Saturday, November 22, 2008

Memories of Mum and gardening

Memories of Mum and gardening

All her life, mum loved gardening. Together with dad, they grew vegetables and fruits at the back section of the house, and lovely flowers and orchids in the front garden. We enjoyed the fruits of their green thumb. They had their meticulous way of getting rid of pest. Using a toothbrush to remove the aphids and other buds rather than spraying the poisonous inorganic pesticides. Before organic farming was popular, they were already practicing it.

Just before Mum turned sixty, she moved to her new house in the Gold Coast of Australia. I visited her that summer from New Zealand with my two year old daughter, D. It was a beautiful hot summer, and Mum and Dad did their own landscaping and set up a big vegetable garden at the back section of the garden. Mum told me that D could only say one word," Share! Share!" Whenever D wanted to borrow mum's gardening tool, share was the word she used.

Everyday we woke up early before it got too hot. Together, Mum, Dad and I would dig with our fork and shovel into the ground. It was arduous work digging into the what was once a beautiful lawn. Mum was tiny, and she depended on my bull strength to dig the lawn up to make way for her veg garden. I was born in the year of the horse according to the Chinese Zodiac. So I am born to life of hard slog even though my parents have spent lots of money for me to have my university education in Canada and New Zealand.

We found a choko vine, and mum nurtured and nourished it until it grew into a gigantic vine that grew and grew until it migrated to the neighbors' gardens. Dad built a trellis near the fence so the choko vine could grow supported by the diagonally structured wooden trellis.

Mum loved the choko plants. The fruits look like two palms holding together like praying, or according to her Asian interpretation, it is like a Asian way of greeting. We teased her about the neighbors complaining that her choko plants were invading their properties.

Mum said with a wink," No, my chokos are sending greetings to them."

The neighbors enjoyed harvesting the chokos in their garden that they have not planted and tended. Chokos cost quite a bit in the supermarkets. Who won't be delighted to have free chokos?

Alas, after all the hard work, mum died in an accident the next year. When I was digging her garden with her, little did I know that was the last time we would be gardening together.

Mum passed her gardening passion to me. I became the secretary of NTU university gardening club. I too like her am sharing my plants. I have nice reminiscences when my hand get dirty, because I think of mum.

***My mother died tragically in Australia. She was just a little older than what I am now. When I am alone in the garden, I feel that she is there with me. Now, Sam is helping me in my garden. I hope next time, he will have same same memory of gardening with me.***

The pix shows an old abandoned choko in my garden. I do not eat chokos. They make me choke when I think of Mum.****

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff.