25 January, 2013

Flowers from my mother, flowers for my mother


Many of the flowers in my garden come from my mother’s Camps Bay garden. White Pelargonium, electric pink Salvia greggeiSantolina in the little hedge, tuberous begonia with its interesting leaves, a tough pair of Aspidistra, a pot of Nerine bulbs, some cymbidiums and King Arthur's slipper, tangerine Bulbine, bluebells and snowdrops.

Pelargoniums, the white and salmon from my mother

Bronze fennel, Thai basil

If her orchids were in bloom, any visitor left the house with a Cymbidium flower and a little sprig of fern. If no orchids, then a posy, a nosegay – full of colour, texture and fragrance. Sprigs of herbs and whatever flowers the garden offered as she walked thru it. Her visitors left with eyes and nose lost in a handful of flowers, and a happy smile.

Plumbago, blue sage
jasmine, Plectranthus neochilus

Bulbine from my mother, Alec's Red
Phyllis van Heerden, white Plumbago

In the last few days, I sat in frail care with her, holding her hand as I read. She slept a lot. Once she woke up and said “I suppose we could settle down and read?” I gave her the little lavender book and she showed me the pictures of tussie mussies.

In 2007 my mother came to visit us.
This is how I remember her.
Dressed in purples
Book in hand or knitting blanket squares
with our cat Aragon

Kathleen in 2010
with Spiced Coffee roses from Elephant's Eye

Kathleen Jennie Yeates was born in London on the 21st April 1913. On 2nd September 1918 when she was four her father died  in a surveillance balloon accident in Northern France. Her life changed from being groomed for university to a dame school. Our grandmother took Kathleen and Eileen to live in Cornwall. By reading widely, history and biography, in fluent French, with some Spanish, Latin and Russian, our mother educated herself. In London she met New Zealander Monty Watkins. They married on 15th October 1936 and came to live in South Africa. Kathleen died on the 23rd January 2013 after her one hundredth Christmas. My three sisters and I, with our families, remember a loving lady, gracious to her last thank you.

R.I.P. my mother Kathleen Watkins.

Strange shadow on the mountain last night
An old man with cap, gazing towards the fires in the Cederberg

Psalm 121 - I lift my eyes to the quiet hills - is my mother’s choice, but in the King James Version! In Camps Bay our house was below Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles and above the chilly Atlantic Ocean. In Porterville we live beneath the Elephant’s Eye. In False Bay we will return to the spine of mountains along the Cape Peninsula, but the warm (with sharks) Indian Ocean. An Irish traditional melody from the 8th Century Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. A Welsh hymn to the tune St Denio Immortal, invisible, God only wise. The last one we sang at my father’s funeral (drawing together his New Zealand family and the next generations now in England and the USA) The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

- from the hymn by J. Ellerton
 to the tune St. Clement

The pink waterlily I bought with my mother
from a nursery in Hout Bay many years ago

For Northern readers who need sun and summer reminders
My mother loved yellow flowers - only hawk-weed today
Granadilla
Plum and figs

PS My mother and her books Holds upon Happiness.

Gathering the January flowers from my garden for Wildflower Wednesday.

Pictures by Jurg and Diana 
text by Diana Studer
(also on Google Plus)
AKA Diana of  Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville, 
near Cape Town in South Africa


(If you mouse over brown text, 
it turns shriek pink. 
Those are my links.)

43 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Diana. As I was reading this, I wanted to know more about your mother. And now I know. But words are never enough, are they?
    Me? I have bulbs given to me by my mother from her mother, that are very special to me.
    God bless. Keep the flame burning. My words are inadequate.
    Faisal.

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    1. Diana and Jorg, Please accept my condolences for your loss. Your post today is a beautiful tribute and memorial to your mother. I know you will miss her.

