Thursday, 16 May 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow.


Dad, at the front door of the first garden I remember.

My very first memory of a garden was when I was five years old. It was the mid 1970's and we were living in East London. Mum and Dad had bought their first place together which was an old Victorian semi, it cost them a whopping £7,000. It was two flats when they bought it and Dad renovated it, turning it into a lovely family home. 
 
The garden was quite a mess to start with, but Dad soon put down a nice patio and Mum planted some colourful flowers, turning it into a tidy place for me and my baby Brother to play. As my memory drifts back to that garden I picture myself in small red shorts, pink t-shirt, red wellies and a cowboy hat, pushing my pink plastic pram around the huge tree at the bottom of the garden. I suddenly spot two big brown eyes peering at me through the fence. It is my best friend Shareefa, she is five too and I think she has the prettiest name in the whole world. I quickly squeeze myself through the gap in the fence and follow my friend to the back door of her house, where I edge my bottom onto a wooden stall. 

The pleasant sound of Bengla music drifts from the kitchen radio and a strong spicy aroma tickles my nose and makes me sneeze. Shareefa's Mum looks like a goddess, dressed in her vibrant, colourful sari, her jet black hair scraped back, she kneads and rolls the dough of chapatti's with fast, expert hands into perfect circle's. It looks as though she might drop one as her hands slap together so fast, before she throws it onto hot flat pan to cook. I sit and watch in awe, while Shareefa pulls at her Mothers sari, talking to her in a funny language that I don't understand. Her Mum sighs and passes her Daughter a freshly cooked chapati and we run, excitedly back out into the garden where we share the delicious, soft bread.


I suddenly hear my Mum's voice as she calls my name. I jump up and wave goodbye to Shareefa, as I squeeze back through the gap in the fence. I spot my young, pretty Mum standing at the opposite end of our large garden, where she is happily chatting to a neighbour. I run over to her and wrap one arm around her legs as I look up at these two women who are deep in conversation about the price of washing powder.

Renee is much older than my Mum, in fact to my young years, she is the oldest lady that I had ever seen. Her pure white hair is tied loosely in a bun with wispy strands framing her soft wrinkled face, her smell is a combination of lavender and moth balls, her smile is wide and warm as she reaches her arms out to lift me up and over the low fence into her garden. 

I hold Renee's fragile hand tightly, noticing that her skin looks almost transparent as I peer curiously at the deep blue of her veins. I walk with her along the black and white tiles of her chequered garden path, and I feel a connection to her. Renee points out all the different flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs that abundantly fill her garden, as she encourages me to stop and take in the scent of each and every one. I instantly feel an inner calm as birds sing, a bumble bee busily hums and a gentle breeze is rustling the leaves of an old apple tree, sending a sweet, soothing aroma of Chrysanthemum's through the air and into my nostrils. I knew at that exact moment that Renee was my Friend, and I decided that when I grew up, I would have a garden just like hers. And so began my love of gardening.




Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

35 comments:

  1. I love those old photos; the second one reminds me of my Grandad as he had one of those lawn mowers. I used to love to sit and watch him mowing the front lawn then raking up the grass and adding it to the huge compost pile on the back yard :)

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    1. Cutting the grass is much easier these days isn't it. Those old mowers were great though werent they...needed no extention lead x

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  2. Oh i love your write up how nostalgic and those photos i just love them happy days

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  3. That's just beautiful. How lovely to explore your memories like that, it's something I'll try and do soon too, funny how certain little snippets of childhood really stick with you and others are totally lost. Always make me wonder just what bits of my own children's lives they'll remember in later years x

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    1. I'm lucky that I remember things from quite an early age, but it does fascinate me too, why we forget certain things and not others x

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  4. Beautifully written. I'd love to be good at gardening , but I leave it too long and then it is a case of rescue the plants and limit the damage.

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    1. Thanks. I think everyone can be good at gardening, it just takes practise x

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  5. Lovely story, my first house was just like yours, we lived in south London, I only remember smidges of it as we moved early in my life to another part of London.

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    1. Thankyou, We moved out to Essex shortly after this memory, I'm so glad I remember my parents first house x

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  6. How proud your parents must have been on their house :) Lovely post.

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  7. That was such a wonderful read, and just so, so evocative. What a wonderful home you grew up in - and lovely, interesting warm neighbours. Fab writing - great post! X.

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    1. Thankyou, I have very warm memories of this house x

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  8. What a lovely post to come across from Mammasaurus' linky. I love the old photographs and the powerful memories they evoke x

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    1. Thankyou, photographs are so important arent they. Things can easily be forgotten without them x

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  9. What a lovely trip back down memory lane. Mich x

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    1. Thanks Michelle, the 70's were great x

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  10. Lovely post, I love to hear the story behind a picture :)

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  11. Lovely nostalfic story Mama, I love your glimpses into your childhood.

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    1. Thanks G, I'm lucky to have have so many happy childhood memories x

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  12. What a beautiful story, it's funny how much those memories stick with you, shaping who you are and the person you eventually become. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thankyou, Renee and later my Grandparents definately shaped my future love of gardening, and yes I agree memories and the people in them do shape who we become x

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  13. I love old photographs and your story is superb. That lawn mower is a real blast from the past, I remember us having one of those too and fighting over who got to push it - I happily let someone else cut the grass with one of those nowadays :)

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    1. Thanks Nichola, They were hard work those old mowers weren't they. Glad mine is electrc, lol x

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  14. What a wonderful way to come into gardening.

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  15. Lovely story.
    Hopefully my boys will remember how our garden started and the love and care we put into it too.
    Loving the old photos - very nostalgic.

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  16. What a lovely story...I could smell the aromas as I read them. Beautiful. Gave me that warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling xx

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  17. What an amazing story and how lovely you've remembered it so well. Great post. Heading over from How does your garden grow :)

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  18. I felt like I was right there with you, such a warm story.

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  19. Gardens are interwoven with my childhood too, made me the keen gardener I am today. Love your story and was really wanting to know more about the wonderful characters that you described. Feel very nostalgic now. xx

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