It’s Alive … Honoring The Gardener

Horse on Village Green In EnglandI have never been much of a gardener although I’ve purchased more than few books over the years on designing, building, and maintaining  an outdoor space, and I can certainly perform the routine maintenance tasks that go with a typical American yards such as grass cutting, hedge trimming, and weed pulling, but living in Cornwall I’ve had a chance to slow down and appreciate the green-thumbed efforts of others like never before.

Not long after I married my husband and moved to his home in England, I met a very interesting man who at the time was in his late 80s. On my way back from a run one day, I noticed him walking slowly at the edge of the village green carrying several small bags looking as if he’d just come from the local shop. I realized as I got closer that he lived in one of the houses on a road nearby and I stopped to chat and to offer a hand with his shopping.

Walking back to his house, he told me how he use to bike around Cornwall in his 40s and his travels took him through our village. It was our good fortune that he moved here after retiring from a career in forestry service because when Dutch elm disease took most of the trees on the green in the 70s, he was part of a group of folks who replanted the trees we now enjoy.

Not long ago his house was sold after his health deteriorated and he could no longer live on his own. His house went to someone who lived locally on the edge of the village who wanted to downsize and be closer to its center. Mr. Thomas had a lovely garden although there was so much there that it was easy to over look much of what made it special. I always loved his huge hydrangea bush and an unusual pine tree that I’ll say more about in another post.

I was never much a fan of the hydrangea until I saw some of the gorgeous full ones that grow here. I think my experience in the US made me think of them as being chronically spindly with big heads.

When I saw that the lady who bought Mr. T’s house was making major changes to the front and back garden, I meant to ask about snagging the hydrangea bush if she didn’t want it. I assumed she might not after seeing it cut back to the ground, but I almost waited to late to ask.

John and I were on our way out one day and saw a truck at the house filled with roots and bits that had been in the front garden. John stopped the car when I shouted and I went around the back of the house where I could see some men using a mini digger to pull up more of the tougher roots.

After explaining my sentimental connection to our former neighbor and his hydrangea bush, I asked if I might go through the roots in the truck bed to see if I could find any parts of the hydrangea and they not only said yes, but they stopped to help me sort through it. After a bit of digging, we found a couple of limbless chunks of root and we took them home hoping we had managed to find some parts of the hydrangea.

John does the gardening and said he’d plant them the next day as he was on his way out, but I got worried and dug a couple of holes while he was away because I too impatient to wait.

I’ve been keeping watch over two root bits in particular of the four I planted a few months ago, and I was over the moon to see new shoots popping out of the two I thought were part of the hydrangea.

Purple Hydrangea Bush, UKIt may not bloom this year, but I hope it won’t be too long before it looks like it did when it was nurtured by Mr Thomas.

Purple Hydrangea Bush, UK

I wonder if any of you, like me, are developing a inclination towards gardening due to sentimentality.

Busy As ….

I hate to use a cliché, but take the title above and mix it with the image below and you’ll soon sort out how things are here.

Even though I made it home on August 2, I’ve still not found a place for all the things I brought back with me. Disorder generally makes me stroppy, grouchy, or cross, you can pick the word that best suits depending where you live or leave a few you use to describe how you feel when you’re having an off day.

I could use a few worker bees right now, but I’d likely run them off with my bad temper. I’ll be back when I’m more agreeable. :-( Humph!

Hidcote Flower With Bees - August 2011- by E.E. Harper

Distractions – Bright & Beautiful

When bright flowers bloom

Parchment crumbles, my words fade

The pen has dropped …

~ Morpheus

I make deals with myself sometimes … with the life long experience of a master negotiator, I have whole, silent, in my head conversations that frequently begin with something like this, if you do this for the next three hours, then you can …

Today is one of those days.

Flower Delivery For Abelard & Heloise Still There

If you’ve been reading my blog, you may have read about my gift for Abelard and Heloise.  If you haven’t, you might want to go back and take a look at yesterday’s post so this one will make sense to you now. Kim, a blogging friend in Paris took a little stroll up to Père Lachaise cemetery yesterday after reading my post to see what I left behind. She sent me word in the comment section of yesterday’s post that my wedding bouquet was still there.

Today, she very kindly sent me an email with a photograph she took of my bouquet at the grave. In the picture, you can see someone else has tossed a flower tribute as well. I left mine there on February 4th and it looks suprising good for being out there slightly more than three weeks. If you consider that I made my bouquet on February 1st, I’d say those flowers were a good buy.

Big thanks to Kim for sending this picture for me to share.  She’s added a new chapter to an already sweet memory.

Wedding Bouquet - 3 Weeks Later February 26, 2009

Wedding Bouquet - 3 Weeks Later February 26, 2009

My Very Own Version Of Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

Picking up from my last post, we did arrive at the local train station and found that we could all ride the same train together at least for a little while. First we had to wait… and some of us were less than happy with this.

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The purchase of a little snack made us all feel a bit better.

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Here comes the train…and we’re off!

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Crossing the Tamar estuary on Brunel’s historic bridge as viewed from the window of train number one. After a short ride, we said goodbye to John’s daughter and granddaughter waving them off as their 2nd train departed. In these next three photographs, I’m in the reflection you see in the window outside of the train saying goodbye while John’s granddaughter’s little face is looking back at us through the window from inside the train.

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Me with my backpack and my wedding bouquet…it looks like I’m blowing kisses. 

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A Last Look Back

We boarded our next train and then dashed to our bus before arriving at the airport and our plane which fortunately was delayed by the weather.  After they deiced the plane, we were on our way to our honeymoon destination…the city of love…Paris!

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I’ll be back tomorrow with more, but let me leave you with a challenge…can anyone out there guess why I took the flowers below with me to Paris…leave me a comment with your thoughts and I’ll announce who gets it right first.

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Everyone’s A Wedding Photographer

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My handsome husband was a bit put off by the idea of hiring a wedding photographer for our ceremony two weeks ago.  It seems the idea of having a professional wedding photographer to capture the best moments of our day made him uneasy. I think he thought having someone with pro equipment snapping and flashing in his direction might make him more the center of attention than the title of bridegroom already conferred. Now for anyone who’s been to my old site at http://www.giftsofthejourney.com you may have noticed that I’ve photographed a few weddings myself. It’s one of the ways I earned my living in America and something I’ll be doing here as soon as I am approved for work by immigration.

Let me show you what happens when you tell a woman who photographs other people’s weddings that we’ll skip that part of the wedding planning and just let our guests snap a few of us instead. Actually, I think I did pretty good job of letting go of my camera for the day….well almost.

Bride Grabs Camera On Wedding Day

Bride Grabs Camera On Wedding Day

I’ve been very fortunate to marry into a family of women who know how capture a good moment and with this many shutters snapping, you’ve got a good chance of getting something that works.  John’s idea though…the one where no pro photographer equals no posing for a bunch of photographs… well, toss that idea right out the window.  

Winchurch Women Turn Paparazzi (Photo by T.R. Cross)

Winchurch Women Turn Paparazzi (Photo by T.R. Cross)

Almost everyone came with a camera of some kind. John’s younger daughter was gracious enough to take control of some of my gear and she used my Nikon D200 like a pro.

Handling It

Handling It

Here’s some of her work.

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John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper 2-2-09

I have to thank Tina (T.R. Cross)  for her work as well.  She did a great job with my Canon Powershot G9 and a couple of other cameras that she happened to be handed from time to time.

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Here are a few more photographers pressed into action for the day including John’s firstborn who appears to be taking tips from Tina, but is quite handy on her own with a camera. The rest and there were more… seemed to have escaped being photographed with a camera in their hand.

Our Youngest Photographer

Our Youngest Photographer (Age 4)

 

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Some mixed images from that day.

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This is John’s grandmother’s knife that he saved from his dad’s tool chest years ago where he’d been using it to open paint cans. John rescued it and cleaned it up and has been using it on a daily basis ever since. It seemed appropriate to me to use a knife with so many years of history to slice in our wedding cake and add a bit more memories to the old blade.

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Last one…signing the registry book of weddings.

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