4/14/10

Who taught me to garden?

When I was a child, I gardened with my Grandparents and my Parents. As I walk through my flowerbed, I'm reminded of them both. They taught me to garden in different ways and to grow different things. One taught me to respect the land and one taught me to change it to fit my purpose.

I'm reminiscing, so this must be Way Back Wednesday.

Papaw was a gardener. His father was not. My Great-grandfather, who people called Pop, was a hunter and a fisherman. He wanted to be out and about and left my Great-grandmother to work the land and raise the children, all 10 of them (which proves he did not hunt and fish all the time). My Great-grandmother told me stories about taking those children to the fields and putting them on a quilt under a tree with the oldes, my Papaw, in charge while she plowed all day behind a pair of mules for 50 cents a day. In a long skirt and work boots. (I try to tell myself that story every time I think my cushy desk job is just a little more work than I want to do for money.)

As he got older and gave up the big garden, he still grew tomatoes and a few other vegetables in their yard. But, my Grandmother, Nanny, who I've talked about on Wednesday before, was mostly in charge if their yard. Her yard was laid out very old fashioned, like I see in my gardening books from the 40's. The front yard had beautiful camelias that bloomed at Christmas time and Hydrangeas and Baby's Breath and Roses. The shrubs were huge and planted all around the base of the old wood frame house. In the backyard, she grew blackberries and figs and plums for canning.

This sign came from their yard. It was given to my Papaw by one of my Aunts and when he passed, she didn't want it back. The post was rotted and my Dad mounted it to a new post and my parents gave it to me to remind me of all the good times gardening with Papaw.



Now, my Mama was the big time yard gardener. She grew flowers and I will never forget taking huge white azaleas with their stems wrapped in damp paper towels and aluminum foil to my elementary school teachers from the bed in front of the kitchen window. Nor will I forget the yellow daylilies that grew all along our side of the neighbor's chain link fence or the pink azaleas and red tip photenias at the first house I remember living in. At the second house, she learned to design flowerbeds without the help of a professional landscaper and I remember beautiful flowers growing there too. But, as much as that, I remember the year she had me dig her a rosebed in the middle of the back yard and all the days of trimming and digging and cutting things back that my Daddy and I did to make way for those beds. Of course, I was too young to see all this yardwork for what I was learning from it. It was a chore. And, like all teenagers, I rebelled against chores. But without meaning to, I was learning to appreciate the beauty and that it was the result of hard work. The result of those lessons can be seen in the following pictures. At one point, Mama was growing show flowerbeds that were beautiful and she specialized in daylilies. Many of the ones in my yard were from her sticking a shovel in her yard and handing me a rootball. (these pictures are all from the bed that Sydney complained was too green and had no color. Ha!)









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I've been thinking a lot about Way Back Wednesdays. I know I've said that they were just to give me a theme to blog about one day a week, but really, they're more than that. They're a way to show my Parents that I remember the good times and not just the bad. Like the year we dug that looooonnng row of yellow daylilies up and divided them. And laughing hysterically when she'd see a snake and run screaming across the yard...which I later adopted as my own reaction to finding a snake in the yard. Now, I get so busy with cooking and cleaning and yard work and quilting and homework that I needed a day just to think back to when I was a kid and someone else was doing all those "responsibility" things for me and I want my Mama and Daddy to know that I remember. And, with stories this good, it just wouldn't be right not to share them with the world. Can I get an Amen?
Take care and have a great Wednesday. I hope I took you back to some happy, summery, flowery memory of your own childhood.
Lane

9 comments:

lw said...

Amen!

Sequana said...

Amen! Brother Lane.

Coloradolady said...

Amen!

Cynthia L. said...

Amen!! Lane, you tell such wonderful stories. Your garden is beautiful. I wish I had known my grandparents and great-grandparents they way you did. I love Wednesdays because of your stories!

Becky said...

Another great Way Back Wednesday! Thanks for sharing all these special thoughts.

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

Lane,

I cannot tell you how much I wait for and enjoy your Way Back Wednesday posts. You make these memories come alive for all of us. I love the way you weave your stories.

I'll be watching again for next weeks adventure!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories! It got me to thinking too. My parents and grandparents were not gardeners, but when I was young we moved into a house that had flower beds from a previous owner. The only thing that grew there were tulips and roses. I remember one summer clearing a spot of weeds so I could grow a garden, but lack of money and gardening know-how killed that project. Still, I've always loved plants and I think that is when my roots were planted as a gardner. I didn't become an 'official' gardener until my husband and I bought a house nine years ago. This will be my 10th summer gardening and I think I'm just getting the hang of it. I absolutely love that sign you have in your garden. That is one of my favorite poems about gardening. Thanks again for sharing.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

nice memories

CC said...

You get a big Amen from me Lane..All the things my parents instilled in me...the lessons they taught,and the sweet,loving memories I have.
Amen and Amen...