Image for the poem Memory Lane:  Nana

Memory Lane:  Nana's Garden (With Final Chapter)

1) Memory Lane

In memory lane colors bloom
all in rows, brightest at noon,
just to bask in one hot sun
to grow at night while we slept on.
Now memories still bloom at night
when I sleep I still remember
the colors the most above all else
and Grandpa's chuckling laugh
and Nana's big smile, and
how she always did when I
went over and stayed for a long while.    

           68 words, 50 unique

2) The Garden

The garden awakens to pure simplicity
in the morning when dew is on the lawn.
The flowers, like thoughts began to bud
but no vivid colors yet, only green and
non-descript ones.  They, unaware of
complexity spread out around bark mulch
behind a neat row of bricks placed by
Nana one by one.  She made time for such
things of grandness that were so beautiful
in her eyes.    

           68 words, 59 unique

3) Tiger Lilies

The clump of tiger lilies began as spiky
stems emerging from gravel and were
sort of an initiation of summer, the first one.
An early gift at the back door which swung
open more and more in May than in months
before.  The lilies grew taller as summer
approached, three or four spiky stalks
with several buds each that became
larger and more orange each day,
cracking open slowly, unfurling gently.      

           71 words, 54 unique

4) Snapdragons

The snapdragons seemed to come in many
colors, mostly a light green at first.  The flower
buds were tiny claws slowly opening to small,
compact petals of white, yellow or pale pink.  
They had an innocence despite their name, an
unassuming prettiness.  In a bouquet, they
took up space among the thin-stemmed
brights that seemed to overshadow them
which I remember as being zinnias, daisies and
bachelor buttons.    

             68 words, 59 unique

5) Bachelor Buttons

Tall and lanky with thin, dark green stems,
a few buds began to develop here and there
from the sprawling clump of foliage. Then,
tiny specs of indigo emerged from the compact
buds.  Bachelor buttons were a funny name for
a flower, I thought, hard to say.  They stood
the tallest in a bouquet and they were all identical,
little round disks of spiky petals and pollen strands
facing skyward.      

             70 words, 55 unique

6) Strawberries

The strawberry patch grew low to the ground
and rambling.  The leaves were flat and fuzzy in
bunches of three on wiry stems among tiny, compact
buds opening to white miniature petals that were soon
followed by wrinkled, seed-speckled green berries
that grew each day in size as the birds interest seemed
to grow as well.  As the berries reddened, they began
to disappear.  Nana knew what to do, she covered
the plants with a thin layer of netting that kept the
berries out of birds reach.  They finally began to develop
and then there were berries to pick, yum.  

            100 words, 70 unique

7) Poppies

A hairy clump of leaves began to come up in the
rock-walled container garden that sat at hip-height
at the edge of the property.  I went to see them up
close, and said, ‘What are those?’. ‘Poppies’,
Nana replied.  The buds came up gradually unfolding
into tall stalks.  The blazing red blooms began to emerge
from the buds and were quite stunning with their black
fuzzy interiors.  Nana seemed to regard them as
laughing children, almost, she seemed so proud of and
amused by them.  They seemed to be something of a
birthday present she allowed herself.    

             97 words, 72 unique

8) Nasturtiums

I cannot forget the overpopulation of nasturtiums
with their pale green, round leaves standing thinly
among light orange, deep-throated blooms which
resembled tiny squash blossoms.  They, too were
edible, Nana always seemed to point out, though we
never tried to eat them that I recall.  They rambled along
the ground next to the rock wall and spilled over through
the fence to the very back yard where Grandpas
vegetable garden grew.      

              71 words, 62 unique

9) Daisies

The tall white daisies were all identical in size and shape
with their scraggly thin stems that were perfect for
cutting.  The plant, as wide as it was tall, seemed to have
little foliage and was mostly blooms all the same height.
The flowers were ideal for a bouquet with their sturdy
and solid shape and plentiful numbers.  One of the taller
garden flowers which took up the most space in width.
I remember them being as tall as my little sister and
she was at eye height with them.  

