Posted by: Anne | 13/01/2010

In Loving Memory of a Fellow Gardener

I can’t let this week go by without mentioning the sad loss of my lovely ‘mother in law’ Irene, who died on the 10th January.

We were great friends and had a love of our gardens in common.  Mum loved to potter around and take cuttings and show me what was growing and what wasn’t.  We gave her a green house, which she loved and l had many a happy time in there with her chatting about top tips she had for me.  The best one was a plant pot buried in the grown bag to pour your water into.  This got the water to the roots without disturbing the soil in the top of the bag.  I think this came from my brother in law, Andy, but Mum passed it onto me.

We all own a ‘thorn less’ blackberry, along with a ‘new dawn’ rose and countless rosemary plants and tomatoes she has passed on.

One of the last conversations I had with her was in hospital while she explained how she had grown her own mistletoe on her apple tree.  I had given her a ‘fire works’ clematis that I had bought at Hampton Court Flower show.  For her last summer in her garden it had put on a fantastic display.  I remember thinking it was much better than mine.  As we walked around, she would point to all the plants and say who had bought them for her or Dad.  So many presents from previous birthdays and anniversaries all had their place in her garden.

One day last spring, I had arrived early at her house for coffee.  There was no answer at the front door so I shouted through the back gate, knowing she’d be up the garden.  She opened the gate a few moments later, curlers in her hair with a look of ‘I’m very busy, you put the kettle on while I get these things planted!’

The sun was already warm in the sky and she had decided this was the day to get the runner beans in.  ‘Feel the soil she said, it’s so warm, they will be away in no time in this.’  I dutifully knelt down putting my hands in the small hole she had dug for one of her young runners.  I remember being surprised just how the suns warmth had already penetrated into the ground so early in the morning.

We enjoyed our coffee and I remember as I said bye to her, thinking that I should get home and not waste another minute.   My garden would benefit from such enthusiastic attention.

Doubtless to say, her runner beans were always ready before ours each year.  That was ok, there would be an empty bread bag filled with runners to collect the next time I called in for coffee.

I hope she knows how much she inspired me and helped me on my way.  She didn’t like to be given compliments too much, if I tried, she would say ‘shush you don’t need to say another word’.

I will hold her memories close in my heart and put her advice into practise as I grow my own veg.


  1. Thanks for your latest blog, a very touching account. The plants will be there to remind you for many years to come of the happy memories you have.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    The plants will be a happy reminder if we can transplant them before the house is sold. I’m hoping that some will be able to be moved.

    Mum, I’m sure would have a go!


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