Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Memory: Gardening

I'm not sure if "gardening" is really the right term for this post. I really mean "flower gardening" as opposed to "vegetable gardening." But anyway. The past several days I've been working in our flower beds, clearing out leaves, snipping stems, and planting a little. And as always, I've been doing a lot of dreaming about what our flowerbeds could look like if we had lots of extra money.

My love for flower gardening is no doubt genetic and was well nurtured in my childhood. The love of soil runs deep in my genes, from six generations of fruit orchards on my father's side (and continuing still to my brothers) to my mother's careful and prolific cuttings. There have always been abundant flowers in my life. It was only natural that, when Dr. H. and I married, that I would plant a patch wherever we were. The picture above is of our apartment on Poplar Street in Johnson City, Tennessee. I'm pretty sure that the first thing I did when we moved there was to plant flowers there in the front. We lived there two years, and I remember the thrill of planting my little strip of impatiens and begonias each year.

Later we moved to Oxford, Ohio, where we had but a pot of impatiens outside our tiny apartment. And then to Ames, Iowa, where we turned a patch of weeds around our house into the most luscious flowerbeds I've had yet. That Iowa soil is truly amazing.

And then back to Tennessee. One of the things that I fell in love with when we saw this house where we live now was the flowerbeds. The former owners had some nice landscaping done, including two huge but practically empty flowerbeds. One had several gorgeous azaleas, and the other contained all kinds of lilies. I saw tremendous potential. In the nine years we've lived here, I've added a little every year. It's hard work, but I love it most days. My kids are fantastic sidekicks, and I hope I am giving the gift of flower gardening to them as my parents did for me.

So, I'm thinking of doing a Mr. Linky on my Monday Memories. Would any of my readers participate if I did so, or would I look like a big loser with one participant if I did this? Do you have memories that you might be inclined to share with more of a motivation?


  1. I love gardening (vegetable and flower). I am not great at it but I have tried my hand at it several years to varying degrees. My mom has fabulous flower gardens and she is the one I always get help from when it's time to plant each year. Speaking of which... she needs to come visit me soon, it's getting late!

  2. I would love to see Mr. Linky to motivate me to take a stroll down memory lane and blog...

  3. I have got to take you to my Mom's house to see her gardening. Of course, she has lived in the same house for about 50 years, which gives her a running start on the rest of us!

    Still, when can you go?


  4. Sounds like a good idea to me!

  5. I am aching to garden. I have been too busy with school to do anything else. Now, I have been able to work in my orchard. Like Sarah, I must have plants around me. The first thing I did BEFORE moving into my new house was to plant a backyard orchard, now known as Indian Cave Orchard. I have also gotten to work in my stoolbed some, which basically is a tree garden.

    Now, like Dr. H., I also work with plants for a living. One recent task is to set up a Community Gardening Web Site for the University of Tennessee. Well, actually, I am working on it. Once it is up it should have some helpful links. The interesting thing about this is that several days before my boss approached me about the need for such a site, I had been talking to my neighbors about starting a commmunity garden. Well, last weekend I had a fellow plow up a site in the middle neighbors backyard and so, I will get to experience this type of gardening. Of course, after a short vacation in May, I will finally get to till up my own garden and get my hands in the soil.

    Ah, Sarah also reminded me of the decrepit nature of my house landscaping when I moved in. We are continually working on that. What I am amazed at is how many times I make the mistake of planting plants that eventually are very invasive. Manhattan Euonymous and Bamboo Nandina both are notorious invaders, but I've made many other mistakes.

  6. I would have great intentions of participating. How's that for commitment? :) And honesty. :)

    I think sharing memories is a lovely idea. I have some long term ones that would be fun to write about, and on a good day, I might be able to wrangle a short term one with enough clarity to form a sentence or two!! Ha!

    My daughter goes to Johnson Bible College for Bible Bowl meets in the summer. What a great (and lovely) town! My family is from Iowa (quad cities area) and I'm green with envy at what they can grow in that soil.

    If you know of any plants that could thrive on the surface of the sun, please let me know. In my climate, that's about all that can survive. We have sandy soil, droughts in the summer, and extreme temperatures. Makes for lovely cactus gardening! Ick.

    I'm envious of people with pretty yards. I appreciate flowers so much but don't have the discipline to care for them properly. My few beds desperately need planted before it gets too hot here for things to take root, and every week I promise to carve out time to do it. So far, no luck. You've inspired me!

    Oh, and I hear you on the flower budget. I go to the nursery and am always surprised when I get home by how sparse my beds look after I've spent way too much money on what feels like lots of plants.

  7. Cute picture. I love gardening - theoretically. I mean, I like the work and I like the produce, but I don't get the produce. I don't have a green thumb. It's pathetic. I keep thinking that one day, when the kids aren't all so little, I'll become a good gardener. Or at least a decent one. At this point, I'm just thrilled to see that my wisteria has come back.


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