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keesha2006

Fond Garden Stories....

17 years ago

Another post I enjoyed reading began me thinking....lets share some fond garden memories we might have with each other...our gardens instill so much into our lives.....maybe it would be a funny experience while working in the garden...or a sad or happy story that a certain plant reminds you of, a great party memory in your garden..or a child experience in your garden..or a memory of your childhood that involves a garden...lets take the time to remember how our gardens really do impact our lives and memories over the years.....

here is mine..

This story has been in my family for years...and I often think of it when I pass a cemetary or a extremely cottagey garden and home.....

My great great grandpa...whom I never knew other than thru stories was a mailman by day and a extremely avid gardener by night....nothing exotic...basic "country garden" varieties...but lots and lots and lots of them....he would raise flowers by the zillions on a small city lot in a small town in Indiana. He would come home after delivery mail by day (by foot in those days or by horse) and work for hours each night tending his gardens....Just down the dirt city street a bit, around a sharp s curve from his white clapboard two story home with its huge big front wrapped porch, was the local town cemetary....his family and the family before them were all buried there as were many friends and neighbors and war vets, some he knew...some he never did....He raised his zillions of those flowers for one purpose and it became his lives work.....to keep fresh flowers on ALL the graves there, whether he knew them or not.....so on Sundays after church, he would drag his entire family along to help share the wealth of flowers.....first they would cut the flowers from the garden....load them into buckets of cold water drawn from the well and on to a big horse drawn wagon..then off the the cemetary they would go....big kids, little kids and mothers with babies alike....everyone took a bucket and exchanged last weeks flowers on each and every grave with this freshest, prettiest bunch fresh from his garden....when each and every grave was completed and newly decorated...the wagon was loaded back up..and they headed back home for a home cooked dinner at grandpa's house and games on the lawn while the menfolk talked "man talk" and the woman talked "babies". The locals in town said you could always count on gr. gr. grandpa come rain or shine to keep the place beautiful..and if you got sick, he would ring your doorbell with a bouquet to brighten your illness. Sometimes just leaving them at your door and slipping quietly away. None of his children or grandchildren ever became much of a gardener.....but his green thumb blood lives on in some of his great great grandchildren and great great great grandchildren......that is what a real gardener is all about...sharing the wealth...

Please share your stories with us....I am sure we all have great garden memories or are at work today creating them for those we love...don't be shy.....share with us...on hot summer days we could all use some inspiration...

Comments (26)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    that's a beautiful story...

    I was walking with my parents through the mall one day (i was in my late twenties at the time) and there was a flower show going on. All of a sudden this scent made me stop. I went over to this big, beautiful red rose and without thinking I said " Deeda (grandfather) had these didn't he?" My parents were floored as my grandfather died when I was not quite two. When we got home, they pulled out the photo album and there I was with my face buried in a big, beautiful red rose in my grandfather's garden! I have no memory of him at all but this scent meant something to me over 20 years later. Strange what our senses can do....

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I remember when a couple of friends and I were walking home from the swimming pool one summer day and we noticed a pretty vine that had seemed to sprout overnight on a fence a few feet from the road. We normally didn't venture into people's yards but our curiousity got the best of us and we decided to take a closer look. None of us had ever seen such an unusual flower, so much detail. As we were admiring this plant, the lady came out of her house and we were afraid we were going to be scolded. I'm so thankful to this day that instead of scolding three littly girls, she was delighted that we had discoverd her passion vine and were appreciating it as much as she did. She told us of the symbolism of the flower and she picked a flower for each of us to take home. I wish she knew how much I still love passion vines today because she created such a wonderful memory for me some thirty-eight years ago simply by sharing her love for this one plant.

