Green Thumbs are Genetic

Dad was a horticulturist by trade; a gardener by hobby. It recently struck me how much he loved both. Because I was so young when he died, I’ve had to work hard at separating the gentleman from the myth, the man versus the legend. I’ve coveted every detail our mother could share until her memory faded with age and dementia. In 1989 I met his sister and my name sake Aunt Alys at her home in Northwood, England, returning with a fistful of photos.

What I’ve learned is this: he was a beloved brother, a generous spouse and a dad who loved his kids. He involved us in his hobbies, took each of his daughters on individual “dates,” and regularly brought home small gifts that he would hide behind his back till you guessed “which hand.” He was also a big tease, finding ways to “steal” your desert when you weren’t looking. He enjoyed photography and home movies and filled them with images of his children, the cats and the garden. He painted with oils with our mother as his muse and taught us what it meant to have compassion and integrity.

One of the most precious gifts our mother gave us was to say “your father would be so proud of you girls.” Daddy, the feeling is mutual.

Eric Milner: Landscape Notebook

Eric Milner: Landscape Notebook

A Method of Growing Grass to Water's Edge

Carport Patio Design

Garden Steps

4 thoughts on “Green Thumbs are Genetic

  1. Alys, this is lovely!
    What a generous way to remember your father, a NAND and husband;)

    My father loves working with his hands, restoring furniture and cars. He taught us some if this…but we have the legacy of my mom being a farm girl…and living in tge English countryside at a young age. It has instilled a love for gardening. Something I have shared with all sorts if folks but sincerely hope my son will embrace/continue.

    Thanks for a lovely view!


    • Alice, thanks for reading and posting. No wonder we are both Alice/Alys…we have British parents. Have you ever read the biography of Beatrix Potter? She was quite an environmentalist and a woman ahead of her time. She purchased huge swaths of the Northern England countryside and preserved it for posterity. The Lake District is such a pristine place thanks to her.

      My youngest son loves to garden like me and at 11 can rattle of pumpkin varieties and optimum growing conditions. I hope you little one follows in your foot steps as well.


Please join the conversation by leaving a comment, below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s