              90 words, 61 unique

10) Geraniums

In all the times I remember visiting Nana’s house,
I cannot recall a time there were not geraniums about
in some form.  Whether thin and leggy indoors in
Winter, or filled copiously with fully round blooms on
the patio planters in Summer,  they were always present
in every color; white, pink, fuscia, and red.  And the pungent
smell is unforgettable.  She found a pale pink variety one year
and fell in love with it.  It became her go-to, populating
her windowsills in various cut and divided forms year
round and enduring with her care for years thereafter.  

             97 words, 75 unique

11) Lobelia

‘Lobelia’- How Nana liked the sound of that word
and for a time one Spring it was seemingly all I heard.
Oh, but it was such a puny thing, those few little purple
dots blooming in such small, dainty pots.  I suppose
they needed her love and surely got it.  They were begun
early indoors as seeds, so they were like her babies
and, when June came were put outside to overflow
patio pots, exploding with blooms in the bright sun
along with other annuals that were purchased.

            88 words, 72 unique

12)  Rhododendron

I hadn’t noticed the rhododendron bush much
when I was very small, yet it had been there,
tucked into the fenced corner of the yard,
scraggly and see-through with few blooms.  
But as years went on, it became mentioned more
and more by my Nana. It had grown to quite a size
by the time I was a young adult and was full of
purple clusters of giant blooms in late spring.
‘It must be the soil, I haven’t done anything to it’,
Nana had said.  Its true they like poor or acid soil.
She was proud of its success, albeit unguided.
It continued to grow to half the size of a car

            114 words, 83 unique

13) Johnny-Jump-Ups

Well, a trip to the garden center just for Johnny-
Jump-Ups must have been hardly a flight of fancy
given traffic, they grew everywhere and were
practically a weed once they got away.  Popping
up on lawns for years to come once planted
anywhere, those itty-bitty pansy faces would
always naturalize to white, purple and yellow
once gone wild. But they were too darling not to
add to planters in spring, so they were purchased
in flats along with other things.      

            81 words, 65 unique

14) Roses

On the side of Nana’s house in a spread out
row were several large and prickly rose bushes.
They took up a lot of space but I guess it was
worth it for the few pale blushing pink blooms
on each one with their lush, open petals and
yellow centers full of pollen strands.  Growing
roses is an art, a lot of room for failure, but
Nana hadn’t failed on this one, they thrived
and were an amazing conversation piece.

              80 words, 63 unique

15) Zinnias

Cut and come again were quite a claim for
a humble garden flower; the idea, my Nana
had exclaimed, was that you cut them and
they come back.  They were also known as
zinnias and they came in every neon color;
pinks, reds, white, yellows and oranges.  
They were a favorite for bouquets and
always made it into Nana’s garden each year.
They were a surprise, you never knew what
color you were going to get when the plants
were still young.      

             82 words, 59 unique

16)  Aloe Plants

Aloe plants were not showy, and they never
bloomed.  They just looked cute on the window
sill in little pots with their light green, speckled,
spiky leaves that resembled little sprigs of grass.
They were a perennial houseplant that seemed
to do well in all seasons.  And the best thing,
Nana had said, was that they could be used to
treat a burn.  The gel inside the leaves had
healing properties; just break a piece off.
That’s quite a repore for such a little plant,  
I thought, and she was right, it worked.
             93 words, 70 unique

17) Pansies

The garden center was full of hearty stocks
of pansies in all manner of color combinations
in spring, and switching the little plugs of dirt
around to create a custom flat was a no-no,
though I knew Nana wanted to.  I always liked
the traditional brown and gold or purple and
white flowers, but there were so many so why
not be savvy and try something new, Nana
suggested.  She didn’t only place them in planters to
sprawl about, she raised pansies to an art form
by placing them in individual pots to be highlighted.
If some of the blooms were extra pretty, she would
cut them and display them in tiny, water-filled vases
as centerpieces.

