Gardening with the Seasons (Part I)

Gardening in the northern hemisphere, with seasons is completely unlike gardening in tropical Brisbane. Yes, you read right here, breaking news, paradigm shift, etc.

I have a very laissez faire approach to gardening. This is because (1) I grew up in Brisbane and (2) my father is the most amazing gardener ever and his approach always seemed very … at ease.

Whenever I asked my father for gardening tips, he would look at me, shrug and say something helpful like, Are you watering it?

My mother spent her time discouraging me from gardening. On my visits home after I moved out, I would occassionally take cuttings of plants or uproot seedlings for my own garden. My mother would follow me around the garden telling me not to bother, that if I wanted whatever plant it was I was collecting (usually herbs), I could just come get them from her house. She also used to berate me if I went to the store to buy herbs (especially mint), when they grew in such lush abandon in my parents’ garden. I often found myself trapped into giving answers that would permit my mother to berate me for one reason or another:

Um: What do you cook to eat?

Me: [shrug] Lots of things, pasta, rice, noodles.

Um: Do you cook Viet food?

[Here, it becomes a choose your own adventure]

Option 1: Say yes and demonstrate your goodness

Me: Yes, I made goi cuon just the other day.

Um: Oh. Where did you get the rau cai*? (*A miscellany of green – lettuce and herbs etc)

Me: I bought them from Hong Lan (local Asian grocery store).

Um: Why did you do that? What a waste of money! You could have come here for them.

Me: [splutter.]

Option 2: Say no and demonstrate your badness

Me: No, I just come home.

Um: Then you must not miss Viet food very much because you don’t come here very much.

Me: Sometimes I go to my sister’s house.

Um: She never calls me when you go there. I never see you.

Me: Yes you do.

Um: You could just move home again if you miss Viet food so much you have to visit your sister for it.

Me: [splutter.]

Option 3: Demonstrate how downright evil you truly are.

Me: No, I just come home.

Um: Then you must not miss Viet food very much because you don’t come here very much.

Me: Sometimes I go to my sister’s house. Or a restaurant.

Um: What?

Me: Er, sometimes I go to a restaurant.

Um: Why? What a waste of money! Just come here.

Me: Sometimes it’s too late to come here. (My parents go to bed very early)

Um: What do you mean? What time are you eating?

Me: Er. Sometimes, quite late.

Um: How late?

Me: Er. 8. 9. (I do not have the faculty of lying to my mother to make my life easier.)

Um: That’s not very good for you. What time do you go to sleep then?

Me: Um. 11. 12. Depends. (Well, I can lie a little)

Um: [splutter.]

That was a bit of a tangent. I miss my mum. I even miss her nagging that I used to find so aggravating. Now she’s just sweet as all-get-out to me on the phone, because I am so far away. Wish she’d just nag me again.

I intended to tell you about how I planted bulbs. Next post, then.



  1. !!what WC said!!
    Oanh, I’m sorry there’s no satisfactory ending to those kinds of conversations with your mother. I think mine is more tolerant because my brothers are so much badder than I am 😉


  2. WC –
    My mother alternates between berating me for being too fat or too skinny, as well, sometimes in the same sitting. Mamas, indeed. But we love them for their irrationalities, even as they aggravate us.

    Nikkipolani –
    Unfortunately (for me), I am the baddest of the whole lot of us!

    LBW –


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