Story telling from Australia
That climbing hydrangea, the one I told you about last week? It snapped.
It may have been the storm that hit Sydney on Wednesday, a storm of such ferocity it even made the news in England, or (and this is more likely) I may have done it.
Life’s been busy. I’ve been weeding, watering and planting in a distracted hurry, hence the mushrooms stored in the freezer, coffee brewing in the teapot and a hairbrush that mysteriously appeared next to my computer. Following the trail back to where it should have been I found my missing mobile phone in the bathroom cabinet. It’s been that sort of a week.
Mum was never so frenetic. She would often take a turn around the garden before she went to work in the morning, pausing to admire the dahlias and chrysanthemums she loved, snapping off a fresh bean that Dad had grown and always, always stopping to smell the roses.
Maybe it was the memory of Mum that made me hesitate before I threw that slender stem of hydrangea in the compost bin. She never went anywhere without a small pair of secateurs, tucked into her bag so she could take a discreet cutting of any plant she fancied. She’d come home, dip the cutting in hormone rooting powder and set it in compost. More often than not, she’d get a new plant.
So I left the hydrangea stem in a jar of water, ignored work screaming for my attention and I went out to buy a packet of rooting powder.
I love this blogging community. Generous people I’ve never met had posted precise instructions on how to propagate climbing hydrangea (with pictures in some cases) and it turned out I had inadvertently snapped off exactly the right amount of stem.
I tidied up the cut, dipped it in powder, curled it around the base of a pot filled with compost to get the maximum number of buds touching the soil then I watered it. And now I wait.
And while I wait I remember Mum. Broken Hill would have been too hot for her but I think she would have enjoyed this embryonic garden in Sydney, with its showy hibiscus and mature camellia at the front. I would have pointed out the star jasmine that will one day cover the garage, the scented Murraya beside the French doors, the promise of honeysuckle scrambling up the sandstone wall at the back, and the majestic frangipani that drops its creamy yellow fragrant blooms on the outdoor table. She wouldn’t have rushed in her contemplation of what’s growing here, and I know she would have stopped to smell the Peace Rose. It opened two new buds last week.
It’s the anniversary of Mum’s death, and although she died eleven years ago I still miss her. Thank you Mum, for reminding me to stop and smell the roses.