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    what nice stories...it is so nice to see how gardens and flowers impact everyday life of people it never knew it did...thank you for sharing those stories, I love reading them.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One hot late July day in 1995, my Mom, Meema to her grandkids, and I arranged for her to come and spend the day adding a couple of plants to my shade garden. I wasn't working at the time, being a stay at home mom, and I wasn't spending any money on plants.
    Mom said she had been dividing her shade plants and would bring down her little rototiller and we would play in the garden.
    She pulled in from Northern MD and the back of her station wagon was chock full of plants. I had no idea she had been dividing and potting up so many of her plants! As we unloaded she admitted to stopping on the way down since she didn't think she had brought enough variety from her own lovely gardens!
    A bit later, we were standing and looking at the side yard when I told her I've got some old bricks. She clapped her hands together and exclaimed "Let's go for it!" and so we dug up every bit of grass, set a path of bricks and planted the resulting shade garden with all of her wonderful plants. We listened to U2 on the little boom box and had a boisterous time playing in the dirt. She was only 5'1" and that rototiller pulled her around so much it was comical. So I rototilled. I guess I got my love of gardening from her. You should have seen the look on my DH's face when he got home from work that all of the grass was gone!!! LOL That day was one of the best times I had shared with my Mom.
    2 weeks later she was killed by a drunk driver. We still have my "Meema" garden and the wonderful memories. It helped all of us in healing. Sometimes on Mother's day I add a plant or a garden statue. This year I put in a tiny brick patio in the corner with some leftover original bricks with just room enough for 2 bistro chairs.I enjoyed sitting in the shade and drinking in the fragrance of the fringe tree friends gave me as a condolence plant. Or just remembering how much fun we had that day. And I know she is there too, right along side of me,in one of her favorite little gardens. It is a happy place again now. Sue

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What a wonderfully sweet and yet sad story Sue...I think that garden was meant to be.....a way for your mother to keep giving you her love even in her absence...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The title of my story, "Never Underestimate the Power of Flowers."

    A few years ago, shortly after giving birth to her 2nd daughter, a friend of mine started experiencing some symptoms that sent her straight to her doctor's office. The thing we all fear happened to her, her doctor admitted her immediately to the hospital and ordered a battery of tests.

    Of course her dh was crushed, and her parents were devastated. I was trying to figure out something, anything that would bring a smile to her face and then it hit me: Roses!

    She used to kid me all the time because my dh never bought me roses, just rose bushes. It was something we always laughted about.

    Bareroot roses were just appearing in the nurseries so I bought a nice Don Juan climbing rose for her and had them pack it into a brown paper bag, which I then crumpled up. I also bought her a bouquet.

    As I entered her hospital room, I announced that I had brought her roses, and then gave her the crumpled bag with the bare branches sticking out. We both burst into laughter. I then handed her the bouquet which I had left in the hallway.

    From that point forward the mood of everyone in the room changed. Her dh and father started to discuss where the rose should be planted, her mother was going to research the characteristics of Don Juan etc.

    That bare root rose with tiny little leaf buds made such a difference. Everyone started to look to the future and make plans. Her family started to smile and relax.

    That was over 20 years ago, and my friend gifts me every year with a bouquet of Don Juan roses from that very same bush. :-)

    Marilyn

  • PRO
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A 90 year old man gave me a coffee can filled with seedling melampodiums that he'd dug just for me.

    Every year when the volunteer butter daisies magically appear in late June, I think of Mr. Roy.

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I was about 17, I went to school during the day & worked at a grocery store afternoons & evenings, so I went to bed early every night;
    when I visited my beloved Aunt Lillie, I'd go home to bed by about 9 PM.

    Aunt Lillie's "plant project" that summer was a night-blooming cereus, which she watched like a hawk.

    One night, the phone rang just before midnight.

    I was scared:
    Who would call that late unless it was bad news?

    The next thing I knew, my mother was in my room, telling me to get up & get dressed, we had to go right away:

    Aunt Lillie had called & said,
    "Where is Sylvia?
    Asleep?
    Well, wake her up & bring her over here.
    The night-blooming cereus has opened!"

    Half her neighbors & most of her family were there to admire it.

    It was gorgeous.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My story is similar to Sylvia's, I was very young at the time. One night my parents woke me up in the wee hours, they put my coat on over my P.J.'s and my dad carried me across the street to the neighbors, I didn't know what was going on. All I can remember is, as we went through the front door there was this incredible fragrance and everybody was exclaiming over a plant with a white flower in the middle of the dining room table. It must of left quite an impression on me as today I try above all else to fill my garden with fragrant plants.

    Annette

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I enjoyed everyone's stories a lot. Thanks for starting this thread Keesha.

