This photograph was taken in the garden of the house where she lived before she was married and where she returned to live when war broke out in 1939. She spent the rest of her life there until she died in 1999. I think of her often, especially at this time of year because my garden is full of her flowers. My grandfather was a keen gardener but they had traditional roles, his area was the vegetable plot and my grandmother's domain was the flower borders. Some of the flowers in my garden actually came from these very borders, their roots teased up on hot sunny days as the two of us meandered around the Swithland slate paths admiring her handiwork. I planted these gifts in our first garden, taking pieces of them to our second house and to our third. When we move from here I will take parts of them with me again.
So here are some of the plants from Grandma's garden.
I adore these Icelandic poppies with their petals like tissue paper. They were some of her favourites too.
I cannot see a paeony without thinking of my grandmother, but they grew much better in her garden, with the benefit of a warming brick wall behind them, than they do in mine with its Westerly winds which are blowing a gale as I write.
She used to cut armfuls of lilac and bring it into the breakfast room, arranged casually in a large bowl and placed in the centre of the mahogany table. The scent of it transports me straight back to my childhood.
I don't know the name of this little fern-like plant with yellow flowers but it used to grow everywhere at Grandma's house, even in chinks in the wall. It's taken ages to get going here, literally years, but now, all of a sudden, it is spreading beautifully and brightening up those areas where not much else will grow.
These two roses weren't from Grandma's garden but she bought them both for us soon after we moved here and the tiny pink one has never had so many flowers as it has this year.
This is called London Pride and used to grow in a narrow border along the side of my grandmother's house. I can still see her kneeling and weeding as I ran across the lawn towards her.
The path to the big front door was staight and crazy-paved. On either side of it, in the narrow borders there were frilly petalled pinks and mounds of soft, silver-leaved 'snow on the mountain'.
Finally, these centaurea which were probably some of the first plants she gave to me from her garden and which the bees love almost as much as I do.
My Grandma showed me so much patience, kindness and understanding. I miss her steady love, the lilt of her voice, the tenderness of her skin as I kissed her cheek and the taste of her Yorkshire pudding, which she baked in one huge tray, will never be surpassed. But, although she is no longer a tangible presence in my life, at this time of year especially, she is with me through her flowers in my garden.
Thank-you for reading. Have a good week and if you have any flowers which remind you of the special people in your life I would love to hear about them.