(Because May is the month of mothers, all four of this month’s Sunday/Monday posts will feature my Ma’s garden and all the pretty, lovely, beautiful, delicious things that grow there. Today, some flowering plants take center stage.)
I cannot remember a time when my Ma did not keep a garden. Wherever we lived, from the large house and lot that I grew up in to the tiny structure with the nipa thatched-roof that we had to build on borrowed land after we lost almost everything, Ma always managed to cultivate a garden.
As soon as she and Dad acquired the land where they now live, she started planting all sorts of fruit trees and flowering plants on it (even before they made plans to build the house). All that sowing has been paying off in large measures of gorgeousness. Ma chose tropical plant varieties that grow all year round but especially thrive during summer. So from March to June, which is summer in the Philippines, everything in the garden is either abloom or bursting with fruit or both.
(I’ve been wanting to share this story with you. It’s a bit long but I feel it is worth telling.)
In 2004, my Dad suffered a massive stroke. Thankfully, he survived but it left him with the right side of his body paralyzed, thereby impairing his mobility to a huge extent.
That in itself is difficult enough, but I believe the worst part of it for my Dad was that the stroke also severely constrained his ability to communicate. You see, Dad loved words — he read a lot, wrote essays and articles for local newspapers, and had the easiest time speaking in public (he was a politician and a teacher and had a local radio talk show). He also loved to sing.
The stroke put a stop to all that. While Dad’s brain was unaffected (he can read and can recognize classmates from high school), it had become ‘disconnected’ from his ability to speak. As a result, his vocabulary basically became limited to yes, no, and OK. He often got them mixed up, too and would say ‘no’ when he meant ‘yes’. It caused a lot of confusion on our part and much frustration for Dad. He would yell and curse at us because we could not grasp the message he was trying desperately to get across.
My niece Cassie on vacation in the Philippines.
You have to pardon the blurriness — it really was her first time seeing an avocado.
A note: I initially thought of posting pictures of grander windows, from those found in an emir’s palace and a cathedral by Gaudi. But I chose to go with the simple, the familiar and the image of the first things I see when I visit my parent’s home. These are a row of windows looking out to my mother’s garden. Someday I will blog about all the good things that she grows there.