I didn't always love to garden. I remember quite actively hating to pull weeds when I was about 8. It was a hot, clear day in mid-summer and I had been assigned the job of pulling the 'weeds' - actually seedlings - that were growing under the Nanking Cherry hedge that bordered the large property our home was on. To be honest I was bored; it was mid-summer and the blush had worn off the school holiday. But weeding?! that was boring and unpleasant. Under that thick and long hedge was a mini-forest of seedlings stretching forever! And in that thick and long hedge lived an army of spiders and daddy long legs. shudder.... But it was my assignment and I knew that no matter the complaining I would have to do it. (Don't misunderstand - I complained! but to no effect.) So I muttered and grumbled and climbed under the hedge and pulled most of the weeds. And thought I was done. Ha! Not hardly. Not only was I not done I received a very comprehensive lecture on excellence and achievement no matter the task. I spent a good deal more time under the hedge and finished with not a single seedling left to grow there. It wasn't fun but it was an accomplishment.
I remember my grandmother's garden. Her pride in the flowers she grew despite the fierce winds of southern Alberta. Her large vegetable garden. I remember shelling the peas from that garden and tossing the pods over the fence to the waiting horses.
I remember my father and his love for growing things. He loved roses and they loved him back. People would slow as they drove by our home to admire the roses he tended. He loved trees and fruiting shrubs. He tended a thriving (and huge) vegetable garden.
I have learned a lot about nurturing green, growing things since I pulled the seedlings under that hedge. Much of it from books. Some from more experienced gardeners than myself. All of it I wish I had learned from my father and grandmother. I didn't catch the gardening bug until they were no longer here for me to go to with my questions. I think of them often as I work in my garden and feel connected.
This year we planted our vegetable garden with help - Deacon and Aubrie set the seeds and worked alongside their parents and David and I. Now that the garden is bearing and ready to harvest, they are helping again. It is so much fun to see their enthusiasm and hear the excitement in their voices as we pick beans and peas, dig carrots, and pull beets. They have been enthusiastic workers in my garden, helping with whatever I am doing when they are here. I like to think that perhaps they are learning to love some of what I love. That I am passing that link to them.