My mother is an avid gardener. I grew up under her tutelage, assigned the gardening tasks greater suited to smaller, more pliable bodies.
She would tempt me into the garden with entreaties to feel the softness of the lamb’s ear and to smell the newly opened buds of the mock orange. Then, before I realized it, I was working, head down, fingers flying as I weeded (it was usually always weeding), lost in thought and the glorious smell of earth.
It was hard not to get drawn into my mother’s world, where the strangely alien arisaemas became friendly mice and the ‘Constance Spry’ rose assumed a regal personality, complete with stiff-upper lip and aristocratic demeanour.
As we worked, Mom would talk; about the benefits of composting, the aesthetic advantages of planting for contrast and year-round interest, or about the plants we were working near. After I moved out, whenever I’d visit, Mom would call me to the garden, usually before I’d even put down my bags, leading me around her half-acre plot of heaven, pointing out new additions or whatever happened to be in bloom.
So now Ben and I are living there (or rather, here, in my childhood home), waiting for our newly-bought townhouse to be ready to move into. And as much as I miss the city and loathe the suburban nightmare that surrounds this house, I love the chance to revisit my childhood and spend time with my parents. And I love the garden.
I love the way the air changes as you pull up the driveway under the canopy of evergreens. I love the heady scent of blooms past their prime, the way the nights are so still and the silence only penetrable by the trains that punctuate the midnight hours. I love the blanket of seclusion my mom and dad have wrapped their home in —plant layer on plant layer—of the native, the English and the exotic. I love going barefoot to the raspberry patch and gorging on summer. I love the big skies and the tall trees. I love this place, my home.