Sunday, March 06, 2016

The 103 years old gardener

This is my dad; he turned 103 years old last week.  Yesterday I spent the day working in his beloved garden, one of my birthday presents to him. (What do you give a man on his 103rd birthday?)  My father has always had a garden and loved working the land.  He got this love from his mother and I suppose he passed that love on to me. 
My father retired at age 76 and for the past 27 years he has spent all his days lost in his garden. He believes that plants are a gift from nature so purchasing plants in a nursery is sacrilegious.  He has a magic touch when it comes to growing new plants from cuttings and many of my own garden’s plants come from his.   He used to take morning walks around his neighborhood and that generated many of the plants seen in his garden today.  He has always been generous with his time and knowledge of gardening and plants and to this day neighbors, friends, and family seek his horticultural wisdom.  This past year has been difficult for him as his mobility is reduced and eyesight has grown poor, restricting him considerably but he continues to spend most of his days outside sitting under a tree, contemplating his beloved garden.

My parents have lived in this house for the past 40 years.   My mother is 93 years old and also loves gardening.  Except for a few senior ailments, both are in relatively good health and live at home with help.  Since they love their independence, this arrangement is good for them and I hope to facilitate that independence for as long as I can. 

My dad’s garden has no “theme”, no real “look.”  Every plant is welcomed and the location or placement is not important.  Over the years, he has planted many fruit trees which have given our family and friends many delicious treats.  He has always loved bromeliads and these hardy plants fill many of the spots around the garden.  He gave my mother a small kitchen herb garden, which I have duplicated in my own back yard. These days, his garden is neither as tidy nor plentiful as it used to be but I am trying to keep it up for both of them.  I am always careful and ask for his guidance because, after all, it is his garden!

He built this gazebo years ago

Sapodilla tree, also known as Nispero

 Two orange trees
Sugar cane  to remind him of his native Cuba

My dad is asked all the time, what is the secret of his long life.  He always answers good genes and getting along with everyone.  I would also add that a life in his garden has also added years to his life.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Happy Birthday to you Dad. I love hearing that he and your Mom are a long time love story and that they still live in their own home and have help too. You did a loving thing working in his gardens for his birthday.

Their home is lovely as are their gardens. Now we know where you got your green thumb.

Have a good week ~ FlowerLady

Susan said...

How fabulous! He looks AMAZING for 103! His garden looks like a very peaceful place, and how lucky (and nice of you) that they are able to spend their remaining years there. You are a good son, and I'm sure they truly appreciate your help. Looks like you have many, many years of gardening ahead of you with all those good genes. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post . . . and garden.

Thanks for sharing.