Tuesday, 3 June 2014

'Shows Of Hands' - Here's Waving At You!


Mother's father had a touch with horses ; she had the same with flowers. She could grow them anywhere, at any time and they seemed to live longer for her. She grew them with rough, almost slap-dash love, but here hands possessed such an understanding of their needs that they seemed to turn to her like another sun. She could snatch a dry root from a field or hedgerow, dab it into the garden, give it a shake - and almost immediately it flowered. One felt she could grow roses from a stick or chair -leg, so remarkable was this gift' 

- an extract from 'Cider with Rosie' by Laurie Lee.

It sounds as if Laurie's mother had what we call 'green fingers'. Talking of fingers leads to hands which are certainly 'the tool most precious to a gardener', as Michelle at Veg Plotting writes in her invitation to bloggers to hilight hands and join in her Chelsea Fringe project for 2014.

I must admit that I look down at my hands sometimes and think that they do not belong to me. Am I slowly turning into an alien? No but my hands reflect that I'm getting older more than any other part of me. Well the grey hair can be covered with 'Black Cherry' but the hands are harder to disguise. They are becoming increasingly chicken wrinkled and at this time of year seem to be permanently scratched and dirt engrained. I hear my mother's voice in my ear urging me to wear gloves and use hand cream and reflect that they would probably look better if I had heeded her advice. However regardless of appearance they have served me well over some thirty years or so of gardening. I wonder just how many seeds they have sown, how many cuttings they've taken, how many plants they've planted and just how many weeds they have pulled out. When I think of this I'm not surprised that they look past their sell by date. However I'm eternally grateful for their service.

Unfortunately my hands also suffer from various allergic reactions (even more reason to listen to mum) and are not a pretty sight at the moment. So no photo of my paws today but one that some of you maybe familiar with if you are already a regular visitor here. It's perfect for saying hello to you and to say thank you for visiting. The photo is of my blog atavar and was taken at Sudeley Castle, in Gloucestershire in 2008. The gardens were home to an exhibition of sculpture including a gigantic hand. You can see and read about some of the other exhibits here.

The 'Chelsea Fringe' is now entering its last few days. If you are fortunate enough to live in or near London, Bath, Brighton, Bristol or Kent there are some great events going on this week. If you are further afield you can still participate in Michelle's project over at Veg Plotting until the 8th June. What a great idea for bloggers from all corner of the globe to join hands together in celebration of our love of plants and gardens and be part of this special event. You've got to hand it to Michelle for coming up with such a brilliant idea after last year's magnificent 'Blogger's Cut' cake extravaganza. I'm still recovering after eating my way through this work of art. I'm now wondering what's in store for 2015!

16 comments:

  1. That's such an amazing piece of sculpture. I must admit, I do wear gloves when I'm gardening because I'd have a fit if I happened to come in to contact with anything slimy.

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  2. I've always wondered where your avatar picture was taken! I try to wear gloves when gardening but I can't manage to keep them on for long, I seem to always end up taking at least one off so my hands are constantly ingrained too. Often look down at them when I'm at work and think 'oh dear'!

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  3. That is such a fantastic piece of sculpture!

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  4. My hands are deplorable, Anna. Not only are they tired and wrinkled, they're puffy in the fingers and let's not talk about the shape of my nails. But my garden looks good so who cares about my hands, right? I must give a hand to your giant hand.

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  5. Anna it was your Avatar I had in mind when I said non-human hands were acceptable for my project. Thanks so much for joining in again this year and telling us more about 'your' sculpture. I saw something very similar last year at Hatfield House (a hammer this time) and I wondered if they were by the same artist. I must post a pic sometime, though the visit itself was most disappointing.

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  6. I have started wearing gloves to garden as I am suffering from more and more allergies as I get older, keeping them on is hard especially when it is hot but my hands are improving, I don't have to scrub them anymore and I have fingernails. I used to garden bare handed and bare footed, those were the days, sigh.
    Love the idea of holding hands, missed that somewhere.

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  7. So that's where your hand comes from!
    No real gardener has cared- for hands. If I see anyone with nail varnish and manicured nails I know they are not gardeners. We all have dirt under our nails. I do start off in gloves but always finish off without them. Have you noticed how clean your hands and nails look on holiday? I am always amazed, they look like someone else's hands after 2 weeks away.

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  8. Really enjoyed reading this post, Anna. We do demand a lot of our hands, don't we? I would rather not wear gloves whilst gardening but probably am more sensible about it these days and wear them more than I used to. I am certainly grateful for my thrice weekly swim to remove the dirt from my fingernails, although as I swim at the crack of dawn it is replaced very soon afterwards!!

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  9. I had wondered if that hand was a feature in your own garden... now I am enlightened!

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  10. I wear gloves for some jobs, but they quickly come off to sow seeds, take cuttings and so often stay off. the worst thing about my hands is that when I'm kneeling I often supposrt myself on my knuckles as I reach for things, hence they are hard and ugly! Like Chlois I am amazed by my hands after a couple of weeks holiday - clean, soft and the nails grown a little.

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  11. BTW that comment took two attempts, it just disappeared the first time.

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  12. I've never been a fan of wearing gardening gloves. I reluctantly do in the garden, if I remember, because of the danger of touching cat mess but generally I find them cumbersome. It's impossible to sow seeds with gloves on. I don't moisturize them enough either and the tend to be covered in scratches but that's just the nature of gardening. Fantastic sculpture. We went to Sudeley a few years ago and loved it. I'm hoping I haven't missed the chance to join in with this. It's been so busy recently but it's such a fab idea.

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  13. Its good to learn more about "your" sculpture Anna, it is rather wonderful. My hands are aging too, and permanently dirt-ingrained and scratched. I dislike wearing gloves to garden, I enjoy the feel of the soil too much, but I do now have a pair of rather funky thin pink ones which leave me more sensation and are good for nettle weeding. I always resent having to don the thicker gloves to wrestle with brambles etc. I sympathise with your hand allergy issues, TNG suffers from cracking skin on hands and feet which gets very painful, not good with earth or salt water.

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  14. It's lovely to see the sculpture as a big photo - I always smile when I see your avatar as it does look very cheery and as if you're waving at us!! It's a funny thing about gardeners and gloves isn't it? We know we should, but then … I started being more disciplined about donning gloves when I had to tackle more animal mess and slugs - and I also get cracked skin if I don't wear gloves and don't moisturise so there's an incentive there too!

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  15. Thanks as always for all your lovely thoughtful comments. It's funny how most of us have an aversion to wearing gardening gloves. I'm sorry that I have to close comments on this post - have had to temporarily briefly allow them for me to make a comment! I was getting inundated with spam from one particular anonymous ( as is always the case ) commenter. Although luckily their 'comments' did not appear here I've still had to delete the deluge from my Blogger dashboard, which I'm sure you will all agree is not a desirable state of affairs so will now close comments again. If anybody should want to make a genuine comment on this post please email me at thegreentapestry@googlemail.com and I will gladly add your comment.

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