Love grows in Margaret’s garden

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 30, 2000

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / May 30, 2000

Her yard, most of the time, looks like the proverbial “picture postcard.” Theold wooden wagon, which once belonged to her grandfather, provides a unique setting for all the flowers surrounding it in the back yard. Then there is acharming garden shed which gives the yard an appearance of nostalgia.

Margaret Laiche starts planting in the fall for a truly lovely flower garden around her house in LaPlace.

“Louisiana has a mild winter, so if you want a head start on spring plants, plant them in the fall,” she says. “They mature in the winter so when springcomes, they are ready.”Her entire yard is a distinct pleasure to look at for months.

Margaret nurses her plants through the winter. “That is my job,” shebelieves, “to take care of the plants.”As enjoyable as the blossoms are for a while, she knows the flowers will go out in the heat of the summer. She and husband Edwin (“Squint”) enjoy themwhile they can. So do most of her neighbors and friends.Although she started growing flowers years ago, Margaret didn’t know if she could have the desire to continue with them after the Laiches lost their 23- year-old son in an automobile accident. Ray Laiche was a Tulane student andaccomplished football athlete about to graduate at the time of his death.

The following spring was not a good one for his parents, then Margaret started to remember how much Ray loved flowers. She was also advised to”plant her flowers for Ray,” so she resumed her work and love for the flowers and before long realized she was into it as much as before Ray died.

“It is like my yard is a bouquet of flowers for Ray,” she says.

Ray was always one to notice and enjoy the flowers in the Laiche yard. Whenhe came home after football season he would say, “Mom, when I see your flowers, I have to smile.” Her flowers gave him joy.Then, too, Ray had shared with his mom other joys he felt when, only 3 weeks before his death he spoke to her about the beautiful dogwoods he had seen in Tennessee. He knew how much she would have enjoyed that. Oddly enough, hisfriend who was driving had not noticed the dogwoods so, to Margaret, the dogwood and all flowers have created a special bond between she and her late son.

The flowers in Margaret’s garden include snap dragons, petunias, pansies, sweet peas, geraniums, St. Joseph lilies, honeysuckle, hibiscus of differentcolors, day lilies and sweet olive and more. They are a vision to behold. Margaret is fond of the sweet peas and plants them in October and nurses them.

“You have to take care of them,” she declares.”A lot of people want instantgratification, but you cannot do that. You have to nurse them. You cannottake a week’s vacation when you plant your sweet pea seeds. Make sure theyhave water for them to grow. If we are having a drought, keep them wet.Grow them on the south side of your house because if you have a freeze you want to protect them. Also, the sun will keep them, dry.” Margaret has planted them for a long time. She also talks about the sweetsmell of the lemon blossoms and how she prays when she plants. When shewaters, her plants each get one “Hail Mary,” and if it is a bad drought, they get two.

Margaret also speaks warmly of her son, Dixon, his wife Rachael and her grandson and light of her life, Ray, who are living in Florida, and of her love for the flowers she grows for son Ray. Even if she didn’t speak of it, themany flowers growing in the Laiche yard are, obviously, very much a legacy of love.

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