Hetty Willeumier

© Copyright 2022 by 
Hetty Willeumier

Photo by Nature Uninterrupted Photography at Unsplash.
Photo by Nature Uninterrupted Photography at Unsplash.
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Flowers are the music of the ground from earth’s lips; spoken without
sound” (Edwin Curran)

Once it came as a caregiver to a woman with cerebral palsy. Workers,
building an apartment nearby, offered me the left-over lumber ”to
build low-down flower window boxes”; accessible to her wheelchair.
The fun of buying the soil, manure and plants at Walmart and garden
nurseries, was all ”part of the joy and celebration”!

I often “house-sat” in the Yukon and the owners would often leave,
with the invitation, ”Do what you like; with the garden!” I certainly
took them up on their offer; jumping at the opportunity to buy flowers
and create something beautiful! It really “fed the soul”!

Sometimes they were farms; sometimes well-manicured, well-
attended flower gardens…

During the hot spells of summer, I would have to hose, spray and
water the flowers often (especially at night when it was cooler). How I
loved the colors, the textures, smells and variety!

On Salt Spring Island, where I house-sat one summer… there were
bees and butterflies-a-plenty”; certainly a Heavenly experience!
For friends on Mayne Island BC... I built a “sanctuary” in the woods…
while they were away, vacationing... Clearing the bush, re-arranging
the branches; it was sheer delight!

I often went to visit my aging widowed mother on the weekends in
Gibsons, BC (ferrying over from Vancouver). Weeding and re-planting
flowers and shrubs, I’d come over “all organized with proper footwear
and clothes etc”... only to be surprised one day… with my Mum
announcing, ”Today we’re going to the Opera instead; I have
Seasons’ tickets... I’ve left clothes for you on the bed!” THAT incident
reminded me that “flexibility” was always a great boon! I came to
appreciate “how “surprises” could be factored in/welcomed in with
light-hearted good humor... “expecting the unexpected”... allowing
things to grow and unfold at their own natural pace!

One “surprise” came when I was offered a little cabin on Salt Spring
Island, BC. The rent was reduced if “I did the garden” and of course I
jumped at the opportunity!

Although it had started as a mass of tangled brambles, long grass,
weeds, stumps, moss and branches everywhere… I managed to clear
the land; creating stacks of leaves and branches; later to be mulched!
I bought and planted colorful flowers; revamped the raspberry,
strawberry, blackberry patches and built up/leveled the garden... re-
seeding it with grass ...after having enjoyed the rented lawn mower
and weed-wacker! I wasn’t really THAT surprised when the
neighborhood children came over to play! (There was a tree-house...
and I encouraged them to use the wood under the cabin; to build
swings and forts etc)... since I knew the parents and enjoyed their
excited/animated voices outside my window. They were “into fairies”;
believing that they were living amidst my “magical garden”; planting
little letters by the flower stems. For fun I created a conspiracy with
the parents... where we answered the notes; thanking them for their
gifts of ribbons, string, wool etc … leaving little things behind too!
How fun it was to watch the astonishment and awe; in the eyes of
these Grade two-ers!

In the Yukon, during the winter, I had a greenhouse where the
gladiolas grew over seven feet tall! I gave them as Christmas presents
to friends… they looked so radiant in pots, in their living rooms!
I worked once in a bedding “hydroponic farm” where all the plants
grew in sawdust. Due to the harsh Yukon cold (often minus 60)... this
was much more viable and efficient... and HOT! During the
transplanting period” I’d often spot a sleepy little mouse; come
waddling out of his hidey-hole... too sleepy to be afraid of me! He’d
sit, where I worked; nibbling on the bits of cheese I tossed down to
him! Another lovely “moment in time; among plants and gardening”!
I’ve always enjoyed Antoine de Saint Exupery’s quote: ”Il faut cultiver
son propre jardin” (“One must cultivate one’s own garden”) and
although a “metaphor”… “gardens and flowers “DO say alot to me”!
WE, too ARE “budding flowers” … needing nourishment, good
conditions and cultivation!

We, too; need to “bloom” and thrive to our fullest potential in the
art of living”!

Like Joan Miro said re: his art: (”I try to apply colors like words that
shape poems, like notes that shape music”)…”gardening” IS
indeed…a delectable art form! WONDER seems to be at the heart of
inspiration… and I agree whole-heartedly with G.K Chesterton when
he says “The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the
sense of wonder in the world”

With flowers and gardening, one is constantly awe-struck by the
beauty and sense of the Divine!

As Francis of Assisi once said, “God is beauty” and we experience it
within and without... when surrounded by the splendor of gardens!
Here in Vancouver, we have the Van Dussen and Queen Elizabeth
Gardens; ”wonders to behold!” In Victoria, BC there is the famous
Butchart Gardens; the 118 year- old/ 55-acre land… receiving over a
million visitors each year/designated a National Historic site of
Canada (one of the world’s premier floral show gardens).

Flowers represent alot of things to different people. Some see them
as symbols of hope, while others think of them as representations of
love, beauty, faith, eternity etc…. As Buddha once said, “If we could
see the miracle of a single flower, clearly our whole world would
change”! The Chinese proverb, “Keep a green tree in your heart and
perhaps a singing bird will come” reinforces the idea of possibility
and delight! ”Earth laughs in flowers” sings Emerson while Francis
Bacon exclaims” God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed…
it was the purest of human pleasures!”

AMEN”! I say to that! (The Garden of Eden is HERE; if we “bloom
where we’re planted”!)

I am a creative writing enthusiast! I belong to a local library's "Writers' Group"/attend Writers' Festivals and enjoy exchanging ideas and information with fellow -writers and readers! I attended a few years as a "mature student of creative writing" at UBC ;which I thoroughly loved! Now at age, 70... i am "still following my bliss"; "igniting & discovering (ever more) that creative spark"!

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