I live in a little Welsh cottage attached to a former chapel, this I use as my studio, and have taught hundreds of people the basic principles and techniques of painting and drawing.
When I first arrived there were very few plants, I asked my son, if he would help me create a garden, I meant just in the front of the house, but he had other ideas, as a fully qualified horticulturalist, he wanted to plant the whole thing, which included a flat grassed small field at the side, it contained 6 mixed variety apple trees not doing very well and 7 small laurel bushes at the back of the house.
The trees and laurels were lifted and moved, the laurels to the top to create a windbreak, the apples to create an orchard in better soil. Next, with the help of a local farmer and his digger, a large hole was dug out for a pond, and borders created all around.
This way we had better soil to work with.it was full of weeds so it took many days work to clear then take them stamp down ready for planting up in the spring. In the meantime we collected, split and grew on many plants, money was tight, and we needed loads. I found it difficult to visualise the end result, but my son knew.
After my son left to go back home we were both exhausted but happy with all we had achieved, my mother came to visit, I was so excited to take her into my new garden, bare soil admittedly but all ready for spring. Mum didn’t say much as she looked around, so I had to ask her “well what do you think” she replied in no uncertain terms “I hate it, looks like a load of graves to me” I didn’t take her there again for a long time, when it had a lovely pond, and trees shrubs and flowers everywhere, and pathways all around.
On seeing it for the second time, once the plants had begun to establish and cover the bare earth, she was stunned and often went to spend time in the garden after that. One day I found her staring at snowdrops, they were her favourite Spring flowers with Roses for Summertime.
Out of the blue one sunset evening while Mum and I were sat on her favourite bench, watching as the Sun’s rays fall out our feet, a tribute to a sacred place in the garden. Mum simply turned and said “when I die, I would like you to scatter my ashes in your beautiful garden” so matter of fact that I never really gave it much thought until she passed away peacefully at home with me at her bedside, and lay to rest surrounded by the peace and serenity of my sacred hilltop Chapel cottage. The memory makes me smile when I recall thinking of Mother choosing to pass away in what was once a community Chapel, high above the small towns and villages of the Severn Valley, in Mid Wales. I still imagine her soul leaving the hilltop Chapel and thinking well Mother at-least passing away here your a little closer to Heaven!
My Mother didn’t want a fuss, she had been a nurse prior to having children and retained a realistic attitude towards Life and Death. So when the time came Mum refused treatment and remained thankful for the life she had lived.
So when the time came and the tears had dried, I recalled Mum’s words and the this I did when the time came. There is a lovely statue of a lady facing west so that the evening sun falls on her face.
Rest in peace mum, till we meet again.
Grow with me on
Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“
iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.