Dad and his plants

I recently recalled “the cabinet place” and a couple of Dad’s major “projects” at the old house. In thinking about some of his ongoing projects and such, I realized another topic to write about was his love of landscaping and such. Not so much DOING it, but the looks that could be had.

And he lovvvvvved his potted plants. He was always bringing home potted plants to have around (mainly outside). Just in 2021 he got this “arch” that is based by a couple of square planters for rosebushes…the idea being that they’ll grow up around/through the arch and create this (eventual) rose arch.

A couple years ago while he was out with Daisey, he found where someone was getting rid of a bunch of old wooden planters, and insisted that Mom get the van and pull around and load them up to bring over here. Those are now adorning the walls of the back patio.

And though Mom and I both resisted him, he still managed to get loads of plants for these. He also got several “raised flower beds”–that HE could reach and tend to once situated. And he loved having tomato plants in those! He loved having fresh home-grown tomatoes..! While I “got” it, part of me never “understood” it. All that hassle and having to have me or (mostly) Mom deal with watering the things…I’d rather drop the $2-$3 and buy him a case of cherry tomatoes or a couple full size tomatoes.

Ditto with the flowers and such: they were a hassle to water. I didn’t like that. Cuz I’m not a gardener or a plant-grower; I do not have a “green thumb.” I would get stressed out trying to fight against nature (I don’t even like having to have the lawn mowed!)

I often suggested that we go and get FAKE plants instead. No real problem with the idea of having hanging flowerpots, ground planters, etc with flowers and such around…I just don’t care to have to worry about having to water them and take care of them. PLUS…the DEER probably won’t try to EAT fake plants! And then they’d be fully in bloom all the time, pretty to look at, decorative…but for the most part, place ’em and forget. Maintenance-free.

Dad wouldn’t have it. He said he knew where I was coming from, but it wouldn’t be the same.

And as I type this and think of how MUCH resistence I gave, and his disappointment all those times he asked if I’d take him to Lowe’s for plants, I want to crumble in sheer guilt.

So MUCH in the last few years I so absolutely would have done, made time for, put above everything else, if I had KNOWN how precious little time we had left! How many things would be “lasts” that we wouldn’t get to try to deal with in 2022, or onward.

At the old house, one of the first plant projects I remember was when he decided to tear out the “rock garden” to have an actual plant-garden. When we moved in, the sides of the driveway had these “rock gardens” of decorative stones cemented in place. Well, the nice, clean look of those was quickly spoiled by his kids (his son especially) always wanting to “shortcut” to the driveway stepping on the rocks and–as it turned out–eventually breaking stuff up enough for weeds to start growing in and such.

There was also the flowerbed in front of the house up against the window for the basement. There originally were a couple of wide bushes there. One year we even found a full-grown pumpkin in there, grown from a seed of the previous year’s pumpkins that had been too long on the front stoop.

One year he REALLY went all-in on tulips. Tulips in that front flowerbed, tulips in the sides of the driveway, tulips at the sides of the house, tulips around the apple tree in the front yard, tulips around the front lightpost. I especially remember “helping” him with tulips around the apple tree–instructions called for the bulbs to be planted and “manure” added. Well, someone’s dog had left some poo there, so Dad being the smartass essentialy just shrugged and scooped that into the hole with a tulip bulb.

Then there was the row of hedge bushes. They got to be a pain to maintain so he ultimately got rid of those to replace with rose bushes. Those weren’t great to maintain, either, but I could at least mow between them.

I don’t remember what was originally at the one side of the house, but he wound up getting some long edge boards and created a huge flower/plantbed there as well…though by 2014 it was mostly weeds and I could pretty much just mow over what WAS there, minus several specific/significant plants against the house.

He would often cite that he wouldn’t ask me to do anything he wouldn’t do if he could…and I feel guilty in the number of times I thought to myself (but rarely mentioned out loud) that it wasn’t JUST about capability, but that I just did. not. like. gardening. And such. But I know that especially in recent years, as resistent as I was to it and such, some part of me (retroactively?) knew it wasn’t like there was an endless amount of time in front of us and that since he so loved the stuff, surely I could at least do SOME.

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