Grandfather’s Garden


My grandparents’ two-story white farmhouse was an unending source of mystery to my young self.

There were deep, dark, fascinating, closets full of old toys and books. There were several old bureaus and wardrobes that provided hours of dress-up and imagine entertainment. And then there were the enchanting architectural details. A casement window opening onto a shady roof, perfect for sitting and reading a comic book. A narrow set of French doors leading to a sunny side patio enclosed by pine trees. Identical doors in adjacent bedrooms, both leading to a single small balcony.

Most interesting to me, however, was the white clapboard potting shed that sat in the middle of the backyard flower garden. The garden, encircled by a low stone wall, had several varieties of roses and other gorgeous flowers that we would call “heirloom plants” today. I especially remember the bleeding-heart flowers with their delicate pink blooms, and the lilacs! Oh, how my grandparents loved the fragrant blooms of old-fashioned lilac bushes. (So do I.)

My grandmother did her share of working in the garden, I’m sure. But this was my Grandfather’s garden. My grandfather grew flowers. The thought of him puttering away in his perfect little garden shed just makes me feel happy and peaceful. I never knew my Grandfather – he died just before I was born – but I have always loved him deeply. I loved his flowers, his yard, and the house full of treasures he left for me to find.

Although the connection was unintentional – at least consciously – it is completely fitting that the quilt I chose to make for my mother reminds me of her father’s garden. The design is a variation of the traditional “grandmother’s flower garden” pattern. The twist is that instead of the dainty hexagon flowers found in the traditional version, this version is larger – more man-sized, I think – but still floral. Done up in my mom’s favorite colors (teal and lilac), I think it will be stunning when complete. I’ve just finished the top this week. Here’s a couple of pictures:

The quilting will happen in the next few weeks. Just in time for spring flowers, I hope.







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