Dad’s back yard was his pride and joy. Actually, his whole garden was good reason for him to be proud. I’m referring now to the garden of the prefab house that I associate with my young childhood – age five through eleven years.
There was a concrete walkway that crossed the full width of the back of the house. This was then bordered by a tall trellis fence with an archway set midway. Both the fence and the archway were painted white and were covered by thickly growing rambling roses. The delicate perfume of these roses when they were in bloom floated on the warm summer air.
Three worn red brick steps under the archway of fragrant pink roses led down to a lush green rectangle measuring about twenty yards by fifteen yards. In the springtime bright yellow buttercups dotted here and there in the grass reflected back the sun’s golden rays. Later on in the summer dainty white daisies danced across the carefully trimmed lawn. Sprinkled throughout the grass patches of sweet smelling clover attracted the buzzing bumble bees.
An upward sloping flower bed completely bordered the lawn, and from early spring through late autumn it was a constant changing riot of colors and perfumes. Large plump pincushions of blue and white alyssum grew close to the grass, their musky perfume hanging heavily in the air. Intermingled with the alyssum, yellow and purple Pansies nodded their pretty painted faces, while delicate sprays of deep pink London Pride swayed gently in the breeze behind them.
Jostling for room and vying for attention was a profusion of red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and burgundy dahlias of the single, double, and pom-pom varieties. Pungent smelling French Marigolds and gaily colored Anemones (my mother’s favorite flowers) somehow managed to find some space. Along the top edge of the flower bed stood majestic spikes of pink, blue, and violet Lupines interspersed with tall stems of blossom-laden antirrhinums (we called them “bunny rabbits”).
Beyond the lawn Dad had created an area dedicated to rambling raspberry, currant, and gooseberry bushes as well as some pear and apple trees. To one side of this area cabbage and cauliflower, carrots and celery, potatoes and peas and beans grew, as well as a variety of lettuces and tomatoes. It was always a garden of plentiful bounty.
Coming up the steps from the lawn and going under the archway, I could turn either left or right to get to the vegetable patch. It all depended on how brave I was feeling! To the left was a long line of “dreaded” larkspurs. These tall graceful plants had clusters of vivid deep blue flowers growing all the way up lengthy stems. In the center of each bloom nestled a fuzzy black thing with a bright yellow mark that looked just like a bee!
However, going to the right I passed the rockery which ran the full length of the garden connecting the front and back yards. The rockery was a magical place full of hundreds of small and most unusual plants with minute yellow, white, pink, and blue flowers that clambered over and around a fascinating collection of white crystal, gray and pink marble, and speckled granite rocks. I was sure that faeries, elves and gnomes lived there!
What a wondrous place this garden was, full of color, perfume and adventure. I felt like a queen as I played there and all the flowers were my subjects. How lucky I was to have had a father who dedicated so much time, energy, and love to create and maintain “my kingdom”.
A couple of days ago I had a bit of a traumatic experience. In the bigger scheme of things it was just a blip on the horizon, but it changed my plans over the last few days, causing me to spend several hours at the doctors and then at the pharmacy, and has caused me some severe pain and discomfort. Amazing what a small thing like a bee sting can do.
I’m not going into the details. The location of the sting is personal and somewhat embarrassing. I was innocently weeding the garden when it happened, ripping out whole forests of weeds that had grown in the swampy heat of our Florida summer underneath the Chinese Privets and the Chaste tree.
I grabbed yet another handful of weeds and found myself yanking on a long bindweed vine that was entwined in the Chaste three. I yanked and I yanked and shook the tree to its roots without realizing that I was disturbing lots of bees or wasps (I’m never quite sure which they are) that were getting drunk on nectar from the blooms in the tree. Next thing I know – pure white hot pain.
Within fifteen minutes I had a huge swollen area of skin and no pain relief despite copious applications of ammonia. Because of the location I decided that medical intervention was necessary as a precaution, so took myself to one of these “drive through” medical centers that have popped up like mushrooms. I was told there was not much to do other than go home, ice it down and take Benadryl for the swelling and “did I want some Vicodin for pain?”. (Is it any wonder that people get addicted to these kinds of medication? Doctors seem to hand them out like candy!)
Over an hour later I went home and did the ice thing, was already on an anti-histamine for something else so didn’t bother with the Benadryl, and took two 500mg Tylenol. Up until this point in time I had been dealing with pretty high level pain, so by the time the Tylenol kicked in I was exhausted. I curled up on the couch feeling crappy and wiped out and thankfully fell asleep. It was 8.15pm. At some point in time I must have zombied into the bedroom.
During the night I tossed and turned and in the early morning realized that a local infection had set up at the sting site – it was blistered and yellow:-(. So at a civilized hour I called my doctor and asked to go in. They lanced the blister, took a culture and I was given a Tetanus shot and a prescription for antibiotics. I was sent home with instructions to apply wet, hot pads during the day to “draw out the infection”.
I had an appointment at my favorite Natural Nail Care Center and thought that it would lift my spirits (it always does). But half way through, all I could think about was a nice comfortable bed or couch with cool sheets and a long nap. However, two hours later with my hands and toes sporting Perky Purple nail polish, I felt a little better and decided to honor a date with my husband for a bite to eat and a movie.
Halfway through the movie I became aware of a terrible itching sensation around the sting site, and by the time we got home there was an inflamed area about three and a half to four inches in diameter. I took my meds, did my hot wet bathes and crawled into bed feeling crappy. I had another toss- and-turn night and did not wake up feeling at all refreshed.
So I cancelled all the plans I had for today and have just honored my body and let it rest and relax. No housework has been done (thank God for pre-prepared meals!), no projects embarked upon. I have rested and read a book, bathed the sting site and taken my meds. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel ready to face the day with more energy. If that is not the case, I will honor my body and take another day of rest.