Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden of Love

My Grandmother's Old Fashioned Garden
Author unknown

My grandmother dear
Has a garden,
Old fashioned and quaint
As can be
The flowers so rare,
That none can compare,
'Neath the plum and apricot
And cherry tree.

Would you like me to
Show you the garden?
Then follow me now
And we'll go
'Round the old grape-vine arbor,
Back of the walk,
Where the birds and the butterflies
And flowers grow.

The daisies and lilies
Are telling
Of grandmother's kind,
Tender care
Sweet william and peas,
Heliatrope and heartsease,
And violets, modest
'Tho fragrant and fair.

I still long for
My grandmother's garden;
With hollyhocks,
Stately and tall
And sometimes in my dreams
I see her, it seems,
My dear grandmother
Standing there close to the wall.

In my grandmother's
Old fashioned garden,
There are flow'rs
Of every hue
Daffodils, pansies,
And hyacinths
And old fashioned pinks
Are there too.

I belong to
My grandmother's garden,
I was picked
From the family tree;
So out in my grandmother's
Old fashioned garden,
If you come there
You will find me.

I was taught to sing this song when I was very young. It was appropriate. My grandmother had a way with flowers. Fragrant lilacs bordered her patio and her zinnia garden was enchanting. Other wonderful flowers graced her yard. I remember watching her make dolls and dresses from Hollyhocks. Her brilliant peonies belonged in a Queen’s garden. I could imagine myself a queen when I walked among them. The pinks and sweetpeas she had likely borrowed from the fairies. Among those fairy flowers lived gnomes and forest creatures which gave our childish imaginations wings. I don’t know where Grandma purchased the little garden statues that I loved so, but I never outgrew their charm. Grandma’s garden was a magical place and I loved being there.

I loved all of Grandma’s flowers, but my personal favorites were the bleeding hearts. They bloomed in early spring. The heart shaped blossoms that hung from delicate lacy looking plants were delightful. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was always sorry when they disappeared in the summer heat. My mother borrowed starts of bleeding hearts for her yard. When I was married and had a home of my own, Grandma was gone and I asked Mother for starts.

My shovel wielding Dad was the one who dug the starts and brought them to me. Mother gasped when she saw how many he had dug. No matter, there were plenty to go around. I planted every start. I couldn’t wait for spring and the appearance of the delicate hearts.

The odd thing about my bleeding hearts, is they never grew in the same place twice. In my mother’s garden, I think they did. I suppose that they behaved themselves in Grandma’s garden. In my garden, though, they had a mind of their own. Since bleeding hearts love shade, I had envisioned them filling a shady spot underneath the eaves. Yet, invariably they chose a variety of random spots to make their appearance. It seems that my particular bleeding hearts prefer sun. For years I dutifully dug them up and transplanted them to my selected shady space. Eventually, I gave in to them, and allowed them free reign of the yard.

A few years ago friend-husband and I moved to Arkansas for a couple of seasons. We rented our home to newlyweds. Not knowing how I cherished the bleeding hearts, they made some changes to our garden. The bleeding hearts were gone. In their place was a bark covered mat, the kind that doesn’t let in light and doesn’t allow weeds, or bleeding hearts, to grow. I’m a big girl, but there was a little ache in my heart at the loss of the bleeding hearts. Oh, I knew I could buy more, but it wouldn’t be the same as having a bit of my Grandmother’s garden.

To my delight, a few brave bleeding hearts eventually grew somewhat sideways out from under the edges of the mat. I carefully transplanted them in friendlier territory. Today they flourish, a lovely gift from my gentle grandma. Was it she who coaxed them to grow from under the mat?

My Grandma’s name was Sarah. Recently I read that her mother, Maraldia, loved bleeding hearts. Perhaps Sarah’s starts came from Maraldia’s garden. And who knows where Maraldia got hers. Maybe the hearts I grow are older than I imagined. Maybe their roots are deep and sure as I want my roots to be. I am connected by birth to women that I admire and love. Some of them I scarcely knew, yet we share many things. In fact, we even share a garden, a garden of love.


L.T. Elliot said...

This is beautiful, Linda. I'm glad your bleeding hearts are still flourishing.

Carolyn V. said...

My grandmother also had bleeding hearts in her garden. They are beautiful plants. It's good to know you are carrying on with your grandmother's plants and connecting with those you love.