Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A Pink Hydrangea

There are fifty-two hydrangeas that surround our cottage. They are a delightful source of beauty during the spring and summer months when they are in full blue, pink, or white bloom, and in the autumn when their flowers turn an amazing shade of green, they are perfect for creating ravishing wreaths and arrangements that last the long winter through. With fifty-two of these gracious ladies around me, I rarely feel the need to purchase fresh flowers once they decide to commence their seasonal show. However, there used to be fifty-three of them.

Our very first hydrangea was planted by my father. It was a vivid pink mophead and he placed it directly beside the front stairs. Being a methodical perfectionist with his own unique set of ideas and techniques, the planting process took a bit of a while. Peat moss was brought in, along with cottonseed meal, the hole was dug and re-dug to a specific depth, fertilizer was added, lime was sprinkled into the mix, mulch carefully placed round the plant like a stole. Wiping his hands on his trousers when finally done, he declared it to be planted “just perfect”. His efforts were amply rewarded as that pink hydrangea continued to thrive year after year, growing ever larger each season, its dinner plate size blooms drooping low over the front porch stairs and shining a fuschia light in the summer sun. Indeed, its beauty was so seductive, it enticed us to continue planting hydrangeas in the garden each and every spring until every spot was taken and we were known as the Hydrangea House.

Daddy passed away a year and a half ago and, in a tale worthy of the fairies, his pink hydrangea, our very first one, the one standing strong and tall for so many years, left with him. I thought last season it might have just been damaged a bit by a early spring frost, but this year it is clear that the lovely old lady is no more. As I plant a new pink one in the same place this year, I shall think of Daddy in his heavenly home, his resplendent garden adorned with a familiar, ever-blooming, pink hydrangea by the front door.
I know it will have been planted just perfect.

46 comments:

  1. Pamela, this is so touching. A great memory of your dad as you look out in your garden to enjoy all the Hydrangeas!
    I now know why mine never took off. I just dug a hole and planted, I needed to give them the extra care as your daddy did.
    Enjoy my friend! xoxo

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  2. What a beautiful post and what a beautiful memory of your dad.

    Your illustrations and photography are always re-purposed as the wallpaper on my computer and today's illustration just got posted. I replaced a photograph of a cottage by the water from a few weeks ago. It is so nice when people come into my office at work and see my computer. I get more compliments and I always boast on my "blog friend's" art, illustrations and photography.

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  3. Pamela, what a lovely tribute..you do miss him so much I hurt with you.

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  4. What a beautiful memory and tribute. You make me miss him too, even though I never had the pleasure of meeting the gentleman.

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  5. Hi Pamela, you have a gift for painting such wonderful pictures for the readers of your beautiful posts. I almost feel as if I am there. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers and I can just picture a quaint little cottage nestled among the soft colored blossoms.
    What a lovely tribute to your Daddy.
    Luv the picture of you and Edward opposite this posting too.
    Sending you a BIG hug.
    Barb

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  6. What a lovely tribute to your father, Pamela. I can only imagine how beautiful your home must be ringed by so many hydrangea bushes!

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  7. amazing story. so poignant!

    I would love to see a picture of your hydrangeas - I can only imagine how gorgeous they are!!

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  8. Hydrangeas are beautiful. I love their dried flower heads too. :-) In Oxfordshire they always flower pink because of the limestone soil. However some people use ericacious (sp?) compost to make the soil acidic and the flowers blue. Then somehow the humble hydrangea is turned into an exotic beauty. To me this was a form of nature magic as a child. :-)

    It is such a touching story. I have commemorative plants for people in my garden too. Maybe the flower colour reminds me of them, or they flower on their birthday. Gardens are good healing places. :-)

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  9. It's clear that you father had a special place in your life, and planting "his" hydrangea is a great way to remember him.
    52 hydrangeas!! That must be an amazing sight - hope you'll take a pic for us of that, sometime:)

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  10. So touching Pamela.A beautiful post and tribute.

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  11. my eye are tearing....what a wonderful memory of your daddy.
    mine past away in 2001, and sometimes i still feel him near me.
    i know you do as well.

    big hug xx

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  12. Pamela.......a father who teaches a love of flowers is a wonderful father! A fiting tribute! I would love to see photos of them all in bloom!
    Carol

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  13. What a lovely description, strange isn't it? I have special flowers in my garden too, like dear friends.

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  14. It's odd.
    When I was a child I didn't like hydrangeas and now they are amongst my favorite flowers...
    Your love for the flowers is mingled with your love for your father.

    For me: freesias for my mother and anemones for my grandmother.
    Is this a possible blog post -matching people with plants and flowers?

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  15. Heartbreakingly beautiful, Pamela. It's apparent your father passed on a love of all things beautiful to his daughter. Thank you so much for sharing this today.

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  16. I'm envious of those hydrangeas! The don't grow well here. I be they are beautiful around your home. What a great memory of your dad.

