"All my life growing up, my mother always told my father not to lawn the garden as she wanted to see and smell flowers, not grass. I grew up with her telling her children to buy her flowers when she was alive to smell them and not when she was dead and buried. I remember my very first wage packet and was so pleased to receive it that the first thing I bought from it was a bunch of flowers for my mother. From getting my first job at the age of fifteen years until I went to Canada at the age of twenty one, I never once arrived home on wage day without having bought some flowers for mum.
For most of my married life, my chief pleasures and source of relaxation has been reading, writing, music, history, renovating furniture, studying human behaviour and collecting paintings. As I moved towards my forties, the more sedentary I became, the greater the need I had to labour and dirty my hands to keep me in touch with my family roots. I developed an interest in growing plants, trees and flowers and during the next twenty years, gardening became an added pastime.
Though it may seem strange to some, whereas my wife's favourite treat is a box of chocolates, mine is a bunch of flowers. Whenever family or other visitors kindly bring us presents, after they've gone me and Sheila softly smile to each other as we secretly swap the gifts we were given; she exchanges her flowers for my chocolates, leaving everyone concerned none the wiser and everything in the garden looking rosier. January 5th, 2016.