"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why I garden

I have started this blog as a way to keep track of my garden, progress of it and the people that inspire me to garden. The reasons I love to garden are many. One is that it reminds me of people I love. The first garden I remember is my Grandparents in Canada. My Nana and Poppa had 2 1/2 acres that my Nana pretty much landscaped herself. She tells me stories of moving big rocks and creating a garden on basically no money. She took cuttings of plants and shrubs from her friends and family and that's how she started. She didn't have local nurseries to drive down to. I don't think she even had a car. My Poppa and her built their own home on some land with a creek running through it. I remember that creek clearly even though it's been probably 30 years since I saw it. My sister and I caught frogs in it. I think I have an old black and white picture that I took of one. I'll have to find it and scan it in. I also have a picture from that same camera (an old Brownie that my Nana gave me that I still wonder what happened to it) a picture of my Nana posing holding a rose from her garden.
My Nana and Poppa and my Mom and Aunt lived there for a long time, and I think how neat it must've been to watch those cuttings grow into big shrubs that had once been in a loved ones yard. Maybe that's why I love sharing my plants so much. Maybe hoping that someone will say, " I remember getting that when it was just a dried up stick that Catherine decided needed to be dug and divided on the hottest day in summer, and it actually grew and flowered."
I also remember my grandparents house in Surrey. It was a more suburban neighborhood. One with a great neighborhood store that my sisters and I would walk down to and buy candy that you could only buy in Canada. We would play games in their garden. I think my Poppa was in charge of the vegetables. He had a greenhouse in back that he made compost in with coffee grounds, etc and also seemed to always have tomato starts in there too. Once they moved from there they moved to a retirement type of condo complex. He had a garden there too. They live on the second floor, but he had I think dahlias growing in the garden below them and of course tomatoes in black pots on their deck. He always told me how to pinch them back, but I'm kinda lazy about that, and so maybe that's why my tomatoes aren't always very plentiful. My Nana always has hanging baskets, which she says gets birds nesting in them, then they are hard to take care of. I remember a few summers ago I had some nesting in my front hanging planter. I thought the birds that Sweet Pea and I had been watching build a nest and sit on the eggs for a week or so, then watched the parents feed them, were gone. I felt horrible putting the hose up and watching those poor babies jump out one by one and the parents flying in and freaking out. I thought I 'd better catch them and put them back before Sweet Pea found out. I chased them all over, under cars, down the street, etc, I'm sure the neighbors were trying to figure out what I was up to! Anyway, the parents finally corralled them and kept them in a sheltered area and they finally left.
See how one memory of my grandparents brings up so many more for me. That is what gardening is for me. Therapy, reminding me of how lucky I am to have these special people in my life.
Next, garden memories are from my childhood. I have to say other than a stump in our backyard in California that my sister and I would sing on, I don't remember much from that yard. It was in that yard though that I remember my parents found a tight string wrapped around my sisters toe, almost having to have it amputated!! Our yard in Sherman Oaks was a kids dream! A large walnut tree that my sister and I would sail the shells from down in the gutter was in the front. Our palm trees that doubled as our make believe horse stable. The back had a fig tree, and we had a large jungle gym that we would climb and tease the dog next store from. I remember a lady down the street had a clover lawn. Yes, all clover and she would yell at the kids that stepped in her yard and flattened it down. I remember it feeling puffy!! The yard that we had for most of my life was where I think I learned the most about chores of yard work. The edging chore (those horrible scissor type things) weeding, picking up sticks from the apple tree, picking up the apples and pears that dropped that no one ate. The apples were baking ones and so were very tart. We tried them every year, but they never got better. As we got older, my Mom really began to enjoy making the garden prettier and prettier. She always kept it very clean and neat, but I remember more flowers going in. The columbines and forget me nots are two that I really remember. My Dad was in charge of mowing and those maintenance type jobs. Once I remember he pruned a Dogwood really bad. I don't remember what it looked like, just my Mom commenting on it. I do think it survived. As much as my Dad wasn't really into gardening, he always helped my Mom keep it nice. Even in their new house with the little yard, he made sure that my Mom got to have a nice garden and even hired someone to make it the way she wanted. In the previous yard my Mom went crazy making that yard beautiful so that my husband and I could get married there. I guess even our marriage started off in the garden. My husband proposed to me while I was out gardening. I don't think I ever really put all this together! Well, this is enough for now. I think I'll start looking for some old pictures and maybe figure out how to scan them in.
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  1. OK, now I know why I didn't find you before - you just started this week! Phew, I was feeling really out of it. :) Nice piece on your gardening inspirations. My grandpa, great-aunts and mom are mine.

  2. I enjoyed reading about your memories of gardens and gardening. Welcome to blogging! I just started in October, and am having lots of fun, probably too much.

    Sue, lvtgrdn on the cottage forum

  3. Hi! I have just read through this, and the rest of your blog, and I can SOOO relate! I had a Nana and Poppop...Oh My Goodness...I haven't heard *AnyOne* mention those words in YEARS:) You are bringing back so many wonderful memories for me! My Nana had a Beautiful Garden!! She was in it all the time, loved the birds, etc. And I remember being there as a child and loving every minute of her, and her garden:) My daughter was similar to yours about the fairies and imagining all sorts of things outside in the yard (she's 20 now:( Kind of makes me sad & longing for those days again!! My son is 12 so he's still capable of imagination, but slowly sinking in to the 'middle school' mindset:( Another kind of 'sad' thing happening right NOW!! But both are happy--and so am I.
    Anyway, I'm very happy to find your new blog! Welcome to blogdom!! And to the gardening world, etc! Jan

  4. I just love this post, your Nana sounds heavenly. You have been blessed to of had such inspiring people touch your life.
    Thanks for following my blog, I'm new at it. It means a lot to me.



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