garden / Just Life

Inheriting wealth …

It’s not what you think. I am not referring to money.

As I puttered in the greenhouse yesterday, I thought about my dad’s love of gardening. He was a quiet man … witty and intelligent but soft spoken. I can still hear his voice. He gardened and puttered quite a lot after he retired from his long career as a pharmacist.

I wish I had learned more from Dad, but I think that I have almost “caught up”, in a sense. I wish we could exchange garden design ideas, opinions and knowledge.

As I was moving about, watering plants and putting items from one spot to another, I discovered a gardener’s treasure that I had forgotten I had. This close to Father’s Day, this ball of “plant ties” has special significance and importance.

Myrtle often set Dad up to cut old pantihose into plant ties. He would sit at the farm in Dunster, sometimes with a well-earned drink of rye with water, and patiently cut legs of pantihose in spirals, and then wind the strips into balls like yarn. I imagine that his ties were some precise width (according to Myrtle’s instruction, certainly!).

The resulting lengths of polyester netting yield many durable ties that are soft on tender plant stems. As the plant grows, the ties stretch generously, and as the material ages, it weathers from unobtrusive taupe or brown to an almost invisible soft green. They never seem to rot, and you don’t want to leave a length of that stuff in the grass: it will stop a lawnmower blade faster than anything else (other than a steel dog dish).

Finding the ball of polyester plant ties seemed like discovering treasure. Most importantly, it brought back the most valuable of memories. I value the hours and hours that Dad spent making even that particular cache. Although I have made my own ties in the same fashion, I am certainly not patient and precise, and have even been known to tie a tomato plant with an uncut leg of pantihose. Daddy would not approve, I’m sure, but he’d enjoy the fact that I learned a little lesson and hold the memory dear.

As each of you think of your dad on Father’s Day, I know you will have something to “hang on” to as well.







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