Jack wasn't a gardener. In fact, he always told me that he would kill anything that he attempted to grow. But he certainly appreciated flowers.
Jack knew that one of my favorite flowers is the carnation. On our first Valentine's Day, he bought me this huge pink vase with about 3 dozen carnations in 3 different colors. I was stunned at the time. Just one of the many ways that he was so thoughtful. I still have the vase. (A joke that Jack told me several times when we were first dating: Do you know that if we all drove white cars, we'd be a white car nation? [Insert loud groan here]) For years, he would also bring me a bouqet of flowers from the store "just because." I never knew when to expect it, but I so loved and appreciated it.
When we were living at our first house in WA, our desks both looked out the back windows onto the back deck. When spring arrived, I went to Fred Meyer and bought a fuschia plant and hung it outside my window. Jack loved it so much (I had no clue that he loved the flowers) that I bought him one, too, at his request. We've had a fuschia plant every year since. It's a sign that spring has finally arrived and that the frost is most likely done until fall. Jack always loved it when I hung the new fuschia plant. Buying one this year was bittersweet because he wasn't here to enjoy it.
Then there are the roses. The houses we've lived in here have both had rose bushes. This house has 10 rose bushes in front, and I take good enough care of them that neighbors and folks who walk down our street comment to me about them. We get lots of roses every year. Periodically, I'll go out front and cut a bunch of them. When Jack was alive, he'd strip off the leaves and thorns (he had one of those cool florist tools that does it), and he'd arrange them and put them around the house. It was such a nice thing that we did together. The roses are back, and now I'm doing both the cutting and arranging. And remembering him every time I do it.
He also really appreciated the flowers I grew in the yard. Not all of them could be cut. But, during the summer months, we'd sit in our back yard, and he'd comment on how nice it was to be there with all of the flowers in the planters and the planting beds and thank me for creating such a beautiful environment for us. And sometimes he'd arrange flowers and grasses that I cut from the back. I haven't done as much this year because I haven't had as much time to work in the yard, and when he died, it was the time that I should have been doing all of the planting, and my heart just wasn't in it this year.
He actually appreciated my love of growing flowers the whole time we were together. I had moved to Oakland to be closer to him, and I had a tiny apartment in an old Victorian house that had a small planting bed in front. I put in sweet peas and whatever other flowers I could during the year I lived there. When we were talking about moving in together, we were talking about whether to move to a different place or if I should just move in with him. I told him that my only concern was that I didn't have any place to grow flowers since all he had was an enclosed cement patio. He promised that if I moved in with him, he'd buy me planters to put in the patio. He made good on his promise, and I grew some beautiful flowers out there. When we moved up here, the movers moved the planters, and I still have them 8 years after Jack first bought them for me.
He really loved the really long summer sunsets here. Now, every time I look at one, I think of how much he loved watching them, or even looking out the window and appreciating it. He filled so many parts of my life. I still miss him and think of him every day.