Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sixty Years of Wedded Gardening Bliss

During the month of May, my dearest Uncle John and Auntie Joan celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. In a day and age when many couples don't even make it to six years, they are celebrating sixty years together ...wow! Don't you think they ought to be congratulated!
They live in a lovely, homely bungalow (a detached home on one level to non- Brits) in an English town and for many years they have maintained their pristine garden; it's a real show-stopper with tiered lawns edged with colourful flowerbeds. There are hedges, ponds, a patio, a conservatory and a greenhouse.


As a child, I would visit their home and I loved exploring the garden and stopping on the little bridge that crossed the pond to admire the fish. My childhood home was a typical Edwardian terraced house with a strip of concrete for a backyard, so it was a real treat to visit Uncle John and Auntie Joan's garden.
They are the most hospitable people one could ever hope to meet and a warm welcome always awaited my family whenever we visited. A gracious hostess, Auntie Joan would serve cups of tea in china cups and plates of dainty sandwiches. Uncle John would take us on guided tours of the garden and entertain us with amusing stories, anecdotes and of course jokes!





Auntie Joan is a talented homemaker, a keen sewer, crafter and exceptionally talented cake decorator. She made my 21st birthday cake pictured below and my wedding cake which was similar to my 21st with three tiers topped with a lattice weave basket with a plaited handle, filled with delicate flowers - all made from icing even the basket! I was so enamoured with my wedding cake I carried the top tier in a box onto the plane to be transported to my new home in New Zealand. It travelled via Bangkok and Hong Kong where we were stopping over and on its safe arrival in New Zealand, it received a number of gasps of admiration from the airline and customs staff.
Auntie Joan encouraged me to express my creativity; she was always showing me the wonderful items she had made for her home, such as the gorgeous padded headboard she created for the master bedroom.




The atmosphere she created in her home - the warmth of the welcome, the joy, the kind words and the spirit of creativity evident in every room, in every nook and cranny was something that just captivated me, I loved to spend time there and I told myself as a teenager, that when I had a home of my own I would re-create that same type of atmosphere.

Uncle John and Auntie Joan have battled ill-health over the years and had more than their fair share of hospital stays and operations, yet this has not deterred them.They remain cheerful and optimistic and they never complain. They send me a card at Christmas and a cheery letter filled with their news and compliments for my family- such sweet words of encouragement! They have always been like this, their positive outlook on life is something that has been cultivated along with their garden! I'm convinced gardening has kept them young!

Next month, they will celebrate their anniversary with family including my own mother who is John's younger sister, at a special meal at a hotel. I wish I could be there to congratulate them and to say thank you for the inspiration they have been to me. This is when I realize that Australia is really a land 'down under', just too far way for trips home for family celebrations.
I had to find a special gift for them and came up with the idea of having a garden trowel engraved. After several trips to hardware stores I had almost given up on the idea, as I couldn't find a stainless steel trowel with a wooden handle, they were all plastic or rubber handled. Then I found one at Target. It came in a kit, enclosed in a canvas bag for a very reasonable price. I will keep the rest of the tools in the kit as they would be too costly to send and Uncle John already has plenty of garden tools! It was really the idea of something truly personalized - a pen or a pewter tankard just didn't seem quite right! I also found these gorgeous garden gloves for Auntie Joan at one of my favourite stores 'The Complete Garden' - any excuse to go inside this shop! If you want to use this idea for a gift for a green-fingered relative or friend please do! I love sharing inspiration for gifts.

I have also written a poem for Uncle John and Auntie Joan. I will share some of the verses here; if you have a way with words, a poem is a great gift idea for special occasions. I have written poems for my parent's Ruby Wedding Anniversary, for a christening of friend's baby, for weddings and a very funny 60th birthday poem for my father-in-law which was read aloud at the restaurant to hoots of laughter and applause.
I would appreciate your prayers for my Uncle and Auntie, even though you do not know them - you would love them too if you met them, especially for good health and more years of wedded gardening bliss!

A Diamond Day

60 years of marriage you celebrate today
Family and friends have gathered to say
Congratulations to you both
God bless you Joan and John
And you are still wondering
Where has the time gone?
Lots of special memories, many make you smile
But it only seems like yesterday
You walked on down the aisle

You've come through all the trials that have been sent your way
And I do believe you're smiling
On this your special day
I thank you Uncle John, I know it's been a while
Since I heard you tell a joke
You always made me smile!

I thank you Auntie Joan for all the cups of tea
You really are so gifted in hospitality
A warm and gracious lady
With John you shared your life
I know that he is thrilled to have you as his wife!

It comes as no surprise
That you've reached the 'diamond' year
Congratulations are in order
It is becoming rare!
In sickness and in health
You've honoured more than most
So on this special day
I'd like to raise a toast

Enjoy your time with family
As a special meal you share
If Australia were closer
You know that we'd be there
And so, I've penned this poem
For a husband and a wife
Celebrating 60 years of blissful married life


With love and joy,
Ann


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2 comments:

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Great gift idae and such a thoughtful poem.
They sound like a couple who are to be admired.
The plates of dainty sandwiches and cups of tea in china sound good too! *wink*

Damaris said...

Congratulations to your Aunt and Uncle. 60 Years of Marriage is wonderful to have been able to achieve. Will pray that they have many more. :)

Cheers Damaris

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