When I was 8 my dad's black VW Beetle bit the dust. He managed to get it to the back of the garage, where it sat dormant for several years. We would play in it now and then, breathing in the smell of leather seats and Bain de Soleil (a scent I wish I could bottle til this day). When we finally said our good-byes to Dad's car, a perfect rectangular patch was left behind. Dad overturned the dead grass with a pitchfork, turned in some peat and compost, and raked it smooth.
And that's how my first garden was born!
photo credit; http://www.americandreamcars.com/1970vwbug021008.htm
Our neighbor Aurore gave me wild violets which spread across the patch with love. I planted day-glo pink petunias, knee-high coleus and yellow marigolds. I tended my flower patch with a watchful eye and a motherly touch, nurturing my surrogate baby dolls. I came in from playing with sticky, blossom-stained fingers instead of grass-stained knees. I plucked little jars full of bright blossoms for the dinner table, so proud of my accomplishments.
|My Garden circa 1975ish|
|The infamous garage|
Fast forward 40 years....
Not much has changed. I am much older, and perhaps a bit wiser. I have a husband, two children, a dog, a house, and yes, of course, a garden
(or 2 or 3).
As a teacher, I have always found a way to fit gardening into the curriculum. Planting seeds each spring brings a sense of joy to my students that rebounds right to this gardener's heart. I teach in the suburbs, not the city...so why, I often wonder, do I need to guide those little fingers? Why have so many 12 year olds never pushed their finger into soil and dropped in a seed? What seems second nature to me, is a moment of newness, of curiosity, of learning and accomplishment.
"So simple" I think as I watch with a smile.
As a mom, I don't think I ever thought about "teaching" my own kids about gardening. I just gardened. Planting, tending, weeding and harvesting became natural parts of who our children are, of who we are as a family: seedling lined counters and a garlic filled porch, buckets of fresh lavender filling the entire house with its sweet aroma, piles of pumpkins, all shapes and sizes, a painter's palette of zinnias, an adventure around every corner.
So...if you've ever wanted to plant a garden, or a patch, or even a pot, DO IT!! It will bring you joy, accomplishment, and knowledge. It will paint color wheels and landscapes upon your heart, it will sustain your soul.
|Pumpkins and Tomatoes|
|Connecticut Field Pumpkin|