Gardener’s Children

Contributor: Clare Miller.

At this time of the year it is so difficult to stay out of the garden. Every time you put your head out of the door, there it is, calling loudly and persistently! ” Hey,”  the garden insists. “The soil is soft and moist, the days are cooler, colours of autumn abound. Come out and play!”

And so I got to contemplate this “bug” that seizes us gardeners.  Surely it would be easier to stay snugly inside with a fire, a good book and a cup of tea? But no, here I go again, gardening clobber in hand, cold feet, icy cheeks and happy!

And then I got thinking…….but have I encouraged my own children enough in the ways of gardening? Have I passed on this bug which I inherited from previous generations? Will the children also have a happy retirement, pottering around in the soil, knowing that this is where it is so good to be? So…this is what I did!


First I attacked Daughter No 1. She and her husband had just moved into a new home and it was time. She received a whole file of stuff. In it I wrote reams on how to build a compost heap, I included flowers for the shade followed by plants for the sun.  There was an article on dealing with pests and how to garden green. Lawns and their upkeep had pages devoted to them and I found many articles on trees and planting forest in suburbia for the file. And then she had babies!

Undaunted, I tackled Daughter 2. As she lived in a flat I knew that a pot of succulents was just the thing. Oh dear, when I next saw her, the succulents were all dead. Her cat had happily found a patch of sand to scratch in!!!

Son 1 has just returned from 13 years of living in an apartment in Hong Kong. He and his wife are renting at the moment but I turned up, in gardening mode. We went out and bought compost, plants, tools, seeds and special pots for each grandchild to plant up with seeds.  There are many phone calls about scarifying the lawn and feeding it now that Cape Town has had rain but I am somewhat concerned about all the herbs we planted. Son 1 says the whole garden is over-run with tomatoes and he can’t see much else.

Still, there is Son 2 but…..he lives in Shanghai, in an apartment and I can’t speak mandarin to the plants in China!

However, there are glimmers of hope. Daughter 1 has a handy and knowledgeable husband.  Together they have created a paradise for their children with play areas, secret paths, a suburban forest and beautiful shrubs and flowers. Son 1 is scarifying his lawn as I write and I think there will be great activity when they finally find their own home and the younger two? Well we wait with bated breath!!!free-garden-clipart