Repeating A Garden Ritual

Vintage Flower Clippers

Vintage Flower Clippers

My husband recalls from elementary school being assigned to write a paper on the subject of grandmother’s hands. Too bad his original manuscript is lost to posterity, but it fascinates me he occasionally remembers that particular, somewhat sentimental, title.

Grandmother’s hands popped into my head yesterday when I was out in the garden performing a ritual of sorts.

Gladiolus After A Rain

Gladiolus After A Rain

Many a summer morning as a child I followed behind my maternal grandmother as she picked up her clippers from a shelf and headed to her cutting garden.

There among her neat rows of gladioli in assorted colors, I would helpfully point out the ones I thought she should select (probably any with a sliver of red), but like the kitchen, the cutting garden really was her purview and hers alone.

She would gather into her apron the flowers with blooms that were sufficiently open and would bring them back indoors to lovingly arrange.

I realized last year I have ended up with my maternal grandmother’s flower clippers and it occurred to me to take a photograph of them sometime.

Finally yesterday morning I went a step further. Following a heavy rain the night before, a few gladioli stood in need of rescue.

Gladioli

Gladioli

I retrieved my grandmother’s clippers from a shelf in the garage. There were three flower stalks and with each solemn cut I made a conscious connection, a pleasant one, back to my childhood.

Gladioli and Vintage Flower Clippers

Gladioli and Vintage Flower Clippers

And there it was—stuck in my head—my husband’s essay topic, grandmother’s hands. How many times had my grandmother’s hands held these little clippers, I wondered. How many times had she slipped the latch to free the blades?

Vintage Flower Clippers Belonged to Maternal Grandmother

Vintage Flower Clippers Belonged to Maternal Grandmother

The clippers made clean cuts after all these years and brought back nice memories. They are back on the shelf now, the clippers and the memories. Their heft I still feel in my own hand.

Gladioli and Vintage Flower Clippers

Gladioli and Vintage Flower Clippers

So grandmother’s hands? The writing prompt I best remember from early high school is A Red Leaf Takes A Tumble. Fortunately my effort on that is also one lost to posterity but I know I enjoyed exploring it. Do you have a favorite assigned writing topic?

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36 thoughts on “Repeating A Garden Ritual

  1. johnvic8

    Being a grandparent of eight, I am very conscious of my memories of times with my grandmothers. They were wonderful women, my Arranger and I have tried purposefully to live up to them and what they taught us.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Eight! Wonderful John. You’re lucky and so are they to have a strong bond. I’d love to know my grandmother now and learn about her now that I’m an adult.

      Reply
  2. Meihsiu Hsiao

    On the topic of my grandparents, my memory is not much left they are talking about come from the mother, but I know that my grandmother had good cooking. 🙂

    Reply
  3. mattb325

    I have such wonderful memories of my grandparents and, just like yours, both grandmothers well and truly ‘owned’ the kitchen and flower-garden areas, although I used to spend way more time with my grandfathers learning how to fix things, make things, drive a car through the paddock and so on. It was some of the best instruction I’ve ever had 🙂

    Reply
  4. Christina

    My gardening connection is with my father; my mother hated gardening and cooking too, for that matter but my father loved both and so my enthusiasm comes from him, although he wouldn’t allow any of his flowers in the garden to be picked which is probably why I have to have a dedicated cuttings patch as I also don’t like to cut blooms from the garden.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Nice you have that link back to your father’s love of gardening. My mother didn’t much like cooking either, although was a good cook. My father was more creative in the kitchen.

      Reply
  5. Chloris

    What a lovely post. Both my grandmothers were keen gardeners and I have so many memories of being with them both in their gardens. My paternal grandmother taught me to really look at flowers. I still have the gardening fork she had for her 98 th birthday, so gardening kept her healthy.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      How lucky to have those rich experiences with both gardening grandmothers–and what a great keepsake to have that fork. Ninety-eight is a remarkable milestone. We’d better keep gardening and stay healthy!

      Reply
  6. AnnetteM

    What a lovely post and so important to remember the special relationship that children have with their grandmothers. I now have three granddaughters – two in Japan aged 4 and 1 and one here in Aberdeen of 6 months. Unfortunately she is soon to be whisked off to Canada where my son and his Canadian wife are going to live. I hope though that I will still be able to teach them lots about gardening during their visits to us.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Well you must be sad about that. The distance must be hard on you Annette but I believe your enthusiasm and love of gardening will shine through to them.

      Reply
  7. gardeninacity

    A very sweet post, it reminds me of my grandmother though she was not a gardener and tended to express her love and energy first and foremost in the kitchen. As for writing assignments, I remember our 5th grade class being told to write a report about France. I somehow stumbled onto a book on the Paris Commune and I made that the focus of my report, with special emphasis on how the Parisians ate all the animals in the zoo while they were under siege. The teacher was completely appalled.

    Reply
  8. rickii

    My grandmother lived to be 98, so I have many fond memories of her but she was no gardener. When our grandson would come to stay with us for two weeks every summer, he enjoyed helping with gardening tasks. I always tried to come up with ways to engage him in the process. I guess it worked. I’m told that when he returned home he insisted on planting some things around his dad’s place. Thanks for prompting these memories with your lovely post.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks for that. That’s a nice long life your grandmother had. It’s so cool that your grandson took his gardening experiences with you to heart.

      Reply
  9. Donna@Gardens Eye View

    Such special clippers to be treasured. And of course the glads are stunning…hope mine grow this year. My favorite writing assignment was the poetry project from 9th grade….I still have it.

    Reply
  10. P&B

    Priceless! for both your grandmother’s clipper and your story. They don’t make something like that anymore. I’ve been through dozen of clippers since most of them were made in China and didn’t last very long.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks! I love the design of those clippers. After seeing a recommendation several years ago I got both Felco 8 and Corona Floral Snips. They’ve been reliable so far.

      Reply
  11. casa mariposa

    I don’t recall a favorite writing topic but loved writing about everything. This is a wonderful post. 🙂 Gladiolus were one of the first plants I ever grew. So much plant from such a fat, wrinkly corm. 🙂

    Reply

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