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  17. a very touching tribute to your father - these type of events make so much sense to me - I can't imagine that many hydrangeas in one place - it must be beautiful - they are one of my favorite plants .......

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  18. That is such an amazing story. I do believe that plants have stong ties to us, much like our animals (well, not quite that much :)
    Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to see a picture of your garden in bloom.

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  19. I love hydrangeas more than any other flower and you story is amazing. I always pay attention to little coincidences. My Dad died just a few years ago and I sure do miss him as I know you do, too.

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  20. Maybe you'll see that Hydrangea again someday too! Your yard must be gorgeous. They are so cottage-y. I loved this drawing...the wisteria really caught my eye.
    Happy gardening, Pamela!
    Catherine

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  21. What a beautiful moving post, Pamela.

    Hydrangeas are indeed beautiful. Fifty-two must look magnificent!

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  22. what a lovely picture of your dad now . how I love hydrangea too. adn to have 50 around your? Whoa. lovely in every way.

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  23. What a lovely story! I love hydrangeas and can just picture your home. We just planted two rows of Annebellas which is a white hydrangea. I am sure your father took that one pink bloom with him to heaven. It probably reminds him of you in his new heavenly home.

    Hugs ~
    Heidi (who just loves the photo of you and Edward cuddling!)

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  24. We have many Hydrangeas here at our home - our favorites are the blues. I think maybe your Daddy may have wanted your beautiful Hydrandea with him as a lovely memory of you and the thoughtful and loving planting he did.

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  25. This is so beautiful Pamela. And it is magical too.

    My Dad passed away in September, 2008 and I miss him immensely.

    Love Renee

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  26. What a charming memory, Pamela. I so identify with your thoughts of your father and his perfectionism.
    It's sad enough to lose any plant in the garden to a storm or an industrious animal, but losing the key hydrangea connected to your dad must have been particularly difficult.

    My dad loved roses (always sang, "The Last Rose of Summer" at the end of the season) and this year I plan on digging a new bed in the middle of my backyard, putting a Celtic cross in the centre and planting an "Irish Rose" just for him.

    Lovely memorial post.

    Kat

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  27. I love hydrangeas. They are show stoppers. I bet your Dad took his pink mophead to plant by his new front porch........ many hugs... xo

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  28. You have an uncanny ability to illustrate your writing with perfect art work! I love the way you have described Edward and Apple as they play together. And about that possum: hilarious! ...At least from where I am, which is many miles away...

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  29. 52 hydrangeas? Lucky!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s death. I love the idea of the first hydrangea going with him but the concept living on in your garden.

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  30. So poignant. The world needs more gardeners like your daddy. I wonder what a 'coincidence' it was, that the hydrangea departed the same time your dad did. THere is something in that, I think. And the little blond in the illustration looks just like you.

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  31. Lovely post! And the illustration you chose looks as if it could be a young Pamela in the garden.

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  32. What a beautiful memory Pamela, and such a beautiful post.

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  33. How canny nature and life are and how sympatico. Your hydrangeas must be beautiful Pamela and what a wonderful legacy from your father. A love of gardens and gardening is the greatest gift. Have a lovely weekend, xv.

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  34. Hello P&E,

    Hydrangeas are one of my favourite plants too. The pink colour tends to predominate in UK but in our last home the soil produced an almost turquoise blue, which was great to see.

    I'm sure your father will still be able to enjoy your new planting.

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  35. Lovely story of your dear father, Pamela. I had to wipe away my tears... Your dad took his hydrangea with him, but now you have a memory, when you planted in the same way that he would have.
    Happy spring to you and Edward.... I hope Mother Nature is treating you better than she is treating me!

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  36. My eyes are welling up with tears as I type this. My parents also have hydrangeas around the house and seeing them anywhere always reminds me of them. I know you miss your father and hope your other hydrangeas give you lots of joy this spring, indoors and out!

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  37. Pamela I think we need a picture when they are all in full bloom.

    What a touching memory of your Father every time you look at them.

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  38. Pamela, you write so well - your post about hydrangeas is so beautifully written and so touching.

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  39. that's a lovely story, what a lovely way to remember your Dad

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  40. Your cottage must look like a fairy tale cottage indeed when all the hydrangas are blooming!

    This is a beautiful tribute to your father...and again such wonderful writing and illustration..Thanks!

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  41. A remarkable post in memory of your father and his green thumb. I love plants and geraniums, though I have to suffice with palms as they need only filtered light from my northeast windows.

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  42. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man and father. Your new pink hydrangea will be a lovely way to pay tribute to him.
    Your cottage must look magnificent when all of your hydrangeas are in full bloom. Enjoy!

    xo
    Brooke

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  43. Pamela, what sweet story about your father.

    I've not had a lot of luck with my hydrangeas yet. But I dream of being surrounded by bushes full of beautiful blooms.

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  44. What a beautiful tribute. I wish I could see pictures of that many bushes in bloom...it must be spectacular.

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