Friday, September 12, 2014

The Master Gardener

One of the reasons I'm returning to the folks' house this weekend is to help sort out mom's landscaping. Mom's work on the yards surrounding the homes they lived in over the years was the main reason their homes sold so quickly. She honed her skills in South Carolina at Clemson, where she took classes and was awarded with a Master Gardener certification.

When the buyer walked up to the front door of that house to look around, dad opened the door and the buyer looked at my dad and said, "SOLD." He was so impressed with the work around the house that the house mattered little.

I can never hope to be the gardener my mother was. For one thing, I'm too wishy-washy. I would leave a plant in the ground, not wanting to disturb it, and it would be swallowed by the plant next to it. Mom, on the other hand, was efficiently brutal. I remember watching her pull weeds for the first time -- I was startled by the ferocity she displayed in uprooting anything that didn't fit into her scheme.

That scene brings up so much garbage that it's difficult to sort through all the implications.

That said, I was proud to introduce my mother to various plants, and I gave her some of mine over the years. The lamb's ears that I provided needs to be separated. The helliobore needs to be moved to a shadier location. Her bulbs all need to be dug up and separated. I have plans, and I hope none of this work takes too much time or effort.

Mom couldn't get into her gardens during the last two years of her life. In spring of 2013, she was too sick, and the bulbs needed separating even then. This past spring, she ordered me to take her to the garden shop, where she purchased garden clogs, gloves, some new tools, and other odds and ends. When she died, those items were still in the garage, all sporting their price tags. She had no energy for the work, and she totally lost interest during the last two months of her life. Even the height of the grass or the deer munching on her ground covers didn't seem to bother her, topics that would constantly spark heated discussions between my parents in the past.

I have no qualms about using mom's garden tools. I've already made them mine. My concern is about saving her plans and her work so dad can use her skills to sell the house when it comes time. Why am I doing this? Because it's in all our best interests.

So say the daffodils, those poor squashed-together bulbous entities that I can hear talking to me from two states away.

** The photo is one I took in 2013, showing the bane of my mother's life -- the deer that would snack on my mother's gardens with impunity. They would eat even those plants that were considered "deer resistant."