Rugby League AND Sweet Peas

As today is the first day of Spring and a perfect day for gardening, this little gem from TROVE is the perfect way to celebrate it. The article refers to to my paternal grandfather William Henry Allan Harris ( 1906-1985) – known to everyone except his grandchildren as Allan. We called him Da.

Tweed Daily, 30 July 1941

I knew my grandfather was a passionate gardener and I have wonderful memories of his garden at 14 Webster Street South Lismore.. The roses and old fashioned gerberas in his front garden were a feature, as were the azaleas all along one side of the house. I still remember the perfume of Mr Lincoln, one of his favourite roses, as well as his search for the perfect blue rose. A large Cecile Brunner climbing rose was near the back steps and a frangipani grew just outside the kitchen window . One of my cherished childhood memories is of sitting out the back and eating Da’s strawberries and Chinese gooseberries, He was a real gardener.

But for some reason I have always assumed that this love of gardening was something my grandfather developed after retirement. This finding from the Tweed Daily of 30 July 1941 certainly challenged that perception.

I had always thought that his real passion was Rugby League, with his near tribal loyalty to South Lismore Rugby League Club. The article tells me that he was giving talks on sweet peas a long time before he retired, I knew all about his memberships of rugby league clubs and surf life saving clubs but I had no knowledge of this life membership.

I used to look at my grandfather slaving away in his garden, a never ending cycle of weeding, pruning and spraying, and while loving the result, I would vow “Never me!” I did the same when my father took up gardening. I made the same vow. “Never me”.

Now, we have over 50 roses in our garden! And I wish I had asked Da when is the best time to plant sweet peas.

Just one of my roses.