    I don't really have one story, so much as a grand collective memory of my grandparents and their relationship to the earth. Products of the Depression, grandma and grandpa grew up very poor in rural Kentucky where gardening wasn't a hobby for them, it was a necessity. They learned to plant huge gardens because there were a lot of mouths to feed. By the time I was born, their lives had become considerably more comfortable thanks to an antique business which flourished (grandma had an uncanny eye and a brilliant business sense). But they never forgot their roots. Year after year, they produced the most abundant vegetable gardens. What didn't get eaten in summer got canned for winter. Not everyone who came to the shop walked away with an antique. But they always walked away with a paperbag full of whatever was ripe that day (or a jar of piccalilli in winter). Grandpa was a true woodsman. He would spend entire days off in the timber. He came back with amazing things to add to the table. Of course he would always have a string of fresh fish he had caught, but he also brought back woodland things. Wild berries, mayapples, watercress. He knew his mushrooms and there were always wild mushrooms in the gravy or on the meat or just served in a steaming bowl swimming in butter. Asparagus grew wild in the ditches in north central Illinois. It was common for us to be driving down a country road and break to a dusty stop to pick a patch of asparagus on the way to an auction.

    The memories of summertime shaped who I am today. Every evening seemed to end the say way. Grandpa would start the wood for the fire to cook the fish on his brick pit. He always used hickery combined with fruitwood, especially pear. Grandma would always ask me to help her pick out what veggies we were going to have for dinner. I would sit and help her shell and snap and husk while she told me stories. That was our time. As dinner time neared, people would start "dropping by to say hello" for my grandmother was a legendary cook, and people aren't stupid. You never knew just who might show. By the time we all sat down to eat there might be 10 or more of us, but there were always leftovers. Stuffed and drousy, we would all sit outside watching the fireflys, talking and laughing until the mosquitos drove us in to play Canasta. These were the happiest times of my life and they all revolved around Charlie and Lou's garden and the simple things that are so hard to find today.

    Steven

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    well said Steven...isn't it the enjoyment of simple things that leads many of us to garden in todays busy world.....that was just you Steven who was in a foul moood one day after work until you spent time in your garden...

    Annette, any idea what that flower was that was so fragrant at night? Sylvia...that flower name is not known to me...do you have any pics of it you could share? Must of been quite a flower to have made so many rise out of sleep to smell and see...

  • PRO
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Night blooming cereus could have its own thread.

    Mama's Audacious Aunt Annie used to bundle a huge pot, in bloom, in the back seat of her DeSoto and we'd drive around Dunwoody to show the blooms to people she knew who couldn't get out to come view the blossoms late at night.

    I know now we could have just picked the blooms, but it was fun to take the whole plant.

    Nell

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Keesha, this was back in the very early fourties, I couldn't say what the plant was for sure, maybe some type of cactus. All I can remember is the color and the fragrance. I think the reason everyone went to see it is, the flower only lasted till morning. We went through the front door, down a short hall into the dining room of this old house, being very sleepy at the time and very young that's all I can remember. The owners were fabulous gardeners, they used to show their flowers and veggies in our fall fair every year, they were probably 2 of the founding members of the garden club I am a member of today. There are 1 or 2 members of our garden club older then me that knew them. I'll ask them if they remember anything about this plant.

    Annette

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Me again, the more I think about it, the more I think it might have been "Queen of the Night". I can't swear this is the plant I saw, but somehow the Name seems familiar.

    Annette

    Here is a link that might be useful: Queen of the Night

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My Mom had a night blooming cereus as well. The neighbors would come over to see it. Seems like it would bloom about 10 PM. My Mom called it "Baby In A Cradle" plant. How cool is it that so many of us have memories about the same plant! Our Moms, Grandmothers, etc. would be pleased.

    Gayle

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Amazing how it's the little things that can help us get our heads back on straight.

    Today the temps here went over 90 degrees. Muggy and just plain icky. Some of you know I just started a new garden with many new plants. I came home to find everything drooping, the butterfly weed definitely at death's door, birdbath dried out and probably leaking again, crabgrass sprouting even though I used corn gluten meal because I want to be more organic, water restriction in effect and it's not my turn to water, a new coreopsis looking like a cat slept in it, mulch dug up everywhere by the stupid tree rats, a butterfly delphinium turning yellow, and the list goes on and on.

    After doing the best I could to provide a little first aid I came into the house, sweaty, tired and utterly depressed. That's it, I thought. I'm going to post at Garden Web and whine and maybe ask for a group hug from the cottage gardeners. They know what it's like.

