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Grannie's garden


Today we went to the nursery to buy some spring flowers for our garden. The bedding plants were ready, and the air smelled of soil and fertilizer. It brought back childhood memories of visiting my grannie at her home in Duncan on Vancouver Island.

Potted nasturtium plants

Grannie Inkster loved to garden. The beds around her house would burst with colour. Her back deck overflowed with a bounty of flowers that she grew from seeds in small plastic trays, then transplanted. They had delicious names that I loved to savour, like dah-li-a, snap-dragon, a-za-le-a, black-eyed-susan, dusty-miller, and del-phin-i-um.

At the end of one visit we were jumbling back into the station wagon to journey home, when she handed me a small sprouting nas-tur-tium in a white styrofoam cup. I kept it safely during the drive north to Comox and on the ferry back home to Powell River. But I was more enamoured with the thought of growing flowers than the actual deed, and I think the poor seedling only lasted a week before it shriveled and died.

Roses were Grannie’s specialty, and I remember her crushing up broken eggshells, making a compost and spreading them around her rose bushes. Grannie always reused things, saving elastic bands, string and bits of paper. She wrote her gardening recipes—instructions for when to plant seeds and where to plant the seedling—on the white cardboard she had saved from the pantyhose packaging.

Such happy memories… drawn simply from the scent of soil and a few plants ready for planting.


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