Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In memory of Olin Evans 1926 - 2008

It's been a cold, rainy couple of days in the North Bay and true-to-form I don't yet have all my planting and late winter garden chores finished. I might not be an inspiring gardener but it's real around here - I don't always do things the right way. Some of the perennials intended for fall planting are sitting root bound in their 4-inch pots, the seed flats need to get started, DG paths need weeding and compost mulch sits forlornly in disintegrating bags.

My dear pop was ill on and off through fall and early winter (he died January 7th) and I was away from my home a lot to be close to him. He was quite the gardener and the day before he went into a coma he was out in his yard doing chores. He loved helping others (children, siblings, friends) in their gardens. I gave him flower seeds for Christmas and will plant some of those in my own garden since he and I did not get to put them in his garden together as we had planned. I found a folder in his filing cabinet labeled simply "seeds" in his large, practical handwriting and in there were tucked the packets of seeds I gave to him. I miss him something fierce. He was such a great guy.

In February 1999 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my parents came to stay with me for a few days, Pop decided he would feel more helpful working in my yard the day of my surgery rather than nervously hanging around the hospital waiting room. When I came home from the hospital on February 9th, the day before my birthday, he showed me everything he'd done. A rotting old fence had been taken down, split into kindling and stacked neatly on the patio. Everything, everything had been pruned, expertly. The beds had been weeded, the porches swept, the tools cleaned and put away, the rain gutters cleared of debris. My mother fixed my favorite foods. Despite the circumstances, it was one of the best birthdays I ever had because I felt so loved.
Pop died shortly before his 82nd birthday. He could still beat me in a foot race while in his 70's.

When the rain lets up, Pop, I'll get back out there and plant your seeds.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn,
I found your blog through Gayle's blog. I'm in CA too but east of you.
I am very touched by the inspiration you found from your dear Dad. As I read the description of his activities in your garden while you were in hospital, I was reminded of what my Grandpa would have done. I so admire industrious men! What a dear love!
I received my gardening inspiration from my Mom who died of cancer when she was 5 years younger than I am now. Come and visit me and I will look forward to reading more of your posts.

Carolyn said...

Dear Sierrafoothillgarden,
Thank you for your kind words. I've also enjoyed your blog and just became a fan of your Facebook column today.
I don't update my blog as often as I'd like. Your comments have helped inspire me. Now would be a good time to take photos and show people that it really is OK for a garden to take a snooze.
Have a blessed holiday season.