    Then, as I sat down here I looked out of the window to see a robin (my favorite songbird) enjoying itself immensely in the freshly filled birdbath. It would splash around, hop up on the rim as if to leave, and then go back for another dip.

    In my heat-addled imagination, it was saying "You silly goose, look at me. I love your garden. And thanks for all the tasty worms you didn't murder with pesticides. So don't be sweatin' the small stuff."

    Sure enough, when I looked past this bird I saw my hostas doing beautifully with no slug damage, the shade bed looking just fine in general, the new baby smoke bush utterly unaffected by the heat, lavender lovin' the heat, the cannas looking massive and tropical, the tomato plant growing like crazy, and the list goes on and on.

    Yah, silly goose, indeed :)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OMG!!! Steven. You are from KY? Whoa. So am I...Williamsburg - or, rather, outside of - more like Gold Bug, well Watts Creek, really. O.K. Now we are down to really small places. That said, I'm actually trying to recreate my Gramma's flower garden - very casual, all off around the edges, hardy things that bloom and bloom. Oh, and the elephant ears next to the porch...

    My story, such as it is, is about my Daddy. He was a wonderful gardener - wonderful veggies and grapes!! He was the man! He used to travel around and prune everyone's vines because he was the only one who knew how. He grew amazing things and I don't remember him EVER going to a garden center. Where did he GET this stuff???

    He always had a bed somewhere in the yard devoted to zinnias. I dunno why. He liked 'em. They were multicolored and rampant. Healthy as all get out.

    No one was allowed to cut his flowers. Iris in spring?...leave it there. Zinnias?...do not touch. But one time each year he would tell me, "Chum, you can go cut yourself a bouquet. The zinnias are ready." Actually, there was frost predicted. And I'd cut a big ol' bouquet and it was lovely. He'd smile and I'd grin. Well...you know. Oh, how I wish he were here to teach me and look at my garden. I'd love to hear what he would say. That is something I missed. I never had a garden while he was alive. I missed a lot that way.

    I have planted zinnias in front of my porch this year. (You can see them in that picture up there.) And it's "Daddy's patch." He loved his flowers out there growing rather than in a vase. I hope they will be beautiful cause they really remind me of him.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My post in 'Gardening in Texas' from March 2006.
    Weeding Makes My Heart Swell Up!

    Fellow gardeners, I have recently discovered that weeding makes my heart swell up. Impossible you say? Well, let me explain. We have a granddaughter named Haley who recently turned 5 years old. Her mom and dad are divorced. Her dad, our son, is in the army, and we have a great relationship with her mom, so she gets to spend a lot of time with us. She loves to help Papa work in the garden. Last month her dad was here for her 5th birthday and on a Saturday morning, when they went out to the swing set, I wondered off to the side yard and started weeding a bed. I like to give them time alone when he is here. Before long they came around to where I was and Haley instantly squatted down and started helping me weed. Her dad watched for a while then he started to weed also. She looked at him and said "Dad, you have to pull them slow so you get the roots." I felt a slight swelling inside my chest. He grinned at her then started trying to pull weeds again. Before long he was again snapping them of at the ground. When she noticed, she stood up, put her hands on her hips, and said " Daddy! If you don't do it right, me and my Papa will just have to do it all over again !" That's when I first noticed that weeding makes my heart swell up! Ever since, anytime I weed, I remember that and it happens all over again, but somehow, weeding is no longer the chore it used to be.
    Jim

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Keesha, this is a wonderful thread!!!

    Sue, I was so touched by your story.

    Here is my story...Three years ago in the early morning I was out and about in the garden when I heard someone say "Excuse me, may I take a look at your flowers?" When I looked up from pulling some weeds I saw this lovely lady walking up my driveway. I told her it would be my pleasure to share my garden. Don't we all love to show off our hard work? She told me she and her husband had recently relocated to my town from West Virginia and she was on her morning walk about 1/2 mile from her house. Willadean (her name) and I spent the better part of an hour walking around the yard talking flowers. She said she was just getting started in gardening and was eager to learn as much as she could. We exchanged phone numbers and I told her to come back later that day with some containers so she could take home some plants I wanted to give her. That chance meeting, spawned by a common interest. has evolved into a wonderful friendship. The Virginia Creeper and Porcelain Vines that I regretted buying are now flurishing in Willadean's garden and I have several clumps of Shasta Daisies that were a gift from her garden. Willadean loves to bake and she will often surprise me with a fresh baked loaf of bread or one of her fabulous homemade pies. Her husband is ill and can't do much outside and my husband abhors yard work so she has helped me do weeding and I have helped her lay down mulch. We have dug plants together at a vacant house that was to be destroyed and we get together at least once a month to "tour" each others garden. We also share the same religious faith and we now have a companion to attend our monthly Christian Woman's Brunch with.

