All Things Gardening forum: Do you remember what first got you interested in gardening?

Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6
Views: 2228, Replies: 101 » Jump to the end
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 22, 2016 6:08 PM CST
I can vividly remember, as a 9 or 10-year old boy, finding a Tradescantia pallida growing in the woods behind my home. I recall it had beautiful purple blossoms. I ran home, got a shovel and bag and returned to the woods to dig it up and bring it home. I planted it at the back of the house. I nurtured that little guy all during my childhood and teen-age years. I was an adult before I ever became aware of what the plant was. It was still growing there, about three times the size it was originally, when my mother sold the house about 30 years later.

Living in a rural NW PA area, our family always had a large vegetable garden. It was during the depression days, and the garden provided nearly all the vegetables for our family of four.My father, mother, brother and I were all involved in planting and harvesting (fun) and weeding (not so much fun!) My father planted dwarf fruit trees that provided a small amount of fruit.

My mother liked houseplants and I remember African Violets, Ferns and Snake Plants and various kinds of philodendrun. Outside, we had lemon lillies, bearded iris, black-eyed susans, marigolds, rose and lilac bushes, nasturiums, and a multitude of other flowers.

I was always more interested in growing flowers than vegetables - especially as I grew up, married and had a family of my own. I soon learned that raising perennials was cheaper (in the long run) and less labor-intensive than buying and planting annuals each year. But since I liked a wide variety of annuals, we had lots of both.

Most of my gardening experience has been in NW PA - approx. 6 months winter and 6 months of growing season. The winter months were devoted to a wide variety of mostly jndoor foliage plants and poring over seed catalogs for spring.

Also lived in Conneticut for a couple of years (working at White Flower Farm.) Had a lot of fun with fall-planted, spring-blossoming bulbs of all kinds. While living in Charlotte, NC for 19 years, had the joy of a long growing season and raising plants that were not hardy up north. That was a lot of fun growing plants that I had only read about before.

Now at age 86 and back in my hometown in NW PA, my lack of energy and agility (but not my enthusiasm) has made my gardening efforts concentrated on patio container gardening. I still get a thrill out of seeing plants develop from seeds and propagating plants from cuttings.

What about the rest of the ATP members? What first interested you in gardening? And what particularly keeps you interested?

