Posts Tagged ‘imre gellert’

My First Garden Experience

I actually grew up a city kid in Los Angeles. I was raised by a single mother who had a hard time making anything grow – including geraniums (now honestly, who can’t grow geraniums?) I remember way more weeds in our flowerbeds then anything else, and one very sad rose bush that I don’t ever recall having flowered.

BUT we did have an old neighbor couple right next door, Irene and Emery Gellert, with a very extensive flower garden and a home that I was welcomed into. I had a VERY well worn path beaten between my house and theirs. They must have been in their 70s and had no children of their own. I learned at her hand the very peaceful art of “watering” a garden, and how to walk among the bees and not be afraid, how to not to excite them while they worked so I would not get stung. I learned from her how to face my back to the sun so I would not burn the end of my nose, and how to put a daisy in my hair so that it would stay.

Their garden must have covered about half an acre, but was terraced up a steep hillside, with many beautiful paths, retaining walls, stairs and landings to all the different planting beds. It must have taken years to build the whole thing. Their house had huge vases in every room filled daily with fresh picked flowers in all shapes and colors. They were both from Hungary, at the time (I was 6 or 7 years old) I only knew that it was a far off land somewhere else in the world. He had a silver Olympic medal for gymnastics that was displayed in a very special frame in their living room along with an old photo of himself as a much younger man. There was also an engraving that I was too young at the time to read, but I sensed it was something he must be very proud of, so I always tried to walk by it with quiet dignity. I learned from him how to drink hot tea from beautiful flowered china cups with saucers, and to enjoy the heavy, dark semi-sweet chocolate layer cake she would bring us as we sat among the gardens and enjoyed them. He was a painter, and I would sit propped up on a stool for hours and watch him paint with oils on canvas. He loved to paint her gardens. She loved him to paint her gardens. They loved each other.
I was in heaven in their garden.

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