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  2. So very sorry to hear of your Mother's passing, Diana. What a lovely tribute your post is to her. Love the thought that she shared her blossoms so freely, surely a kind and very compassionate woman. May you feel her close to you as you think back on her amazing life... and may your thoughts bring you sweet peace.

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  3. Beyond moving--thanks for this post.

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  4. It is clear you have had wonderful times with your mother and she has left you with great memories. My thoughts are with you today.

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  5. Diana, I ache with you for your loss, even through the knowledge that your mother's life was a blessing to many. You have presented a lovely posy of thoughts and images to honor her passing. The Navajo would say that the next time you hear thunder, you will know she has arrived safely beyond.

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  6. I just loved this so much,

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  7. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Diana, and what a beautiful lady she was. Our mothers were born in the same year, 1913, and my mother went to university until her mother died, then she had to return home to be housekeeper for her father and three brothers, how times have changed. When my mother moved to live with us when she had dementia, she brought so many plants with her, these plants mean so much to me now she has gone, yours will too.

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  8. Wonderful, Diana. Granma did love purple. I can picture her in a beautiful field of Lavender, smiling.

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    1. Thank you all, from blog friends who go back years to my niece Kim.

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  9. What a touching tribute. I am sorry for your loss. But I can imagine that as time goes by, the many plants you have in your garden from her garden will give you great comfort and joy.

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  10. When my Grandfather died, my mother kept his Caladiums where today they continue to grow in memory of this wonderful man. Those bulbs are special:)

    This is a wonderful way to remember your mother. I'm sorry for your loss but am very glad you were able to spend the time together. What a wonderful and full life she had! My thoughts are with you and your family. Chris

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  11. Oh Diana - this is a beautiful piece of writing about a stunningly interesting and beautiful woman. How lucky you were to know her, to call her Mother. I am so sorry for your loss; though she is always going to be with you in the sweet joy of nature.
    You are in my thoughts xxx

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  12. Dear, Diana, My eyes are full of tears as I read your beautiful words. My mother is also Kathleen. (Born in 1919, and still in England). I am glad you had your mother close to you. One of the greatest gifts she gave you was the love of flowers. With sympathy and caring thoughts. Pamela x

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  13. Your mother has a beautiful honest and open face - so typical of her time. Their generations were forged in very different times and out of far better stuff - we lose more than we realise with their passing. I wish you sweet peace, health and happiness and many more good years to come. God bless.

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  14. I'm sorry for your loss, Diana. What a lovely lady she was, and to live to 100...that is quite an accomplishment! Your wildflowers are lovely, as well. Your post is a nice tribute to your mom.

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  15. Diana - We are so lucky that our mothers were gardeners. God Bless your Mum.

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  16. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss Diana. It's nice to hear though that your mothers flowers are in your garden and you will remember her each time you see them. Take care.

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  17. Oh, Diana... I am so sorry. Your Mom's photographs are so nice. They show a beautiful, classy lady with smart and kind eyes. What wonderful memories you have. My heart is with you.

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  18. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Diana. Your mom reminds me of my paternal grandmother and my maternal great-aunt. They were both gardeners, too, and shaped my love of plants. May you have peaceful memories of the parts of life you shared.

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  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother - there is so much of what is written here that reminds me of my own mother (who has been gone almost five years now - which still seems surreal). There is something about gardening mothers and their gardening daughters - my garden too is filled with plants shared from my mother's garden, and since my father is still in their home, the process slowly continues as her garden becomes more and more neglected. These connections run deep.

    One hundred Christmases is a wonderful thing. Take care.

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  20. I am so glad you had many years with your mother and such wonderful memories. You created a clear and beautiful image in my mind of happy guests leaving with flowers in hand. Peace be with you.

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  21. Diana, I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's death, but how wonderful that she had such a long and flower-filled life. I love the photo of her with the little bouquet of roses. I trust you will be transplanting some of those flowers from her garden with you to False Bay. Both flowers and memories can be such a comfort, and how special when the flowers themselves bring memories. -Jean

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    1. I have a list to remind me under the Plants tab on the new blog. From garden, to garden, to garden, to the fourth garden one day! I remember one of your early posts about My Mother's Lilies.

