My aunt was an avid gardener.
She was one of those people who would be visiting someone or somewhere and see a plant or bush she liked and she would say, “oh, can I take a cutting?” while she was tearing a piece off and sticking it in her purse. She did this regardless of whether she was across the street, across town or across country; this was her passion. Her souvenirs were usually pieces of trees which a lot of times she had no clue what they were; all she knew was that she wanted it in the garden. She would then get home and proceed to stick this cutting in a glass with water, two days later she had roots, so that meant moving it to a pot, adding 20-20 fertilizer (always), watering it, watching it grow and then transplanting it into the ground where the majority of the time said cutting would flourish under her loving care. She was my Mother’s younger sister and since she never married she always lived with us, which meant that her garden was my Mother’s garden and my Mom, who enjoyed gardening herself, had no problem letting her sister be the master of that domain since she clearly had “the gift”. They had beautiful bougainvilleas in red, pink, white and a breathtaking orange, huge gardenia bushes that would make you swoon when in bloom, stephanotis, roses, lemon and lime trees, delicious purple avocados, all kinds of succulents, hanging baskets all over the terraces with every kind of ivy imaginable; the list is endless. Her biggest passion was orchids and bromeliads. She would take a bromeliad, split it, stick one in the ground and the other on a tree and off they went. The trees in their yard were all surrounded by bromeliads which were probably propagated from two, there were hundreds. She did the same with the orchids, split them and stick one in a tree branch and the rest would be hanging from the gazebo she had built just for that purpose or in the house, they all bloomed constantly. Her other passion was me. Since she always lived with us I wound up sharing a room with her for a good part of my young life and while there were some lovely times and some not so good; I was quite the obstinate teenager and unfortunately took it out on her. She seems to have passed on that love of the garden if not her “gift”. Every time I plant anything I think of her. Tomorrow is (was) her birthday. Today my friend and I visited the NY Botanical exhibit of Monet’s Garden at Giverny France. My aunt would have gotten us thrown out and/or arrested as she took cuttings for her garden.
and Max for good measure
Because she would have loved that best.