Sunday, October 5, 2014

I finally put the flowers in the compost

A tall vase of chrysanthemums--bright green button mums among fringier-petaled gold, yellow, burgundy, and lavender mums--stood in my living room since the day before my parents left in September. Chrysanthemums remind my family of the October day when Markus and I got married (October 31, 1992). We decorated church, reception, and wedding cake with many colored mums. For a glance back, see the November 3, 2002 entry on Simon's Place. Be sure to click on the wedding photo to open a photo gallery that shows the mum-inspired color scheme in my wedding dress. In 2002, we celebrated ten years. This year we are approaching 22.

I remember the last day of my parents' trip, a Thursday, as a busy one. In the morning, I drove with my mother into Heilbronn, where she purchased a waffle iron as a gift for Miriam's birthday. Along the way, we saw a gorgeous outdoor flower display, and she bought the mums as a gift for us. I arranged them in a vase, remembering the dozens of chrysanthemums I bought back in 1992 to study for color while designing my dress. I even carried them into department stores and held their petals next to bolts of colorful raw silk.

After lunch at our place in Flein, we piled in the car to meet up with Markus' parents in Stuttgart. Then we drove south to the University of Hohenheim for a tour around the Botanical Garden. It was a rainy tour, but we held our umbrellas and kept walking until we reached the end of the garden with Simon's tree. Markus' parents had sponsored the tree in Simon's memory soon after his death. Ten years later, the zelkova serrata (Japanese elm) has suffered some setbacks and lost branches to extreme winter cold. Nonetheless, we found it and looked under the foliage long enough to uncover the sign. It's a spunky little tree. Here's a map of the garden and some photos of our visit.

Botanical Garden in Hohenheim. The purple pin (bottom left) indicates the approximate location of Simon's tree.
To find Simon's tree, you walk south from the Schloß (red pin above). Eventually you pass the lavender labyrinth and continue to an open meadow descending a hillside. At the bottom is a gathering of trees. Simon's is the small one in the middle (below) with touches of orange color.

Simon's tree viewed from the meadow.
Simon's tree
The botanical marker
Four who slogged through the wet meadow to the tree:
Ann Craig, Irmgard Vodosek, Mary Craig
(and Markus Vodosek behind the camera)
Miriam with all four grandparents
Our busy day ended with dinner out at Bella Vista, a restaurant on the top level of a luxury high rise. The view was indeed incredible, even under cloudy skies. A fitting last day for my parents' 12-day trip. The next morning I took them to the airport. Their flight was on September 12th.

And so my brain ticked through things as I snipped the flower stalks today to fit them into the kitchen compost. Just how long had those chrysanthemums lasted? I back-dated from my parents' departure date. The day before, when my mom bought the flowers, was September 11th.

September 11th. How odd. I don't remember thinking this year about the anniversary of 9/11. Not the day of. It was the kind of busy day when I don't listen to the radio, don't glance at a paper, where surely even in Germany the date would have been mentioned. But for me the day passed by.

I guess those flowers lasted about three weeks. I guess one day you notice you haven't thought about an anniversary you'd thought would never lose its power. I guess you can get that busy with your own life.

1 comment:

  1. Mums are proof that God has a wonderful imagination. Great post as always Mary!