    Gardening not only rewards you with glorious plants but can also reward you with lasting friendships.

    Vikki

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Gardening not only rewards you with glorious plants but can also reward you with lasting friendships. "

    Well said, Vikki! :-)

    Happy Gardening,
    Marilyn

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here ya go!

    Here is a link that might be useful: night blooming cereus

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I want to share a couple of memories with you.My dad has always gardened and grew mostly veges,every fruit tree and bush available to him.He remarried when he was 65,after being alone many many yrs.His wife grew flowers.On one visit after everything was bearing and blooming,my kids came into the house and one of them asked him "pawpaw,is this the garden of Eden.Ever since then I always tell them,now grown and long gone from home,that I am still trying to grow pawpaws garden of Eden.
    My 7 yr old grandson has always stayed with me quite alot.When he was 4,I bought my new home. On his birthday,after his party,I wanted to plant some hosta at the entrance of my walk.He told me he was big enough to do that so I stood back and just took pictures.He dug the holes,planted the hosta and just today,he told his younger bro. that those were his birthday present to nanny when he was a baby as we were strolling the garden.Talk about heart swelling.Mine does that so often..
    great stories.I love every one I have read.Thank you for sharing such great memories.
    great thread.
    moonphase

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Isn't it funny how many garden memories are from the time we were so young? I took a 2 day landscape architecture class in winter and the woman teaching it said that as adults we usually try to recreate the landscape we had as a child because it influenced us so strongly.

    I didn't have a real garden or real yard when I was growing up, because I grew up on a 50 acre vineyard in Napa, CA. All my friends lived in suburbia and had their patch of lawn, which I actually envied. But nothing beat running wild through the vineyard, climbing redwoods for a view of the valley and picking fruit from our huge orchard.

    We had three fig trees and I named them, Daddy fig tree, Mama fig tree and baby fig tree according to their sizes. We had cherries, apricots, peach, nectarine, apple, walnut, you name it. My favorite was the Gravenstein apple trees. Every autumn we would collect the apples and spend an entire day making applesauce and apple pies.

    And although I love every fruit there is, I'd have to say that apples are my favorite. To me, a garden doesn't feel complete without apple trees. This winter I plan to finally get in some apple trees. I've only been in my house a year, but it's time to get those apple trees in.....

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I believe what the teacher said about trying to recreate the landscape we remember as a child is very true. I could remember my Grandma had on the west side of her house a bed of pink flowers and one of a green and white plant. Lo and behold while checking a catalog out jumped grandma's pink plant, oenothera speciosa. I now have a bed of it growing rampantly along my front ditch. Then...this year I saw Snow on the Mountain....that was her other plant. I grew some from seed and have it here and there. It makes me feel good.

    To my knowledge she never spent a dime on gardening. All plants were "passalongs" from friends and relatives. I wish I knew, but I bet she saved her garden seed too.

    My dad was the family gardener. When I had my own garden he would keep after me to weed, get things planted, we had a semi-serious competition going for the first tomato and the longest pole bean, etc. I wish he were still here to keep after me!

    My other grandma gave me a cutting of Aloha rose back in 1976 and it is still going. I take a few cuttings each year to be sure I don't loose it.

    I have loved all these stories. What a great idea you had Keesha!

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That is so true about how we try to recreate the landscape from our childhood days. I never really made the association until I read your post, greenpurplegirl.

    I've started thinking about all the happy times that are associated with gardens. Such things as garden weddings, garden parties, picking that first ripe tomato of the season, planting seeds with a young child, climbing a tree, the first rose etc.

    No wonder we find ourselves trying to create these memories, and more, for ourselves and our families! :-)

    Marilyn

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree, it seems I keep going back in time when life was much simpler, reliving happier times, it seem like this beautiful planet we live on is on a downward spiral. It's so very, very, sad. I keep revisiting memories of my grandfather's garden, it somehow gives me hope for the future.

    Annette

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