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  22. Diana your tribute to your mom and her flowers was so lovely. She lived a wonderful full life and I also loved that picture of her with the roses. I am so glad you will be able to take many of her flowers with you again...while I am so sorry for your loss, I hope it will ease that loss to know she is with your through your garden.

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  23. My deepest condolences, Diana. Clearly your mother was much loved. That photo of her, reading, with Aragon nearby, is a wonderful scene that I'm sure in the future will offer you many warm looks back on your mother's rich life. I still have a small selection of plants from my mother's garden, and those plants continue on through the years, along with my own memories of someone who was very special.

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  24. Ich fühle mit Dir, Diana. Mein herzliches Beileid. Es scheint, ob sie ein erfülltes Leben hatte. Dein Beitrag über die Blumen deiner Mutter hat mich sehr angerührt, erinnert es mich doch an meine vor inzwischen drei Jahren gestorbenen Mutter, an die ich ebenfalls denken muss, wenn ich durch meinen Garten schlendere! Es gibt viele Pflanzen, die mich an sie erinnern.
    Liebe Grüße
    Sisah

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  25. What a beautiful tribute - and what a lovely lady your mother must have been. I always find it amazing how circumstances come together to create each one of us and in your case what were the chances of your mother and father (from New Zealand) meeting like that?
    I'm pleased, too, that you ended up being born in South Africa, where you can share such marvellous flowers with us - many of which, like Pelargoniums, we have in pots in our own cold gardens.
    Best wishes :)

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  26. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. Its so nice to remember loved ones through association and you will remember her through flowers.

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  27. Diana, what a beautiful tribute to your Mom...I'm so glad that you will be able to have good memories of her in the flowers that you shared. She sounds like a wonderful woman, and to have her in your life for so long, is simply the best.

    Jen

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  28. Sorry to hear about your mum Diana, this is a lovely post.

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  29. Very heartwarming story of your mother and her life. Very nice flowers too. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. Diana, I am so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Does the ebb and flow of many years ever prepare us for the loss? I am glad you have good memories of your mother and lovely flowers in your garden as a continuing link. Your post is a lovely tribute. Your mother sounds like a special woman! Your choice of hymns tugged at my heart. Be Thou My Vision especially is one of my own favorite hymns.

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    1. The priest who led the service was very tactful about the hymn-singing (never know if the congregation will or can sing at a funeral). He tried us on the first 2 verses of Be thou my vision - oh yes you're in good voice, we'll sing the next 3, AND then repeat the first!

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  31. So sorry to hear about your loss, Diana. I think it's wonderful that you're surrounded by the plants that she passed along to you. Such gorgeous flowers are a fitting way to keep the treasured memories alive. It sounds like your Mum lived not only a long life but a happy one.

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  32. What a moving post Diana, and such a loving tribute to your Mother.
    You are in my thoughts
    K

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  33. So sorry, to read about your mother, Diana. This is a lovely tribute to her, and the photos are wonderful.

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  34. Diana, such a loving tribute to your mother and if I may say was looking lovely at the age of 97.

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  35. Diana, I'm sorry I missed this. I hadn't realised you are still posting here and was keeping my eye on your False Bay blog.
    Hard times. Good memories. Thinking of you.

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    1. I'm keeping the four latest posts (across BOTH blogs) on my sidebar Latest Posts widgets on both blogs.

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  36. your Mother was beautiful, and blessed with a long life. may you find the best way to go through in this hard times.

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  37. What a lovely tribute. The link with those who have died but have given of their plants to others is a quite wonderful thing - all so tenacious but so utterly robust in nature.

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Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
His Panasonic Lumix FZ100 (info from Panasonic)
My Canon PowerShot A490 (info from Canon)

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.


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