All the work behind these lovely camellias is known by the results. Dad always appreciated mom’s efforts and requested her beautiful blooms for the women at the office, whom he referred to as the backbone of the business. This painting was his favorite.
There were times when gardening had its less than beautiful side. Once, a caterpillar stung mother’s hand causing painful swelling. After putting an ice pack on it, we decided my sketching the varmint would suffice for identification at the nursery but the ugly thing kept batting what looked like a Cyclops eye at me making me queasy. We took it in a jar to the nurseryman instead. Right away he knew it was a poisonous saddleback caterpillar. After that experience, mother became a hawk-eye with new skills. From the dinner table, she could spot a huge and colorful lubber grasshopper through the window and would dash out with clippers in hand, snip off its head, returning triumphantly to finish her meal with the warning, “Don’t try to grab their legs, they have thorns on them and will stick you.” It was an ingrained lesson.
I keep the garden alone now while enjoying memories of our working together. Mom is busy getting answers from Our Heavenly Father about how He made His vast garden. The one in Heaven doesn’t have bugs.
This summer of 2002, I let the heat and West Nile mosquito’s have the garden. Now, the work beckons and I’ve missed the songs of the mocking bird while I pull weeds and replace them with beautiful flowers. What a pleasure to look forward to new blooms each day.