Andrea’s garden was by no means remarkable. In fact, it fell short of the standards when compared to the gardens cultivated by most of her neighbors. Gardening was the in-thing for the households of Lilac Lane. That there was a competition between the some of the families regarding who accomplished the most impressive botanical feat each spring was no secret. Some neighborhoods competed over the best Christmas decorations, some regarding the greenest grass on their lawns, some challenged each other over throwing the best BBQ shindigs; the people of Lilac Lane eyeballed each other over their gardens.
Andrea was terrible at horticulture. Her husband John was the green thumb in their family. He had put together their garden plant-by-plant in the backyard of their French country style house since they had first moved in 33 years ago. It was not a tilth that specialized in any particular type of species. There was a range of potted herbs stacked on two wooden shelves by the kitchen door for Andrea to use. Thick flower beds lay below the veranda of their second-story master suite for Andrea to wake up to. A range of small trees growing fruits and vegetables lined the tall framed fence bordering their lot where Andrea would find ingredients to experiment with for fusions on old recipes for John and their boys. It even had a narrow arbor creeping with wisterias in one corner for Andrea to sit under and read. The garden was John’s magnum opus for his love for Andrea.
When John was alive, his arboretum used to vibrate with life and color. They had built a felicitous home on Lilac Lane, brought up strong successful sons and welcomed healthy grandchildren, but it was John’s perception of selecting the most giving vegetation for his garden that their neighbor’s envied. Andrea knew it was his love and care that made his garden so prosperous. John had a way of breathing life into the most downtrodden sapling.
Now Andrea lived by herself in their family home on Lilac Lane and tended to John’s garden for him. The neighbors paid her gardening efforts no mind when she had failed to produce noticeable results during the first spring after John passed away. Her sons had offered at alternate times for her to move in with their respective families but Andrea couldn’t live Lilac Lane. This was where John’s garden was, and her John did love his garden so. Even though Andrea could not tend to his garden with the knowledge and expertise he had possessed, she felt better for the effort she exerted.
“Hello, my darling!” Andrea crooned, trailing her fingers over the supple leaves of the apple tree John had first planted in their little paradise. She cradled a young fruit in the palm of her hand lovingly the way John would if he were alive and inhaled its sweetness in his memory and hoped he approved.