My earliest memories of flowers and the joy and fascination they filled me with was when I was a pre school girl in my great aunties garden somewhere in Sydney – a tiny grannies house filled with floral tea cups and doilies but a wondrous fern filled fairy garden path that lead down the waters edge. I remember it was one of those gardens so shrouded in foliage and jungle, that the water seemed to magically appear at the end of the path.
But it was on and beside the path that always fascinated me (my mum revealing later that she too used to skip and find fairies in this same garden as a young girl). Snow drops , which were to me white full fairy skirts with pretty green polka dots, blue bells, little boy fairy hats, mascara for fairy perfume and maiden hair fronds to build their tiny homes; violets grew out of the cracks and would make perfect fairy tea. Many a time after our visits the washing machine would have ‘washed ‘ blossoms from the treasures I had kept in my pockets.
Fast forward to maybe 8 -10 years old and my grandmother, an avid gardener in suburban Sans Souci – Sydney had her very own full size glass house for her many and prized orchids, the milk washed glass casting an aerie shadow of her ‘playing with her orchids, carefully trimming repotting and cutting blooms for the vase on the dining room table. I would spend hours with her here, fascinated by the colours, varieties and her true love, her garden also was a lush jungle in the middle of suburbia religiously watered, but it wasn’t just the outside that I found fascinating about this women’s ‘hobbies’ her ‘work room’ – a tiny long room with an old timber bench running the length of [oh how I would love to have that bench now] was a treat. This was probably the first memory I have of the magic it is to transform a ‘something with your hands a few tools to magically create something else. Leather and copper were her mediums, leather carefully stamped with pictures, oiled, tanned and laced for handbags with pretty metal clasps, belts with your name stamped on them, all the trends of the day. Copper sheets stamped with power and precision from her baby hammer, artistry scenes of bush cabins, kelpie dogs and horses leading a wagon, flowers and more. I would sit on her bench for hours with the noise the mess the special tools in awe of her busy filthy hands.
My own mothers hands were also innately clever, the most wonderful knitter of baby treasures & one off jumpers sold in designer stores in Sydney, intricate sewer and candle wicking, piano player and choir singer of which some of these talents have eluded me [give me leaves to sew any day but I cannot sew a button that will stay on for the life of me.
And of course as I welcomed my own daughter into the world, we had a fairy cave on our property that had wildflowers and mini ferns growing, the fairies would leave her love notes and jewels of which she would write her replies and leave them treasures too. The delight in her eyes was always worth the effort of the mum fairy!
It is clear to me so many years later that the pure joy and love that these women had for nature and creation unknowingly planted the seeds for me that quietly started to bloom without any purposeful or conscious thought of my own – and that seed…..what a beautiful gift it was!
Be always blooming