Garden writing lifts me up.

Six on Saturday – Remembering

Thinking cap on to look for an angle… Now where did I put that cap? If I could just find my glasses, I’d see it clearly.

13th June, 2020.

I spent some time wandering in the garden, seeking an angle for another article. I try to write other than descriptive, and if I’m able to link my garden, my head and something going on in the world then maith-go-leor, (also known as fine-and-dandy or Bob’s-your-uncle) .
Each of my six plants this week is dedicated to a very special person. I have a very poor memory for plant names, especially the variety of a known plant, so I name some plants after people. For example, Penstemon Propagator would definitely remind me of Jon, the originator of this Six on Saturday idea. My family would say thay my poor memory extends beyond plant names, to things like misplacing my phone right beside me, constantly looking for my glasses (right beside me/out of eyesight) and missing appointments unless I send myself two phone reminders, on my misplaced right-beside-me phone.

Here’s my Six on Saturday:

1. The Sorbus Rafina is dedicated to the young Iranian 14-year-old recently beheaded by her father. The girl ran away from home with her boyfriend, but was returned by police officials, despite she warning them her life was in danger. Her death is recorded as an honour killing. The legal punishment is very light. Not a good country to be a young girl in love with the wrong person. I will care for this tree in her honour.

2. Fuchsia George Floyd was being choked to death by bindweed. I needed to take away all the ground cover plants beneath it and eradicate the evil that was killing it. It’s a work in progress.

3. Heuchera Mike reminds me of a gentle, chatty garden-centre owner who passed away in 2018. I have several of his plants in my garden. A very keen eye may notice that it is a petal-trapper. Last weekend was very windy and the roses lost many a bloom, only to find a cozy nesting place beneath.

4. Geranium Maureen. My mother-in-law loved geraniums. At her graveside, the funeral director placed one of her plants in this pot. At present, all my geranium plants are too big for this pot, so it remains symbolically empty. It is moved around the garden regularly.

5. Grassius Leeds United. I just love grasses. They are wild and hardy, carefree and free-flowing. My brother died at the age of 28. He died on the football field, playing the sport he loved. He was a mighty Leeds United fan. I am a Crystal Palace supporter so we had deep philosophical differences, yet he was Best Man at my wedding! Gary was best man to many many people. While I have this plant, his memory is ever-present in my back garden. Cherish the love you have; cherish the life you live.

6. Hebe M&M. This one is different in two ways. Primarily, it reminds me of two people, Martin & Miriam. They are very good friends of ours and, of course, very much alive! We gave them a Thuja shortly after they married and they called it the Pat-and-Mar tree. This hebe is my way of having them here with us, and is especially important to us right now. I bought them at Lidl during the height of lockdown in early April. This hebe is also different from the above five because I can remember it’s name very clearly. It’s called Hebe Rhubarb & Custard. How could I forget a name like that? But while it lives with us, I shall always call it M&M.

That’s my six this week. There are many things I forget, such as appointments and where my phone is. But I do not forget people. Rafina, George, Mike, Maureen, Gary, Martin & Miriam are remembered in my garden.

I joined this Six on Saturday last week, having read all about it here . New garden writers might like the idea. Old writers like myself too! Certainly, I received a very warm welcome and I want to express my thanks to everyone who read my article, commented here or on Twitter, encouraged me beforehand or just sent me a welcome message. It gave me the encouragement to continue. Thank you very much.
I am now following lots of similar Six on Saturday gardeners and virtually meeting some really nice people.

Finally, I’ve offered myself a suggestion which is undoubtedly sensible. I am a native speaker of the Irish language, sadly in severe decline (the language, that is, not me!). In an attempt to spread awareness, I’d like to use a simple Irish phrase in my articles ó am go h-am. Linguists will likely guess the meaning from the context, or may use An Foclóir for assistance. Others might like to use Mrs. Google, or perhaps not. As my life-motto would remind me: No worries, mate.

So onwards to next week… Thinking cap on to look for an angle… Now where did I put that cap? If I could just find my glasses, I’d see it clearly.

“I am intrigued by writers who garden and gardeners who write. The pen and the trowel are not interchangeable, but seem often linked.” ― Marta McDowell


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0 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Remembering”

  1. What a deeply resonant post. I’ve spent this afternoon sitting with a script of a short e-book called the Pillowbook of Prudence (historically, a pillowbook was a form of Japanese journal) which is due to be published in the next month. Thus it’s has been an afternoon of deep thought (and some not so deep thoughts) and so your beautifully- phrased post is welcome as it adds to the dimension of my day. Not only that, Pádraig, I lost a dear friend last week and his memorial is in Lyon 11.30 French time, 7.30 PM my time. So a day of remembering for me. By the way, he was a rampant Fulham supporter! 😉

    1. I shall raise a glass to your dear friend, Prue. Rampant is a powerful word to describe his love for his team, and I shall think on him with you as I walk the garden today. I am touched that my words have influenced you. In fact, a very important part of the writing process is that my words influence myself also. Therefore I sometimes try to mix deep thought with lots of levity!

  2. Beautiful words and sentiments, which have left me with a tear in my eye and a strange warm feeling where I think my soul lives. It is good to remember, especially those people that need to be remembered so we can change the world for the better. We do it in the way that suits us best. The garden is a wonderful place to do this. As for your Irish words, as I think you know, I say “bring it on!” Have a great week 🙂

    1. Very well said, a chara. Yes, now that I think on it, a Garden of Remembrance is popular in many places, and our own gardens bring that back to a personal level. Other than that mouthful, I shall take great pleasure in bringing a little bit of Gaeilge to North Devon and beyond. Beir bua!

  3. What a thoughtful post. So many of us connect plants to special people or sad/happy events. I wrote a similar post for Six on Saturday a few weeks ago.

    I would love to use your phrase maith-go-leor more – it’s fabulous. I’m not certain I’d get the pronunciation right though!

    1. Youre definitely right, Katherine. We make the connection & it sometimes helps. I will go find the post you mention.
      Maith-go-leor = moh guh lore. Hope that makes sense. I’ll be watching out for it, a chara!

  4. I did indeed ask They Google what Maith thú meant – after reading here it was Irish/Gaelic. (There’s a site called ‘Wordhippo’ that I’ve used for translations, mainly because I love the word ‘wordhippo’ and the images that pop into my head when I read it. Or say it out loud.) A lot of my plants and micro gardens within the yard are Memory Gardens for me – they remind me of a person, or a place, or a time in my personal history. It’s what makes gardening such a loving endeavor, I think. Thanks for sharing your naming convention – hearing personal stories adds so much meaning to anonymous internet writing.

    1. I’m happy to know that you’ve got the Gaeilge sorted! Chris! And I’ve downloaded the app. We live & learn from one another. You’re right also when you mention gardening being a loving endeavour, although I’m struggling with the blasted bindweed

  5. Sent to me directly by my good friend MH:
    I love that article. I love the plant in memory of Ms Rafina, and the empty pot of your mother in law. You are an inspiration, and I hope you never stop writing and creating.

  6. I’m with you on the ‘where are my glasses, phone etc’ and naming plants for people. What a lovely way to remember them. Will you ever put a geranium in your mother-in-law’s pot?

    1. My wife says I’d forget my head if it weren’t tied on!
      The pot is ceramic and I hope to put geranium in it for the winter in the kitchen. It’s actually the funeral director’s pot, but the symbolism is valid methinks.

  7. good lord, now i won’t be able to look at one of Thames Valley’s finest without thinking of bindweed. a most unfortunate association. maybe all cops are bad after all! lovely six, hope to see you again soon.

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