               116 words, 85 unique

18) Orchids

Orchids, orchids, why must they die?  
We never quite figured that out.  They had
to be purchased in this tiny little flower shop
in a thickly settled neighborhood with little
parking, Nana had affirmed, to ensure success.
The fancy planter it came in was somehow
relevant with its mossy trim.  That long and tall
bow of a stem with its round and delicate white
exotic flowers perched along it were a must-have
for the dining table.  But oh, to make them last.
‘Don’t overwater them’- Genius advice from
the little flower shop.

               92 words, 72 unique

19)  Impatiens

Impatiens was an unlikely name for a flower
that was already blooming as soon as you
got it home; nothing to be impatient for.  
Those little flowers were flat-faced and bare-open
with a little green nub in the middle of each one.
They appeared almost sculpted of plastic; they
shined with a glossy finish.  They almost looked fake.
That orange-red neon color was indescribable like
no other found in flowers.  They also came in white
for the more practical look.  Nana liked them in her
planters.  They should have been called ‘Reliables’
since they weathered drought so well.

                   98 words, 78 unique

20)  Petunias

Just what are those dazzling round things in the most
stunning royal purple and hot pink, I wondered as
approached Nana’s front door.  I got closer and
saw the trumpet-shaped, frilly blooms all in a round
pot, each facing in a different direction.  Petunias,
short and stubby were quick to blossom in spring.
The vivid colors were showy contrasted next to the
grey clapboards of the house.  They were a welcoming
party if flowers could be that.  Like little green ladies
in bright bonnets that flapped in the breeze, they
brought early cheer in the still cool spring air.

                       99 words, 77 unique

21)  A Garden Pet

One day I was in Nana’s and Grandpa’s yard
in the early morning after spending the night
at their house and the flowers were waking up.
I looked beneath them and saw a tiny green
worm moving along, clambering over the bark
mulch and inching towards me.  I got down to
ground level and put my ear close to the ground
and heard something like, ‘Someday,
you will write about all this and lots of people
will read it’, and I whispered in reply, ‘Someday
you will become a butterfly’, and heard,
‘So will you'.  I went inside to have breakfast.
I didn't tell Nana and Grandpa about the worm.

               110  words,  80 unique

22) The Secret Garden

Grandpa’s vegetable garden lay behind a tall fence
in the rear of the yard closed off to prying eyes and
open to wild rabbits so small they all but hid in the
grass but for their ears sticking up.  It was quite a plot
with stepping stones placed throughout to create
walkways of sorts though few were invited to step
trepidatively around tender meandering vegetable
plants.  A small fence around the garden kept the
rabbits out, but not my Nana, she was always
happily poking around in there all summer long.
                   91 words, 68 unique

23)  Tomatoes

Tomato plants were to be caged lest they escape,
those wanderers, of course the cages had to be staked
to stay upright in that soft and rich soil that was put
in by my Grandpa to guarantee success of yields.
‘Tomatoes by the Fourth of July’ never panned out;
it was an extra early variety, supposedly.  Early girls
were small and good in salads.  Beefsteaks were
good sliced.  There were so many once they started
coming, my Nana went recipe crazy; salsa, tomato
sauce, the canning bath, and best of all, she let me
pick some of the tomatoes to take home.

              102 words, 75 unique

24)  Corn

Just how many cornstalks are needed to get
corncobs, anyway?  Well my Grandpa proved
that a dozen or so weren’t really enough.  They
were right in the center of the garden, tall and
spindly and all in a row.  But best laid ‘plants’
didn’t always bear fruit.  Corn, being wind
pollinated required higher numbers to germinate,
or just more wind.  Well, he laughed that one off
eventually, I think that was the secret to his success
in growing vegetables, humor, as well as his secret to
growing older in stride.

                      90 words, 71 unique

25)  Zucchini

What ever happened to the one that got away?
Well it got bigger and bigger and just kept hiding
under a long, thick stem.  I’m describing a giant
zucchini, and though it never grew legs, it surely
wanted to.  Nana finally saw the thing and picked
it from among the prickly and leafy plants at the
rear of Grandpa’s garden.  It was the same color
as the rest of the plant, hence its camoflague.  
Not wanting any waste, Nana got out her recipe
for zucchini bread which was a favorite of hers
in order to use it up.  Accident?  Probably not.

