Well, at least trying.
We often joked that my Dad was our own personal Portuguese gardener. He was always puttering in the yard, planting flowers, maintaining our vegetable gardens, and he had more house plants than he knew what to do with. He was even the sole male member of our town’s garden club!
My neighbors always compliment me on how nice the yard looked– I always told them I’d tell my father since he was the one who did all the work! Ever since my divorce, my Dad did so much in my yard ( and helped a bunch with landscaping before that too)- more than I ever realized. Recently, Q and I spent an entire day trying to clean up and get everything looking nice- we were exhausted! I have no idea how my father did it all himself! I tried to tell him how grateful I was all the time for his efforts, especially with mowing the lawn before Q came around ( I’m ridiculously allergic to grass). Some of my favorite memories over the past few years was learning from my father as he worked around my yard, although I wish now that I’d paid more attention, asked more questions, and not taken him for granted because there is still so much I feel I need to know!
I’ve never been a huge garden/landscape person, mostly because it seems I’m allergic to the world, but also because my Dad gardened as his hobby and he liked doing it on his own time so part of me didn’t want to interfere too much with that. I killed a few houseplants which I think he thought was funny, though didn’t quite understand why I didn’t get the concept of habitual watering.
With Dad being gone, I knew I had to step it up with my gardening and plant skills. When he died, someone sent the family a gorgeous peace lily plant that I took home- it’s been one of my focused goals of the past six months to keep it alive, which I’m happy to report it still is, and is thriving. Over the past few weeks, I’ve successfully planted flowers, a vegetable garden ( cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, peppers), and done a lot of the landscaping ( with Q’s help of course).
Throughout all of this, I’ve discovered my own little Portuguese gardener inside of me ( it’s fun and therapeutic to dig in the dirt!) I don’t think I’ll ever be as great as he was with growing things from seeds or even have the ability to mow the lawn without having trouble breathing, but I’m continuing in his spirit and enthusiasm. You’ll see below in the photo my small veggie garden in our backyard ( which is a work in progress) with a little garden gnome. My Dad had a thing about gnomes- I think he liked their whimsical sense of fantasy and maybe that they brought some garden luck. It was only right that this gnome came to my own backyard- reminds me of my father every day.