WPC: Nostalgia

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My dad loves Coleus, and I remember watching him plant Coleus and Scarlet Sage, Impatiens, Calaldiums and Begonias since I was a little girl.  He loves growing flowers and tending bright annual beds each summer.

And his love of flowers came from his mother’s mother, who had an overgrown garden of old roses and bright perennials behind her house decades after she was able to go out and tend to it herself.  I remember picking flowers in her garden as a very young child; flowers and mulberries, which we ate over ice cream.

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Always the Boy Scout, Dad believes in leaving a place a little better than he found it.  And part of that philosophy always expressed itself in making beds of flowers and cultivating the lawn at each of our family homes.

And he is a talented gardener with an artist’s eye for color and a pastor’s touch for making things thrive.  He still breaks off bits of annual stem and thrusts them into moist soil, somehow coaxing them to root into new plants at his whim.

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And now I join him in his gardening projects again.  Others might call me his ‘enabler’ with undisguised disdain.  And that is fine with me. 

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Caladiums and Impatiens growing this summer in my father's garden.

Caladiums and Impatiens growing this summer in my father’s garden.

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Despite physical handicaps, his gardener’s heart is strong and craves color and flowers as it always has.  Sometimes we openly visit the Great Big Greenhouse together, loading the cart he pushes for us.  The shopping cart is even better than his walker for letting his legs follow where his eyes see something of interest.

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One of the Coleus plant we bought together this summer, and shared by rooting cuttings.

This is one of the Coleus plants we bought together this summer, and shared by rooting cuttings.

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Other times I quietly leave offerings of little plants on the back patio where he knows to find them, without saying a word about them in front of  Mother.  I’ve filled his tubs with Caladiums this summer and helped him plant a hedge of Coleus beside the back walk.  The Coleus we both love so much. 

Nostalgia can hurt or heal.  We all know this.  But I believe that nostalgia heals when it keeps us in touch with those people and things we love.

Nostalgia helps us share our happiness from generation to generation.

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Caladiums in my father's garden.

Caladiums in my father’s garden.

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nostalgia

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

10 responses to “WPC: Nostalgia

  1. Pingback: Nostalgia: Train Platform | What's (in) the picture?

  2. How wonderful that you share gardening with your dad. What a sweet thing that is! Your plants in the photos are bursting with health and vigor. What do you feed them?

    • Thank you, Eliza. It makes him so happy to have his flowers. And it gives him something to enjoy to get out and water them and groom them as he can. Eliza, I love Neptune’s Harvest which is a concentrated mix of seaweed and fish emulsion. A few teaspoons in a 2 gal. watering can goes a long way, and I try to apply that every week or so during active growth. I sprinkle a little Osmocote when I pot up new plants, too so there is the continual slow release as well as a little boost now and again. What do you use? I hope your flowers are still going strong. We hit mid-80s today. We’re still getting warm muggy air up from the Gulf. I hope you are still frost free 😉 >3 >3 >3

      • Picturing you helping your dad so warms my heart. ❤ You are fortunate to still have them. I haven't had parents since 1976/77.
        I've never been a big fan of fish emulsion, but I know many who love N.H. I used Osmocote in this year's planters to great success. But most of my plants are in the ground to which I mostly add mulch, which degrades to supplement plants with the aid of worms and their castings. My household compost isn't much and to get a truckload is expensive, so I haven't done it lately.
        I've heard that you are getting rain and mugginess. We're getting sprinkles this weekend and it is cold (50) and damp! We have the wood stove going – and to think you are in the 80s!

        • Oh, that wood stove must smell just wonderful, Eliza. 50s! It is autumn in your corner of the world! We have an eye on the hurricane in the Gulf, and just hope it stays offshore. The rain has been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed it. But we don’t need the wind and torrential rain which would come with this system. NH is better than fish emulsion because it has so many trace minerals from the sea weed in it. I’ve never used strait fish emulsion, either. This is what our friends use on their transplants at their nursery. They have great success with it because it gives helps with transplant shock, some resistance to disease, pests, etc. My daughter has started trench composting where she wants to start a garden in spring. Sadly, a raccoon found out and has been making nightly visits to dig. She is trying to cover with evergreen branches to protect the trenches. I buy a bagged compost made in MD which is pretty good and save coffee grounds for the beds. But I use Espoma once or twice a year on shrubs and perennial beds, too. Dad has advanced Parkinsons. Some days he can walk, others he can’t walk much at all. He has lots of health problems, but still finds the energy to go outside and work around the yard. We fuss when he does this alone and he happily ignores us all. I want to help him so long as it is possible for him to try, and so we do a lot of things together now, or I do them for him, when I visit each week. Yes, I’m very fortunate to have them both still, and realize that I can’t take them for granted. I’m sorry to know you’ve been so long without yours. You must have been very young when they passed, Eliza. But a bit of our parents always lives on in each of us, doesn’t it? Hope you are enjoying the weekend, e

  3. I love a shot of C&C now and then—Coleus & Calaldium, that is. Great memories and beautiful photos.
    Ω

  4. What a touching post – good for you! Beautifully said and illustrated

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