Grandma's Lockdown

Yucca 'Bright Star' at sunrise

Whenever I get restless to go somewhere in this time of Covid-19, I think of my maternal grandmother, who experienced a "lock down" for four years, from just after her 15th birthday to after her 19th, from the late summer of 1914 to mid autumn 1918. In her case it was not a pandemic.  It was an invading and occupying German army.  A squadron of soldiers took over her family's home as a local headquarters and ordered the family into the barn, where they lived for four years. 

I think of that, and the restless goes away.  My granny never grew very tall, because the occupation coincided with what might have been an adolescent growth spurt; constant hunger for four years meant she never got more than 5' tall.  A reminder, again and again, that we have it so easy. 


I did carefully venture out recently, to a big box store for irrigation parts for the front slope, and to a garden buddy's house in the neighborhood, to visit with her outdoors on her breezy patio, masked and properly distanced.  
Garden-Buddy has some gorgeous Encephalartos...
E. lehmannii, maybe...   
 ...and she and one of her sons have blooming-sized Boophones grown from seed (!), of which these are the dried flowers:
 It was a fun visit.  

Going to the big-box store wasn't so fun, even though everyone was masked, I went early, and there were few people.   The irrigation parts aisle was a mess and it was a struggle to find the right bits and pieces required.  But I did it, and indulged myself by buying a little Pentas plant as well. 

Back at home, Beloved graciously and kindly got the parts assembled, glued and installed for me.
With a live-long-and-prosper salute:
 This is the intent:  the pink lines are the water's desired direction.
 Small Pentas plants grow quickly in warm summer weather.  These have been great short-lived perennial bloom machines. 
In other garden activity, one of the late arriving 'Sunbelt Savannah' rose has a flower!  Much more peachy than pink, not what I expected, but pleasing. The other 'Sunbelt Savannah' may or may not be alive under a mass of Geranium 'Rozanne'.  I have not been able to locate it. 
 The lone surviving Banksia, B. prionotes, is thriving.  B. marginata and B. victoriae died, while B. ericifolia is on the edge and teetering.
But Banksia prionotes is thriving. Such cool foliage!
Bright light and dark shadow in the gully:
 Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite' summer show begins:
 Volunteer tomato plant has...tomatoes:
 Light and shadow on one of the bromeliad stumps:
 Just light on the daylily
Thanks to summer, the big pile of Salvia 'Amistand' is reduced to a bit of litter.  Salvias are great that way.  Meantime 'Amistad' is resprouting with abandon.  
Once upon a time ten years ago, Kumara (Aloe) plicatilis was a little thing in a 6" pot.
 Once upon a time the Opuntia microdaysis was in a 4" pot.  I cut away a big chunk of it this past week because it was pressing so hard on a white-flowered Aloe ferox. 
 There is blue and there is blue--some 'Blue Glow' plantlets gaining size, but they are outblued by a little Lobelia seedling.
 Has been warm, but not unbearably so.  A better summer so far than the past several.
I remember Granny's lockdown, and remind myself, however hard it seems, we're very fortunate.  Granny did four years in a barn, cold, hungry, and afraid.  After that experience, she never got upset about minor matters, and lived to be just shy of 102.  

Comments

  1. Your grandmother's experience puts our's into perspective as we stay home with plenty to ear, shelter, tv, internet, etc. It's not really deprivation, more boredom. Again so lucky to have beautiful gardens to spend time in. Definitely a boon for mental health. Your garden looks lovely as always.

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    1. Put in context, boredom is not so bad! A luxury, really.

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  2. I have not been the least bit restless. If I didn't have to go to the grocery store, I would be perfectly content to stay in my house and garden. Haven't felt the urge to go to a big box store, or nursery, or anywhere else, since February. Don't miss people, don't miss other people's gardens, don't miss shopping for plants. Thanks for telling us about your grandma. May we all live to be as old as she did.

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    1. Alison! So great to hear from you. That post of yours from January, "It's Gonna Be a Helluva Year" was prophetic in ways I'm sure you were not imagining. Let's hope 2020 takes a strong turn for the better before it is over.

      My Mom's constant refrain about her mom was "Boy, is she tough!" Takes considerable toughness to live to be 101. Granny had it.

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  3. Thank you for the reminder. Out bad isn't so bad. And your garden photos are always a pick-me-up.

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  4. My grandfather lived to be 99, was born and raised on Guernsey and his family lived under Nazi rule when the Channel Islands were invaded during WWII. The stories and family letters I have read from that time describe such hardships. Thank you for your story and the reminder to always be grateful. I so enjoy your garden and your stories. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you Candace for your kind comment. What your grandfather and his family must have endured! The letters and stories you have are a valuable legacy for your family now and long into the future.

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  5. My paternal grandmother was 'here for the duration' of the WWII. There were no boats for her back to New Zealand (definitely no planes!) It was have been odd for everyone, she came to visit the family and ...

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    1. Wow what a situation she found herself in, such a long way from home. She must have had stories to tell. Thank you for sharing her experience which illustrates another sort of "lockdown".

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  6. That's a great message for lending perspective, HB. I'm just sorry that the people most in need of learning from examples like that (and the Spanish flu pandemic, and Manzanar, etc) apparently aren't people that ever studied history. You captured some great shots with perfect lighting - I love the sunrise shot of 'Bright Star' and that of the bromeliad stumps. Best wishes with the irrigation fix.

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    1. Perspective is what separates adults from children (children of all ages).

      Thanks, I ordered more irrigation bits online that will come in the mail, the irrigation is getting there--and in the meantime I can do some more planting on the slope, because it is 75F today not 95F! Wheeeee!!!

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  7. 83 -a good temp relatively speaking. June Gloom has arrived here several weeks late. I 'll take it anytime. I congratulate you on the thriving Banksia , and thank you for the story of your Granny. I can only imagine how the family must have felt on the day they were liberated from the barn.

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    1. Very good compared with the last few summers. We've been getting some much-appreciated morning gloom here also--it doesn't last long, but while it does, gardening can occur.

      Granny did share some memories of the day the German's high-tailed it out of town. They evacuated in a hellfire hurry. The commander left behind a sterling silver spoon with his monogram engraved on it. Which Granny saved. She recalled being very hungry and watching him eat hearty meals with it. I actually have that spoon and finally identified the hallmarks--Russian, which makes sense as apparently the commander was Prussian which is adjacent.

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  8. An amazing story of your Grandmother. One wonders how they survived, mentally and physically. She really is an inspiration!

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    1. My mom would always describe my little granny as "tough". That is an understatement!

      Her experience has given me valuable perspective.

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  9. It is always fun to see your posts. This one shows me how some of these plants, like the aloe you highlighted, grows into a huge plant. I usually see them in small 4" pots and they never get the chance to grow big and stout. You have so much of interest going in your garden. I am not complaining about our lock down. I live a quite life even when no lock down occurs so it hasn't been much of a crisis in my life. Looking at what your Grandmother endured sure puts everything in perspective. My Stepdad is turning 100 Sunday. No big party for him. He is a trooper though, looking forward to the pandemic being over so he can party. :)

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    1. I don't go out that much myself, so it has not made a lot of difference, except for a lack of plant shopping. Dear Husband is working from home now with the company's approval, so its been lovely to have him around more. He can eat lunch out on the patio and relax and enjoy the garden.

      Happy 100th to your Stepdad! We just need to hang on--the situation will resolve--many very very smart people are working on vaccines and treatments.

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  10. The story of your grandmother reminds me of my own grandfather, who was sinewy and small. I think he must have been shaped by physical labor and not quite enough food in his adolescent years.

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