My grandma is such a keen gardener that I almost feel put to shame by her level of get-up-and-go. Despite her bung hip and that eye problem, she’s out there in the dirt rain, hail or shine. I swear, even a tornado wouldn’t put her off. She’d just tie on her headscarf extra tight and buckle on her wellies, then off she’d go, pruning roses and staking beans amidst the swirling chaos. “It keeps me grounded,” is her catchphrase. Seems like a handy thing to have in the event of a tornado, actually.
Beyond the garden, it’s hard for grandma to get out a whole lot these days, so I’m often assigned a mission to bring something back from the garden centre. She’ll send me off with a handwritten note that says ‘buy Heuchera Lime Marmalade’ or something equally meaningless to my mind, and I’ll come back with several pots of vigorous, lime green foliage. A week later, they’ll be neatly incorporated into a rockery, looking like they were there the whole time. It all has a touch of wizardry about it, if you ask me.
When I ask grandma how she does it, she just smiles conspiratorially, seemingly ignores the question and tells me to go and have a look at her lilly pilly because it’s doing that pink thing we like. I’ve tried to figure out if there’s some kind of zen-like wisdom in these kinds of remarks, to little avail. The best I can come up with is that things in the garden are constantly changing and there’s always something new to look at, not to mention a task to be done. Perhaps that’s what keeps her going with it, despite her ill health.
I mean, what would happen if she stopped? She’d just be cooped up in the house all day, probably watching TV, reading novels about the war, and not much else. Being outside in the natural world seems much more life-affirming. A lot of us could probably take a leaf out of her book.