Posted by Rebecca
I grew up in a family that upheld some quirky British behavior, that have become known as Harrap traditions. Harrap is my maiden name, and although I’m not currently married, I retained my last married name because I’m too lazy to get a new driver’s license, passport, social security card, yadda, yadda, yadda.
My dad was the only one in my immediate family that was actually born in the Queen’s home territory, but my mom, an avid wanderlust at heart, happily incorporated the Western European lifestyle into our home. My parents baked mincemeat, and steak and kidney pies from scratch. Our house was full of heirloom antiques. Anytime there was a tragedy, illness, problem, or the car broke down, we would first make tea before doing anything else. And we firmly believed in repeatedly attempting to sneak ripe cheese through customs anytime anyone visited from England (most of which was confiscated).
However, I recently realized the one tradition that I have continued on my own is the desire to show off my garden. This is new for me. For the first time in my 38 years I have a garden that I did myself. And it’s growing. Almost nothing is dead yet!! Amazing! It’s a work in progress, but this summer for some reason, it is actually starting to look pretty good, if I do say so myself. The garden tradition goes like this:
- Wait for someone new to visit.
- Insist they follow you around the garden. Usually this is very exciting. I visited my relatives in Australia in 2007, and a trip around my Uncle’s garden was fascinating, with tropical vegetation and stories of weird and/or deadly creatures that made their way into and out of the garden. When I was 10 years old my dad and I went to visit Great Aunt Nat in England, and as she took us around her formal estate the dear old lady farted with every step she took, but pretended she didn’t. Very exciting indeed!!
- Next you point out flowers or bushes and rattle off the common, Latin and genus names of what is growing. “Oh look, there’s a Queen Victoria’s Knickers or the Regina Laurifer Vestimentum, from the genus Aeonium.” Or something like that. At my place it’s a little different. They ask what that is and I say, “I don’t know, I just tossed some wildflower seeds on the dirt and voila!” And then they ask what that over there is and I say, “I don’t know, I just like purple.” And then I ask them if this and that are weeds and if I should pull them.
- Finally you stroll the entire property whilst clasping your hands behind your back, muttering things like, “Isn’t this lovely? My, how delightful! Pity the summer is only a few months.” You do this until someone suggests tea and makes their way inside. Or in my case (like this morning), someone steps in poop and the rest of the tour is spend locating the Hazmat suits and organizing the biohazard cleanup.
My garden is still in the construction phase. There are pavers to lay and flower beds to create, but I’m definitely on my way. I’ve still got work to do with this little Harrap tradition, but that British blood pumping through my veins is hard to deny. And I’m so excited to have a garden of my own that I actually want to show off.