Gardens are enchanting places of quiet solitude and provide some of the best physical and mental therapy going. I have a garden of my own, which on our second year in this house, is beginning to look like a real garden. It has yet to reach the status of my neighbors’ who is an elderly gentleman with 25 + years invested in his.
I saw him out and about the other day and couldn’t help snapping a photo as he seems to be the epitome of the “gardener”. Looking at this photo conjured up images, feelings and smells of all the gardens I have experienced in my life.
My grandmother and mother instilled, if not a love for gardening, at least a reverent respect in my sisters and me with my youngest sister definitely inheriting the gene. My first memories are of the big, backyard garden at my grandparent’s house, where we lived for about 6 years during my formative years. My grandmother had an amazing green thumb which produced the neighborhood’s most enviable garden and yard each season. At the time, I took it for granted that you planted something and it just grew. Now, as an adult, I realize the hours of effort and devotion required to produce a garden of such standards.
Each year, I watched as my grandmother and mother planted rows of seeds that miraculously grew into a swath of vibrant greenery and produce. They planted, watered and weeded until, in the fall the fragrant, earthy harvest began. Sometimes we were allowed to sit with them on chairs in the back yard shelling peas or de-stringing beans. Thinking back on it now I realize it is these small, routine tasks of life that can connect us from generation to generation; these “things” that never change. My great, great grandmother, I am sure, planted, harvested and prepared her vegetables in much the same way as we did and future generations will.
There is a nostalgia associated with gardening, for me. When I am out there preparing the soil, planting the seeds, weeding and watering, it is a time similar to meditation and I come back from it feeling renewed and rejuvenated and having had a visit with my grandmother who has been gone for 10 years.