Liz Knox, who charmed us last Fall with a presentation to the Garden Club has a particularly sweet ‘Grandmother’ story. Liz normally spends her summers in a cottage in Wales on the border between Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire which sounds to me like a charming home for Hobbits. Sadly Liz hasn't been able to return to Wales and her grandchildren yet this summer because of the Pandemic.
Years ago, Liz found an old bird nest, put it in her garden and asked granddaughters Amelie and Isabel to decorate the nest and maybe the “Magic Bird” will come. Since then the girls have perfected the art of “Magic Bird” nest building. Younger granddaughters Ada and Rosa aren’t quite as talented as their older cousins, but they’ll get there. The “Magic Bird” always comes when no one is looking and lays chocolate eggs.
A wise grandmother, Liz tells the little ones that they can’t pick every flower in the garden which, of course, is what they want to do. She tells them they can pick the “Flower of the Day” each morning. To quote Liz “They spend ages going round the garden and making the decision which flower will be theirs today! It means they really look at everything, which is rather lovely…”
When I photographed flowers in Linda Douville’s beautiful garden, I saw lots of plaster of Paris decorations each showing a little handprint or footprint and a child’s name. Linda told me there are eight of them in all—decorations and grandchildren. Linda’s daughter Cara made them as a Christmas gift nine years ago—the first year they purchased their home in Eastman. Her grandchildren ranged in age from 2-year-old Trevor to 13-year-old Luc at the time the casts were made. The rest of the gang is Jordan, Celia, Louis, Ruby, Lucy, and Brendan. Linda told me the decorations have become cherished possessions.
Although most of the stories I heard were happy ones, I did learn a heartbreaking story. I had the privilege of visiting Anke’s memorial garden dedicated to her granddaughter who died during delivery. Anke told me that Ella Monroe is in her heart every day. At first Anke put a baby-ish statue in the garden but replaced it with one of a little girl with a radiant look on her face. This is how Anke pictures Ella now—free as a bird and standing tall and smiling.
I have learned from these wonderful grandmothers that gardens not only bring joy but also bring comfort.