                  101 words, 76 unique

26)  Sugar Snap Peas

Nana just called sugar snap peas ‘beans’.  
The vines climbed upward on tall, thin trellises
and the beans were hanging here and there.
They were a sweet snack if picked early and young,
‘garden candy’.  They were crunchy and juicy with
a bright, grassy flavor.  I wasn’t too fond of them,
but Nana loved them.  They were always an excuse
to keep going back there to check on things, there
were always a few to pick, it seemed.  There were
too many to eat raw most days, so they were cooked
and served with a little butter and whatever else was
Nanas fancy to prepare for dinner.

                  108 words, 78 unique

27)  Green Tomatoes

When the season grew late and the garden plants
began to yellow and droop, there was one last
gift to be had from them.  Green tomatoes, as they
were known, were not always fully green, but
sort of a yellow and green combined.  They were
in the process of turning red. The idea was
to pick them before the frost and use them up.
Nana had the canning bath ready by this time,
along with several quarts of cider vinegar and
copious amounts of salt and sugar.  A relish known as
‘Piccalilly’ was both tart and sweet and a perfect addition
to Boston Baked Beans, also homemade and baked
slowly in an earthenware pot.  The relish recipe would
yield quite a few jars, enough to take some home,
and enough to serve with franks and beans
all throughout the long winter.


On Returning

I went back to the place already knowing what I
would find.  I pulled up to the curb and looked
and saw a field of green, newly planted grass where
the property had been.  The only recognizable object
was the little yellow fire hydrant on the sidewalk that
my Nana had always commented would be so
convenient if there was ever a fire and how her
neighbors had envied its prime location.  She had
always been so overprepared for things, that had
been her way.  But, nothing could prepare her for
a nearby corporation buying her land and transforming
it in this manner.  The neighbors were no more; the
property lines blurred due to lack of fences.  It looked
smaller now, less grandiose.  I stepped onto the grass
and immediately encountered a ‘No Trespassing’ sign.
It was such a different greeting than I had been used to
on visiting years earlier.  In spite of the sign I walked to
where the house had been and looked down at the green,
non-descript patch.  I walked the twenty-or-so paces
across where the the house had been with ease and
felt a little spark of happiness imagining the rooms
and doorways and the locations of them, remembering
all the times I had visited and stayed.  but the feeling
quickly faded.  I looked at the spot where the fireplace
had seemingly been and thought of the many
Christmases spent near it.  It was as if the house
had been swallowed up by the land, though in fact
it had been sold off, lifted and moved by the
corporation and the hole filled.  I looked around
in the yard desperately for some, any flower growing.
But the new lawn wasn’t weed-free like Nana and
Grandpa kept it.  There were clovers and other
tiny weeds.  Even the lawn had been replaced.  
There were no flowers anywhere to be found.
I looked to the back of the property where the
vegetable garden had been, the dividing fence now
gone, and the wild brush was spreading forward
to cover and reclaim it from the wild land behind it.
The rock-walled container garden still remained but
was full of grass and weeds now, even it had been
dug up.  It was hard to believe looking around that
50 years of a life had occured here.  There was only
silence and peace now.  In my minds eye, I could
still see everything that was as I remembered it and
somehow that vision got stronger, more alive in
its absence.  I knew I wanted to write about it in a
meaningful way, I wanted to tell this story.  I knew
Nana’s garden did not want to be forgotten, it still
craved attention and love.  It was still alive in my heart
where every flower still bloomed, where Nana still
smiled and Grandpa still laughed, where the fireplace
still burned and the chimney still smoked.  Where the
fifty years of a life still led up to something, where
that something was still here, still alive and where
there were still colors other than green and brown.
I remembered the colors most of all, my rainbow,
and I was still at the end of it.  


' In Memory Of Nana And Grandpa'
Written by PoetsRevenge
Author's Note
This memoir is a true story.
Written For Napowrimo 2019
Visual Poem Design courtesy of Ahavati
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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