Sunday, 21 June 2015


My Dad died in April last year, before which I had a few precious weeks with him when we talked lots about his youth, his National Service ('some of the best days of my life'), his football team ('come on the Jags'), his love for my Mum ('my Bet') and their early days together as a young couple and then my appearance ('the apple of our eye') just 11 short months after their wedding day.  We reminisced about family holidays; Mum, Dad, my brother B, sister JA and me together in caravans and self catering flats - Blackpool, Scarborough, Girvan, Isle of Wight - happy times, Dad loved a holiday.

Mum and Dad on holiday
Although Dad was very ill indeed, I'll always hold memories of those days and conversations close in my heart and reach for them at moments when the loss of him overwhelms me.

My Dad came late to gardening, when he moved to a wee house with a small garden after my Mum's death.  This was his first garden, as he had lived all of his life in tenement flats in Glasgow, so at 62 years old he began gardening.  

Dad predominately grew roses, and he nourished them with much care and attention.  His small front garden was a joy to behold through the Summer months  with a variety of roses including Trumpeter and Margaret Merril, whilst the side of his house was festooned in climbing roses, New Dawn and Handel.  He fed, sprayed, pruned, mulched, deadheaded and generally cossetted them and was rewarded with many lovely compliments from neighbours on the beauty of his small space.

Dad's roses

So when I came back to Holly Grove after his send off I thought about a rose for remembrance, but I'm not sure my roses reach the high standard set by Dad.  Then I considered planting something in bloom on his birthday, but that's at the end of January and could prove quite a challenge (and I don't spend time in the garden in Winter).  

So what about something to cheer up the end of April, something heralding in the Spring and new life, something joyous, something ostentatious, something welcoming...

Dad's cherry tree
Prunus Shirofugen, described by the RHS as: 'a small deciduous tree with a flattened spreading crown.  Young leaves deep coppery-brown, turning orange in autumn.  Double flowers 5cm in width, dull pink in bud, opening white and fading to pink.'

image from Chew Valley Trees
Not sure I agree with the assessment of 'dull pink in bud', I prefer to describe them as soft pink, is that the romantic in me?  It's a later flowering cherry, coming into blossom in May. Planted in May 2014, young as it is, it's given us our first few blossoms this year and managed to hang on to them through very windy weather.  It stands just inside the entrance to Holly Grove, greeting our visitors and reminding us of Dad in all his glory!  

Happy Fathers' Day Dad - with me always x

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