Monday, July 12, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

My father-in-law was a hard-working man.  As an immigrant to Canada, he spent most of his life working low-paying, long hour jobs in less than idyllic conditions.  He was a lumber jack in British Columbia for a few years in the late 1920's, spent a few years in the "dirty thirties" working in Saskatchewan and Alberta for the railroad where he was part of a crew who manually repaired railroad tracks along miles of track that were scorching hot without shade in the summer and blistering cold in the winter.  He also spent quite a few years in Sudbury, Ontario working in a mine where he managed to develop the "miner's lung" that would plague him for the rest of his life.  In the 1940's he worked at the Massey Harris plant in Brantford,Ontario where farm equipment was manufactured and in the 1950's, he was part of the tunnel-digging crew that dug the tunnels for the "new" hydro-electric generating plant in Niagara Falls.  He spent the last twenty or so years of his working life at a brick factory in an incredibly hot environment.  His job was to shovel coal into the kilns which had to reach 1800 degrees fahrenhiet in order for the clay tile and bricks to cure.  My husband estimates that during this time, his father would have shoveled 100,000 tons of coal!

When my father-in-law finally retired at the age of 70, he was at last able to spend time doing what he really, really loved to do ... and that was planting!   I think perhaps that he looked back with nostalgia to the the first 15  years of his life that were spent on a little farm in what was then Hungary but is now Slovakia, tilling the soil with a donkey, immersed in small-town rural Europe before the first world war changed everything so dramatically.  Or perhaps he just simply enjoyed the feel of soil on his hands but regardless of his reason, my father-in-law really did love to plant. 

My husband says that every time he came home from work, it seemed like his father had planted something new!  He planted fruit trees and currant bushes and hedges galore!  All of which had to be patiently watered by hand from an old-fashioned hand pump, bucket by bucket carried out to keep those little seedlings alive.  And for some reason, my father-in-law took a special liking to Rose of Sharon.  As a result, we are surrounded by beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes.

So today, on Marvelous Monday, I am extremely thankful for my late father-in-law, who spent hours planting those beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes that now grace our home with such beauty.  This past weekend, they all began to flower, their lovely big blooms opening up for the enjoyment of humming birds, bees, and butterflies and even the occasional human!

My father-in-law planted quite a few different colours of Rose of Sharons, including a number of bushes where several colours have been grafted on to the same plant.  It's lovely to see all the different shades.

Some are deep pink, and others have a blue tinge.  There are two different types of white blooms, the one above with the red centre, and one other that isn't open yet.  It is a soft white colour with a buttery yellow centre.  I think it's actually my favourite, but I do love them all.

When I sit on our front porch in the evening, resting on our swing, this is the beautiful view I get to enjoy.

And what makes it particularly beautiful is that although the Rose of Sharon are just opening up now, they will last for the rest of the summer and well into the fall, a wonderful reminder of my father-in-law and his love of planting.  


  1. I love Rose of Sharons...thanks for the lovely pictures, and the even lovelier story.

  2. Hi Ro

    Love rose of sharon had so many at my old home.
    Too much that you are from Beamsville!!! I'm from Niagara Falls been to Beamsville a million times. Lovely area!!

  3. Such a dichotomy... a man who worked such a hard job. The coal mines were rough. Hard work. Physically hard. The people were generally hard, too. Most were uneducated and it bred something hard. My aunt worked in the coal mines for a while and she said that the work was hard and the people harder. You had to be tough to survive it. Given that... your father-in-law didn't let it make him hard on the inside. Pretty amazing. The proof is all around you. It lives on in the plantings, which were his passion. So, as coal can turn into diamond, apparently it also can turn into rose of sharon. But only if it is planted with love.

  4. What a wonderful testament to your father-in-law's life this was and I was moved by it. Here was a man who worked at hard, dirty jobs most of his life but in the midst of it all was able to created delicate beauty by planting flowers you and your family are enjoying now that he has gone. I didn't know that Roses of Sharon last that long of life. Lucky have this man as you father-in-law and to be able to enjoy what he cultivated in love out of the soil of the earth.

  5. It is hard to imagine how hard this man worked all his life. It makes me happy to know he got to enjoy his later years in the garden.
    I got up one morning a few years ago and my Rose of Sharon was lying on the ground. It was just so top heavy it pulled right out of the ground. I was so surprised at how soft the wood was and I sawed through it like butter.

  6. He sounds like a wonderful man who came full circle with his life: working hard in and with the land, then appreciating it in his final chapter.

  7. You live in paradise. And not only do you live in it, but also see it around you. Too many people, self included, are blind!

    Sending my love to the land of roses from the land of olive trees.

  8. Hi there. I found you through Javas blog....Over 40
    Fun to meet new people and learn from them
    I live on a small ranch (quarter section) west of Didsbury Alberta.
    Transplanted from Hot Utah..........and since our weather lately has been rainy and COLD, I could really use some HOT right now.
    The flowers are beautiful. Our place is only a year old, so we have tons and tons of yard work to do and landscaping.

  9. loved your story about your father-in-law. the flowers are beautiful. on my blog i've enjoyed doing posts about family.



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