gardens of one’s childhood always remain in memory as happy places. They
are not perfectly manicured trophy gardens of exotic flowers nor architectural
masterpieces. The gardens of one’s childhood are fleeting images of sunny
times with loving parents or grandparents or neighbors.
Memories return of mothers picking, arranging
or enjoying the beauty of flowers. These memories are often closely intertwined
with our current love of gardening.
The gardens of my childhood had woods with violets
for picking and bringing home.Sometimes there were vegetables, particularly
huge, seedy cucumbers which were scorned, and preserved tomatoes that exploded
in the cellar artistically spattering the ceiling with red.
In the rose bed, the gardener unknowingly weeded
out my marigolds seedlings when I was six years old. The most vigorous
rose, a climbing red one, came from a cutting given by a neighbor who always
had a box of chocolates handy for visiting children.
There were old purple-pink irises that faithfully
flowered each year, clones of which still do in my garden. The aguga and
lily-of-the-valley pips I took to my house have become broad swaths of
bloom that slowly move each year towards the southern sun.
The gardens of childhood live on in the plants
I brought when I was landscaping my own house, many from cousins and friends
as well. They are old varieties, valued for longevity and resilience, and
while not as fancy as newer hybrids, they return faithfully each year.
When each of my children started their own homes,
I gave them some of my favorite plants. Gifted plants are the best kind,
not only because of their vigor, but because they come with memories.
The garden I make today will become the garden
of my grandchildren’s childhood. When they visit and pick the lily-of-the-valley,
or climb the trees, or harvest a vegetable, they will remember. The garden
of their childhood will be that special place where someone loved them