta pots, nigella outside the front of the house, iris below the dry stone walls and a swaying tamarisk in the veg garden. There were the walnuts that she harvested in the autumn and then bought back to Kent to sell in aid of charity from her backdoor
So on what has been a reflective day I thought I’d share with you the last flowers I gave my darling mum. The flowers for her coffin all lovingly grown here and arranged on the morning of her funeral. Not necessarily the colours she liked (she would have told me so – she was very direct) but I know she would have loved it.