"Flowery bowers"

During my recent stay in hospital and a rehab centre, flowers cheered my soul.
Sunday, 04 August 2013     

Pretty flowers brightened my rehab room

Many, many thanks for the kind wishes that readers sent me after my last blog, three weeks ago. I was able to read them from my hospital bed and they were much appreciated. Having survived the hip replacement operation and undergone rehabilitation at another facility, I am now - most gratefully - back home and walking around pretty well. Gardening is forbidden for at least another three weeks, because of stern doctors' warnings against bending, reaching and kneeling, but it was a joy to be reunited with my garden, even though it needs quite a lot of attention in the form of weeding and pruning, some of which will be tackled (by others) this coming week.

Having never been in a hospital setting for more than a few days before, it surprised me how much I missed contact with the natural world over the 17 days I spent there. From my hospital bed, I could only see the sky. However, my window ledge was transformed into a delightful flowery bower by some beautiful bouquets sent by family and friends, and just to be able to gaze on these truly gorgeous blooms - all amazingly colour-coordinated in soft purples, pinks and creams - brought a huge sense of pleasure in the ghastly miasma of the immediate post-operative days. The soft colours, the scent and the natural textures of the flowers brought a welcome relief from the stainless steel world of the hospital. As well as exotic lilums and lisianthus, the bunches included old-fashioned flowers that used to grow in the garden of my childhood: snapdragons, freesias, stocks and daisies, which brought tears to my eyes at times.

This hospital actually has a 'healing garden' on its ground floor, which I never actually got to visit myself but which sounds a lovely idea for ambulant patients to be able to retreat to for some contact with nature. It has always seemed to me as if there is some intrinsic need for us to have this on a regular basis - whether this just applies to gardeners, I don't know.

In the rehabilitation centre, I received from friends a stunning potted phalaenopsis orchid, and these exquisite flowers were a joy to behold: perhaps it is the sheer beauty of nature that is its overwhelming appeal. Other friends brought me posies of camellias from their gardens, reminding me again that I wished I had planted more of these wonderful shrubs in the early days of my garden. I decided to strike some of the stems as cuttings when I got home, as the colours of these specimens were just what I craved to add to my garden.

I spent many hours in the rehab centre walking the corridors (to improve my mobility) and along the way, I peered out of windows to try to see some greenery. The centre is set on what was once a magnificent heritage property and some of the original trees remain on the boundaries. One morning, another patient and I even escaped - she on a Zimmer frame and I on my crutches - out the front gate and wandered along the street, and I found my eyes greedily devouring the first signs of early spring: ornamental quince blossoms, wattle, African daisies (Osteospermum cultivars) and Marguerite daisies. I pined desperately for my own garden and my mind seethed with ideas for changes to make. I can hardly wait till I am fit to start working it in again!!

 Reader Comments

1/12  Jill - 5158 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 05 August 2013

You sound like you have made the best out of a stay in hospital and rehab. You will be even better for your out of garden stay!!! Your garden awaits and time will pass quickly as your list of things to do, GROWS. How very exciting to be able, to soon be back in your beautiful garden. Happier days ahead, Kind regards, Jill Flowers Thanks for your kind thoughts, Jill.It"s a good time of year to be planning things for the garden. Deirdre

2/12  Deidre - 5172 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 05 August 2013

I am glad your surgery went as it should and you are back home.Spring seems to be just around the corner here, in Willunga, after a mostly mild Winter. I have many bulbs through and the jonquils are flowering beautifully. I hope all goes well for the rest of your recovery time . Best Wishes, Deidre Lovely to hear that spring is arriving in your garden. Thanks for your kind wishes. Deirdre

3/12  Judith - 2539 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

So very happy that you are home and doing well. It was lovely this morning to read your blog and thank you for sharing the photos of the beautiful flowers you received. Time seems to pass very quickly so soon you will be in the garden working with your new ideas.Judith. Thanks, Judith - yes, time does pass very quickly and today is my half-way point to the six-week recovery point. Thanks for your kind words. Deirdre

4/12  Catherine - 2071 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

I can just see you two escapees at large in the surrounding streets, checking out the gardens! It"s sad that when so much is now known about the healing power of just looking at a tree from a hospital bed, we still put our patients in places so out of touch with nature. Glad to hear you"re back home and doing so well. Thanks so much Catherine. Some of the hospital rooms and rehab rooms had views of trees; mine alas did not! Deirdre

5/12  Jan - 2582 (Zone:9 - Cool Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

Glad to hear that you are on the garden path to recovery ;-) Thanks so much, Jan. Deirdre

6/12  Mary - 2067 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

Mary Welcome back to the outside world Deirdre! It may read like you were in prison a hospital and rehab prison.To smell the flowers not the roses so much at this time of the year is so good for your recovery.Yes Spring is just around the corner everything comes to life and that makes us grateful Thanks for getting back into gear so soon,we all love what you do for us,Thank you. Camellias have been exceptional this year,thanks to the God sent rains,earlier in the year. Thanks, Mary - yes I am lucky that this is an ideal time to be recuperating as the garden is coming to life and there is lots to see that is new every day in the garden. Deirdre

7/12  Ruth - 4034 (Zone:11A - Sub-tropical) Monday, 05 August 2013

Ruth 2013 I am so happy for you to be home in your garden after successful surgery. Your heartfelt comments about missing your garden reminded me that a garden is such a necessary place for many people and many reasons. I remember, after busy and stressful Saturdays in business, racing home to get into the garden before sunset just to feel the beauty of my flowers and the peace they shared with me. Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Thanks, Ruth. The garden is certainly very therapeutic, especially at this time of year. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Deirdre

8/12  Sue - 2074 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

Glad to hear all went well & that you are home walking in and enjoying your garden, it lightens the heart. Despite the frustrations of being kept low it does wonders for the mind in garden rearrangements and I hope you will soon be back to getting down and dirty to institute all those ideas:-) Look forward to seeing them. Take care.Sue Thanks, Sue. Yes, it is fun thinking of changes and I seem to have a newfound ruthlessness to get rid of plants that aren"t pulling their weight! Deirdre

9/12  Lois - 3216 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 05 August 2013

Glad to hear all went well.Isn"t it amazing how you miss being outside when confined. I know the first thing I always do when I"ve been away is rush out and check the garden to see what has grown (mainly weeds ) and what hasn"t survived.Hope you have a speedy recovery. Lois

10/12  Elyson - 4069 (Zone:11B - Tropical) Monday, 05 August 2013

I"ve just come inside after sitting in my garden, bathing in the sunshine, listening to the birds, and watching my garden grow. I"ve been in bed sick for a few days and felt the healing pull of the garden. Having just read your blog, your words rang so true! So glad to hear you are home and able to enjoy at least looking and planning in your own garden with the promise of Spring to come. Glad your garden is a source of comfort and inspiration. Deirdre

11/12  Gil - 2037 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

Speedy recovery, Deirdre. GIl Thanks, Gil. Perusing the garden book catalogue has been a pleasant diversion! Deirdre

12/12  Carole - 2230 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 05 August 2013

Welcome home Deidre. Remember - don"t cross your legs :-) You are truly going to feel the benefit of your new hip so much from now on. All the better to enjoy your garden too. I made a sortie the other day to prune the shrubs that had been devastated by an invasion of deer in the back garden. They even stripped the leaves of a native frangipanni(hymenosporum flavum) that was finally starting to take off and stripped all the leaves of an agave rosette grrr. Enjoy your spring arrivals. Hope you don"t get any more deer damage! They sound a real pest. Deirdre

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