In the last post we wrote about the historical importance of grapevines in the Village. The topic found an enthusiastic audience. This
inspired me to dig deeper for more such green roots.
For a minute, though, let's harken back to Village grapevines. Here is a beautiful photo of our long ago neighbors facing Wilbur St. This is directly in back of our family home on School St. the family homestead from way back in the 1900's. A low little wood fence separated us, a token rather than a barrier.
I recognize them our reader and her brother! They are celebrating his graduation from High School. If I recall he was a few years ahead of me. This grapevine is vivid in my memory. After all, we played in back of it growing up.
The background is intriguing farther in the back is our home. There was a large lot behind it which once had been planted when other family lived there. Eventually my Dad got tired of mowing it -even getting sheep did not help. He also tired of making that drive to Cape beaches with a carful of kids while we always ending up in traffic jams on the old Cape road. Remember those days? He finally dug an inground pool in the back lot. With four kids that was a good investment. He next rounded up almost every kid in the neighborhood and taught them to swim, just in case . The pool was heavily fenced, but you never knew. Generations of kids swam in that pool, starting with us and then grandchildren. Ah, the weiner roasts and swim family get -togethers. There could be four layers in that pool at any one time!
Just off to the far left in the photo one can just see our sweet Fuller School. This is a photo snapped out of time.
Well, like all historians I digressed a bit. It is in our DNA.
Another photo found in my archives set me off
on a related subject: how all plants can be heirlooms linking us to our family roots.
The above is a very old photograph of my Grandmother Delphina Souza, my Dad's mother.
She is gazing fondly at her Christmas cactus. That plant is a legend in our family. I will bet that she acquired it years before this photo. She had been in that house since 1906. That plant must have witnessed a lot of family tears and celebrations. I like to think that it watched 7 children along their journey and it may have watched the loss of a father. You can see that it is already a large plant in the photo. It outlived Grandmother Delphina and continued living on at 184 School St. Its offspring found new homes in the homes of my sisters and myself. Each offspring flourished Mine ended up in a long planter, each year gifting my family with heirloom blooms. One day mine was not doing well. I called the Plant Doctor: my Mom. She advised splitting it. Oh, no, I dreaded the task not knowing the result. My brow would need mopping as I worked to keep the patient alive. It needed surgical saws but it was handled as tenderly as possible. Alas, it did not survive the procedure and had to enter the compost heap where it returned to the earth
But, I knew that my sister's was still living taking the legend into the future.
That was our first Souza heirloom plant.
My sister and I at the side of 20 Blinn's Ct. in front of
one of my Mother's rock gardens, 1950
Which brings me to more about heirloom gardens and plants. Remember the story I wrote recently of the woman who bought an old house with a empty dirt garden? Remember that in the first Spring that garden sprouted a carefully planned rainbow garden? A living legacy.
Above is one of my mother's early gardens. She gardened all her life, knew each plant by common and Latin name. For her gardening was a devoted hobby. Her gardens would grace the two homes where she would live. In our Village home they surrounded the house lighting it up with color. In the little mobile home where she spent most of her older years they climbed rocks, stone walls and hills all the while attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. They surrounded her beloved St. Jude's statue.
My mother's garden hats were legendary and always hanging on a hook beside her door- unless she was outside wearing one. She went into eternity with one of these hats by her side.
My Mother is standing speaking with a gardener at a Nature Preserve on 6A on the Cape, a favorite place for her and I to wander the gardens and learn new things. Once I illustrated a children's environmental book (never published) and her genes in me really activated as I learned all I could about marsh plants and animals that translated into a story..
My mother spoke the language of nature with much love.
Angi in her garden, where one could always find her.
The following is a sweet story about someone's mother and her gardening. It is from this
that I found the title of this post.
Always in my mother's pocketbook was a little plastic bag where she could safely nestle a seed or pod from something growing that she met along her way. Those little bags and her camera accompanied her everywhere she wandered.
Every plant in her garden had a lineage and a story. Each visit with her ended with a walk
visiting the blooms and green spikes listening to her stories and advice.
My garden became an heirloom garden in its own right. When I visited our visits ended the same way with a walk in her garden. When she visited me it was a walk in my own garden, where some of her heirlooms could be found. In time, my daughter's became an heirloom garden, only this time with two generations of plantings. The first time my daughere and I walked through her garden, my heart bloomed like the garden at my feet. There are roots in one's hearts, too.
I am in my later years now, my southern garden is far from their Village cousins . But, snuggled in my patio is a Hoya Vine, an heirloom descendant of my Mothers vine. My mother's garden lives on, too, in many of my paintings . I often sat and painted or drew in her garden. Many of those paintings were sold so her posterity spread far.
She loved everything about her garden, especially the wonders of spider webs which she immortalized with her photography. From one of her photos, I painted this abstract.
Spider Spins a Moonbeam,
Her garden was a symbol of the love that my mother gave to her children and grandchildren.
Her real garden was in her heart. This poem seems written just for her, like this post. She indeed is our greatest heirloom rooted deep within us.
"My garden is my refuge, I find a solace here.
I tiptoe toward the the rhythm and a rhapsody I hear:
The feathered ones give concerts, it seems they all agree
That now they are together, there needs to be melody.
The flowers show their colors as blossoms come to bloom-
they outdo one another in a wonder of perfume!
Extravaganzas greet me in the most exciting ways:
My heart is overfilling with the marvelous displays.
My song is not perfected, nor is my beauty rare,
But I receive a welcome within my garden prayer.
I dance within the stirrings of the love which takes control,
and I am elevated by the flutter in my soul!
Rhapsodies within by Jeani M. Picklesimer.
Photograph by Angi Souza