When I think about it, it was in my mother in law’s yard, where I realized my love for gardening. Seeing how happy she was there and the beauty that she created in her little corner of the world was inspiring and I admired her gift of making her home welcoming and warm. If I were to name flowers that bring me back there, the first that pops into my mind is the Clematis.
Every June her trellis was loaded with purple flowers that enveloped the porch. I always admired their beauty and she would beam about them. I remember her telling me they liked their “feet” cool and their “heads” in the sun. Which translated means, keep their roots in shade but make sure they get enough sun. Good advice ~ I always put them in sunny spots but I keep pachysandra or hostas planted at their base so those roots keep cool.
When we sold her house, I took her clematis that she had been so proud of and brought it to my house. I enjoyed it there for years to spite kids and dogs. Every year when that vine would bloom I would think of her and how pretty that purple waterfall on the side of her porch was. But then one day which I will never forget, my luck ran out in the clematis department.
I was standing on my deck while my son and his friends played in the yard throwing the ball for our dog. Keep in mind that she was obscessed with tennis balls. Relentless chasing of them was her most favorite thing to do in life. As one of the bos threw the ball, like lightening, she quickly retrieved it right underneath my full blooming clematis. Needless to say, her reverse wasn’t quite as graceful as her dive in and she ripped the entire thing out of the ground because she got herself tangled in it.
I could only watch in horror as she struggled free dragging the vine and it’s flowers in her wake. She never dropped the ball and emerged triumphantly. My husband stood there watching me, thinking he would have to stop me from strangling her. All I could do was cry. Like a crazy person I just started crying.
But then I remembered one of the other pieces of gardening advice Mom had given me….” You can always grow grass and flowers but not children or dogs”. I repeated this over and over until I decided she was right. I gathered the pieces but it was beyond hope. The truth is, she was right, I do miss my dog, Scooter, brat that she was, and I would gladly give a hundred clematis to see her again, but I also miss that vine.