Home page button
Newsletter button

Flower Man

Mary Alice Hearn Heard

Very often when I'm out working in my garden pulling weeds or setting out plants, I question my sanity. "What am I doing out here?" I think. "I don't know a thing about gardening!" That's when think of Daddy and his yard work.

When we were growing up, Daddy often came home from the office and spent a few hours pulling weeds in the yard or pruning bushes. The side yard of our house on Westwood had a flower bed that stretched from the street halfway back to the alley. It contained lots of bulbs. Daddy often worked in the bed pulling out leaves and making it presentable. I don't recall that he brought iris or buttercups into the house when they bloomed, but perhaps he did.

Even as Daddy got into his 70's and was troubled by asthma, he worked outside whenever he could. He had to give up the strenuous work that required him to be down on his knees, but he still trimmed hedges and pruned bushes. By then he had a large collection of clay pots, which he filled with dirt for potting flowers. Where the first flowers came from, I don't know. But he was adept at pinching off stems and starting new plants, so the flower population expanded.

Problem was, Daddy never bothered to prune his plants. Sometimes they grew as he started them--bent, misshapen, overgrown, and spindly. When we children came for a visit, very often he tried to give us a plant or two. He had already gotten pleasure from seeing the plants reproduce. Now he wanted us to share the joy. He also liked to share his flowers with friends whom he visited in the hospital. He was not embarrassed that they looked puny. They were gifts from his own hand, and he assumed they'd be received in the same loving spirit in which they were given.

Whenever I'm working in the yard and am appalled at my ignorance, I think of Daddy and take heart. If I'm enjoying the yard work, why should I be embarrassed that the result is less than perfect? I say, Right on, Flower Man!