Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GBBD October 2008

I often say I garden because I have to…it’s a compulsion or addiction for me.
I love working in my garden. I love eating from my garden. I love looking at my garden.
I love looking at my garden while eating a snack picked in my garden when I’m
taking a break from working in my garden. But just recently I’ve come to understand a bit more about the gift of being a gardener.
Ten days ago my 77 year old father suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while
visiting his sister 2000 miles from his home. He spent 6 days in the Cleveland Clinic, was discharged, flew home to California accompanied by one of my brothers and one of my sisters (thanks Mom and Dad for making sure there were enough of us to handle this!) and immediately admitted to an acute rehab program. We have run the gamut of emotions and fears, been told one thing only to learn another and texted/phoned each other in one week more than we have for 10 years. Right now we are cautiously optimistic that he will eventually return to his normal routine…a routine that includes going from one of our homes to the next fixing what needs fixing and building all kinds of things. My yard alone boasts a fountain he bought and installed, a lamppost in my fern corner, and the banksia arbor, side shed and patio roof, all of which he designed and built.
Right now he is, thankfully, physically in good shape. The stroke did not affect any of his motor abilities and his years of hard work have kept him strong. However, he cannot read or write (much) and is understanding about 30% of what is said to him. His speech is confused although improving. What does any of this have to do with being a gardener? I flew home from the weekend at the hospital mentally and physically drained. I’ll be heading back this next weekend with the possibility that we will spend it in his apartment beginning outpatient life. What got me calmed down and back on track was sitting in my garden. Out on the patio, unable to think, I just sat. And in doing so my garden began to calm me. Just being in the place I love to be, watching the birds and cabbage whites, the voices in my head slowed down and I knew that the patience a gardener learns was going to figure into the next few months. I’m glad I have my garden to come home to and I’m hoping my dad will be here helping out again before long. Or maybe just enjoying what he’s helped me create…a peaceful place to sit and be calmed…and maybe eat a freshly picked snack.
What would he see if he were able to be here today? Cool nights have not stopped the blooms and I started making a list. But after trying to focus I gave up and decided to just let it be. Instead, here are some photos I took. I hope to be able to pull a list together…next month!
To see lots of actual lists visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who each month invites us to join in her Garden Blogger Bloom Day extravaganza!


Carol Michel said...

What a wonderful post about what our gardens mean to us. I'm very happy to hear your father is doing better and has a good prognosis.

Our gardens are often full of blooms, but it is the memories in the garden that mean the most to us!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

joco said...

Hiya Leslie,

I am glad that your garden gave you solace at such a trying time.

There seems to be enough out still to provide a show.I enjoyed my look around.

I was going to invite you over to mine here, but at the moment you may not be in the mood for lots of bright red.

Kathy said...

It's usually when we have the least time to tend our gardens, that they wind up giving us the most comfort. Your post makes me think I need more places to sit in my garden.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

There's nothing like being in the garden to salve the soul and soothe the psyche. I'm glad you were able to recharge your batteries & I hope your dad makes a swift recovery.

Meems said...

What a beautiful tribute to how our gardens help center our souls even in the most trying times. I pray your dad recovers completely and you have strength to keep up the pace of care-taking. Your blooms and your garden exude the quiet peace we can all enjoy... blessings,

Gail said...

Dear Leslie, I totally get the scary place a sick parent takes us! I am so glad you found comfort and peace in your garden. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post and your lovely garden with us all.


Annie in Austin said...

Hang on tight, Leslie - hope your dad improves and can come over to consult in your garden again. How wonderful that he helped you make the garden!

Wishing you many consoling blooms and better days ahead.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

growingagardenindavis said...

I really appreciate all your kind thoughts. I'm hoping I can make it through the next month at which point we'll know a lot more! I'm also thankful it is a quiet time in the garden...I'm not stressing about any garden work and just doing a little puttering as therapy!

HappyMouffetard said...

I hope your father is gradually getting better. That was a lovely post. The love shines through.

Liisa said...


I agree, gardening can help you through many trying times. I'm with Kathy... I need a good spot to sit in the garden, and just "be".

I worked in neurology at the hospital for a couple years, and I know how challenging and frustrating a stroke can be for the patient as well as the family. Best wishes, and I hope your dad is back in your garden very soon!!


Naturegirl said...

Our gardens do bring peace to our souls and then when we take our photos again looking at the images bring peace to the mind..that's the way is for me..and my blog with all my flowers is my place of respite.
Wishing your dad a speedy recovery.
A Bloomer from Canada..NG

Diana said...

Leslie - So sorry to hear about your dad and the difficulties you are all going through. I hope your garden continues to bring you peace -- with all their complex workings, being able to just "be" in the garden, when we need to, is the simplest of blessings.

Unknown said...

Leslie, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad... but glad that he was in good hands here at the Clinic. If by flying back out you mean coming back to Cleveland at all... please let me know if you need any help, even if that's just the distraction of going through the botanical garden with me or something.

Lovely pictures, and lovely post. I'm sending all of my thoughts and good wishes your Dad's way right now for a full recovery!