zondag 17 november 2013

Thoughts on a Gardening Sunday....


For this weekend the plan was,to plant red tulip bulbs on Bram's grave on Saturday and to do some heavy gardening in our garden on Sunday. 
Yes, I still feel it is "Our garden", and for the moment it is still difficult to write "My garden".
I have never been a real gardener myself. Bram was the one in our relation who always did the garden, and I was the one who enjoyed it. He was not a man with plans for the garden. In a way, that was more or less his attitude towards life in general. Not too much planning, and see what will happen. The funny thing is that in his work he was totally the opposite. His designs really needed planning, and he was good in that.

A few years ago it was time for me to step in. Bram had no more energy to do the work after his aneurysm operation. The garden had become a mess. Everything was over grown with weeds, and our little City garden behind our historic home really needed some work to be done.
I remember a bit chilly Autumn Monday when I started working. The day before I had baked a really tasty plum cake, and between work I sat outside drinking coffee and eating cake (and wearing a warm jumper).
There was a lot of work to be done, but late in the afternoon I had a dozen garbage bags full of garden waste. The garden was cleared and winter could arrive.
I guess from that moment I really got a feeling with our garden. Going to a garden center became a joy to do. And coming home with new plants and planting them was an exiting moment.

And so I did after Bram passed away last April. I went to the garden center. Bought soil, seeds and plants and on it went, as usual. But the excitement wasn't there as in the years before. It was difficult for me to choose all by myself. I managed I can say, and this summer the garden looked good, but I didn't enjoyed it as much as I used to do. 
The plan was to do the garden in the Autumn holiday, but I didn't do it.
Leaves fell down. Autumn started..the garden became messy..
And so did the pots in the window. I have neglected them totally, so no dahlia bulbs the coming spring...




But I told myself last week that I had to do the garden this weekend. The weather will turn colder the coming weeks, so no excuse anymore. 
There is work to be done Young Man...

I took my wellies...
Brought out the usual tools..



Took a deep breath..and off I went..
I cleared out everything first...soil appeared after taking away all the leaves..



I pruned the little plum tree..



Planted Bram's red tulip bulbs round the trunk of that tree.."Strong Love" is their name..
And while doing this Bram appeared in my mind. At those moments I miss him so much. No more talking about the garden. No more connection. I feel so sad at those moments. Sad and lost in sadness.
Since a few weeks I cry each day. Not huge amounts of tears. But I feel that I realize that he will never ever come back. Ofcourse I know that with my mind....but the feeling of loss can be so overwhelming at those moments. But this feeling goes by..and I continue with whatever I am doing.

So it was back to my garden..after the coffee break and a cry..

I had to cover the Gunnera with straw and plastic to save him from the winterfrost. Bram had bought that plant because he loved it to have a big item in the garden. Not very practical, because it needs a lot of water, while the garden is in the south direction, so very sunny. Usually it was me who splashed buckets of water on it each day durung a hot summer. But the result was a plant with Huge leaves and a joy to watch.




I did cut of a piece off today (sorry Bram), and wrapped it up as a round parcel.
In spring the leaves will have so much power that sometimes the stones are pushed away.



I planted a lot of bulbs. "Red Magic" tulips, daffodils and Hyacinths, which I bought at a garden center close to the graveyard some weeks ago. When I bought them I could hear that the young man came from the region where Bram was born. So I asked him where he came from. His answer was first..close to Den Helder..his second answer was..Breezand.
Breezand, the village Bram was born. The area full of tulip fields in which his whole family had been worked. Peeling bulbs, cutting off the flowers. Bram didn't like that place very much. The distance between the very rich bulb farmers and the poor workers.
At the end of the talk it turned out that the young man was living in the same street where Bram was born. 



We also have a "devils walking stick tree" in the garden. The birds love the little black berries, so I decided to prune the tree at the beginning of Spring. Bram got this tree as a gift for his birthday from dear friends Anja & Paul in October 1992, just after  started living in this house. So it is 21 years now.

I try to cover the back wall of the house with a Tuscan Jasmine I planted last year.
This year all goes well. It doesn't grow fast, but looks healthy


The back wall is partly from Medieval times, and is now partly covered with foliage from a climber which stands in my neighbours garden.. The leaves are getting yellow now and have started falling down.. 
My neighbor on the other side is growing a grape tree and we both hope that a part of the wall will be covered the coming years.



And at the wooden fence between the 2 terraces is a Hedera growing. They grow so fast, so heavy cutting was really necessary.



I ended up with a big pile of leaves and branches..


There are the last colored leaves at the vine on the wall of the shed, where I put my bicycle...


The outcome of a day's work in the garden are a few big bags full of garden waste



On Wednesday I hope to finish everything and the waiting for Spring can begin.

It is strange. I have always loved Autumn and Winter, but now I don't like it that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I can't wait for the days when the light comes back and when the tulips will blossom on his grave and in my garden.

Coming home in an empty house is every day a strange moment. No one to share, no one to talk to, and now one to laugh with. I am not a person for living my life alone.
When I met Bram my loneliness disappeared. Now the loneliness is back, but in a different way. I have grown older and had life experience sofar at my age of 55. But it is still difficult to cope with. 
In my youth I was a lonely boy, and sometimes this lonely boy knocks again at my door. When I open the door, the only thing I can do is cry. He is part of me too, and I know him well.


P.S. 
Last Friday I went to a little concert in a local bookstore.
Johanneke ter Stege sang a beautiful song: Before you go to sleep, and I had to think of Bram before he went to sleep..


4 opmerkingen:

  1. Wat ben je hard bezig geweest Jan!! Mijn complimenten en respect krijg je en heb je dubbel en dwars verdiend!!!
    Als tuin freak (zo gek gepassioneerd ben ik) heb me zalig kunnen 'laven" aan je werkbeschrijvingen en foto's.

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  2. hartverscheurend. en mooi. en stoer. en lief.

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  3. dank je weer voor je ontroerende bericht.
    en zo treffend hoe je beschrijft dat Missen vele gradaties heeft, en in alles zijn weerhaken zet....
    en dat je laat zien dat het niet óver is, na een paar weken of maanden...en steeds verandert, maar wel aanwezig blijft...

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  4. Red is such a beautiful colour and... tulips were the original flower of love :-)

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