Thanks to my dear, departed father and mother, who were partners in a rose-growing, retail-nursery and landscaping business, and thus planted the seeds of shared passion for plants in me and my siblings, I’ve had a life-long love of gardening.
But though most of my adult years I’ve felt somewhat alone in this regard, as few if any of my own wives, children, friends or even acquaintances have seemed to share, sympathise with or even understand my horticultural bent.
So I had no choice but to embrace horticulture on a solitary basis, and soon came to see it as a delightful escape from everyone and everything whenever I craved some peace, quiet and serenity.
Until recently, that is, when my wife’s devoted caring for me during my long convalescence from surgeries about which I wrote in morbid detail in a recent post titled ‘Finally feeling almost alwrite’ started to include taking me on brief visits to the nearby home of my daughter and her partner, Lew.
There they sat me down in the garden that I’d pre-operatively started to renovate as a labour of love for both horticulture and my daughter, and all proceeded to get on with the job themselves while I watched them work.
And I couldn’t help noticing that that they were not only greatly enjoying what they were doing, but had become amazingly adept and even expert in every branch of horticulture from composting through potting, open planting and soil-reconditioning to the diagnosis and treatment of a diversity of plant diseases.
While I, for my part, now that I’ve graduated first from just sitting around doing noughticulture, through pottering around doing a little light weeding and watering and now, finally to actually lending the others a hand with such heavy-duty horticulture as tree-lopping, root-grubbing and earth-moving, have finally come to see gardening as not just an exercise in escapism, but also as a form of group therapy.
And my son who’s long lived in London and has always been more sporticulturally than horticulturally inclined, must have heard in my voice during our phone calls how heart-warming the group horticulture was proving for us all, as he and his family recently joined-in at least virtually by sending us a gift-card to stake us to more plants and other what I suppose you could call boughticultural items.
But let me not, in my enthusiasm for sharing my love of horticulture with my nearest and dearest, lead you, discerning reader, up the proverbial garden path.
As gentle an activity or even art as gardening may seem, it also, like real life, involves slugging it out against a veritable multitude of creeping, crawling, slimy, slithering, sap-sucking and of course flying pests.
And despite all my protestations of love for horticulture, I have to admit that I’ve devoted what some might see as far too much of my leisure-time to naughticulture, and spent most of my erstwhile working life selling-out my true self and whatever creative talents I might have in one of the virtually countless varieties of what can justly be perceived as whoreticulture.
Or, in other words, and in my case, advertising. But I like to console myself that I was pandering and pimping only for the peddlers of commercial products and services, and in any event nobody in his/her right mind believes ads anyway.
And thus I like to at least kid myself that I’ve done far less damage to society than those who prostitute their talents in the promotion of power-crazed politicians, as the presstitutes of the China People’s Daily do for the Xi Jin Ping regime, and those of the Murdoch media have been doing for years for the likes of Donald Trump in the US, Boris Johnson in the UK, and Scott Morrison here in Australia.
But I seem to have somehow wandered off my topic of horticulture, which these days is my refuge from all such rubbish, and even more so now that I’ve discovered that I share it with not only my real-life loved-ones, but also, to judge from the many posts I see, with a great many of my virtual ones too.
And for this, my kind kin and kindred spirits, I’m eternally thankful to you all.