I bet there are a lot of interesting stories out there - I and I'm sure I am not the only one who would like to hear them.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Thomas75
Sep 23, 2016 2:21 PM CST
Hi Don, I was also about 9 years old and helping my daddy in his vegetable garden and asked him if I could have a garden. He promptly handed me a shovel and said he would be glad to help. Come to find out, his offer of help meant lots of advice Rolling on the floor laughing . That year I only had one row but got hooked very quickly and have had a garden almost every year since then and I am now 75. I still get more enjoyment each and every year. nodding
Thomas75
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 23, 2016 2:39 PM CST
Glad to hear from you, Thomas. Based upon just the two of us it appears that an interest in gardening starts early. Hope we hear from some others.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Image
Esperanza
Sep 23, 2016 3:55 PM CST
Thanks for starting this thread Don. I had a good chuckle thinking back to how I got started with my love for gardening. I saw a PBS show explaining how to do grafting. I was completely fascinated by it. I ran all over the woods attempting to graft junipers to oaks and all kinds of other nutty will never work stuff. I could hardly wait for my grandmother to give us her old magazines like southern living and better homes and gardens. After reading one of those one day about ponds, I decided to build one. I think I was around twelve years old. My parents had gone to town and I was going to surprise them. Well, they were surprised when they came home to a mud pit in the middle of the yard with some dead fish from the fish tank. I was so proud of myself. My dad pulled me outside by my ear to show me what I had done and to explain myself. Thankfully I have learned a few things since those days. Big Grin
Name: Ginny G
Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Miniature Gardening Region: Iowa Dog Lover Bulbs Hostas
Region: United States of America Echinacea Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Image
Legalily
Sep 23, 2016 5:16 PM CST
Thanks for starting this Don Hurray! Hurray! My love for gardening also started when I was quite young. I come from an Amish background, and I remember going to my Amish grandparents' farm with my mom and the other aunts and cousins when it was time to work in the large "truck gardens". I always liked to help a little before going off to play with the other cousins. They also had a large orchard and we would eat green apples and play in the trees (I remember the stomach aches too Whistling Whistling ). My mother always had a large vegetable garden and did a lot of canning and freezing. When I was younger I used to go in the garden and pick fresh peas, green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes and eat them raw right from the garden (still do!) - Mom even had a picture she took of me sitting there, quite muddy, eating my fresh veggies! My main love was actually playing in the dirt and having a few things of my own that I helped to plant. When I was younger I enjoyed helping to pick so I could eat some, and I always helped my mom can and run things through the food mill. My mom didn't grow many flowers, but my grandmother and aunts always had some flowers in and around the vegetable garden and I just loved to smell them and look at them. As I got married and had children, my husband planned and planted the garden, and I did the weeding, picking, and preserving of the veggies and fruits. The first house we rented had Jonquils and that's where I grew my first flowers and came to love flowers, bushes, and trees. I loved putting different colors and textures together and that is still my favorite love. I used to enjoy the canning and freezing when the girls were smaller, but it became a lot of tiring work when I was working full time and raising a family. The flowers though were relaxation and a way to escape an otherwise stressful day! Now I can spend hours out in the yard "playing in the dirt" and planning, planting, and enjoying my flowers. I really got interested in the daylilies several years ago when I went to a local daylily farm - love at first sight!!!!! I was on our local garden tour a couple of times with my previous house and now I've had a whole new pallet to start over! This website has really helped me with information and answers to questions regarding my love for flowers, bushes, trees, etc. And after reading posts on some of the forums, I'm actually going to start a SMALL veggie garden next summer with my daughter. As adults my daughters are also learning to love the flowers and now the veggies! Since my second husband has no interest in gardening of any kind, unless it involves large motorized equipment of course Whistling Whistling , I enjoy seeing how much of it I can do myself and have my own tools, small tiller, JD Gator, etc. At 64 it's getting a whole lot harder to move those rocks and I have to take a little longer breaks when it gets too hot outside! I am now trying to instill the love of gardening in my grandchildren Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 23, 2016 6:56 PM CST
Hello Ginny and Audrey - thanks for your stories. I really enjoy this gardening website - not only for the info and pictures but more importantly getting to communicate with fellow gardening enthusiasts. Most of my friends are in their late 70's or 80's and don't do much gardening any more - so am making new friends on ATP with similar interests. I'm interested in so many different plants that I find myself jumping around from one forum to another. Would like to start a collection of one type of plant - rather than my current habit of a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But can't seem to make up my mind on what plant. I change my mind on a daily basis. Since I just turned 86 a couple of months ago, time is running out and I had best make a decision shortly. Anyway, will be watching for you two and Thomas on this and other forums. Will be nice to keep in touch.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Image
gardenglassgems
Sep 23, 2016 7:56 PM CST
Thanks Don for starting this great tread. I am in Iowa and when I was young my parents had a large garden. I can remember helping my mom and dad snap green beans and take the peas out of the pods. I started my own first garden when I got married and have been growing vegetables ever since. I am getting more into flowers now but will always grow peas, green beans, tomatoes, peppers and so on. This year for the first time I planted eggplant and it did great. I do some canning and some freezing. I gave away a lot of my vegetables this year to the older people who belong to the Eagle's Club where we are members. By the way. I am 65 and can't do things as easily as I once could. I love being outside in my yard, garden, and flower beds.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Ginny G
Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Miniature Gardening Region: Iowa Dog Lover Bulbs Hostas
Region: United States of America Echinacea Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Image
Legalily
Sep 23, 2016 8:05 PM CST
Don my dad was from an Amish settlement in Meyersdale PA and I still have relatives there. I think as long as you enjoy your flowers you can plant whatever brings you joy nodding nodding nodding
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 23, 2016 8:39 PM CST
Glad to hear from you, Jeanne. I see that you and Ginny are both from Iowa. Closest I have ever been to Iowa was when I was in navy boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois (boy that was a long time ago.)

My mother did a lot of canning too and later converted to freezing when home freezers became common. Cucumbers were always a favorite vegetable crop for making pickles. I remember one year my Dad make sauercraut from our home-grown cabbage. It was really tasty when cooked, but smelled terrible while curing (or whatever you call it.) One of my favorites was drying parsley. Tomatoes and green peppers have always been on our "must grow list" to this day.

This year one of the members sent me some ornamental pepper seeds and another one sent me a variety of morning glory seeds - just an example of how friendly everyone is on this website.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 23, 2016 8:45 PM CST
Hi, Ginny - me again. Offhand I don't know where Meyersdale is - will have to look it up. I live in Meadville - about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh and 35 miles south of Erie. We have several Amish and Menonite communities nearby - French Town and Atlantic - to name just a couple of them. As soon as I sign off, I will look up to see what part of PA Meyersdale is located.
Be watching for you on the various forums.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
conniepr27
Sep 25, 2016 7:18 AM CST
My story is different from the rest of yours. I'm 56 and only started seriously gardening in 2008 when we moved into our current house. Previous to that, I had a mild interest in plants in general, but definitely didn't see myself as a gardener.

What changed? Well, we spent most of our adult life on Vancouver Island where it is lush, green, beautiful all four seasons, and people generally have beautiful landscaped yards. We moved too much, on average once a year, and I knew nothing of plants and yard work, so generally we just mowed the lawns. Very little else.

Then we moved to Alberta as my Mom had moved here and she became sick and needed help. Alberta is flat, the winters are LONG!! and the spring is all brown, everything is dead, and flat! (did I mention flat? No rounded, mounded landscaping). Uhggg. I suddenly realised I missed the beauty and lushness and the tailored gardens of Vancouver Island!

So, new home, previous owners were elderly and had neglected the gardens for many years, but they originally had quite a bit of perennials in numerous areas in the yard. I started by watching what came up in the spring and researching online to see what they were and what they needed. First 2-3 years, I just maintained. Then, I saw someone's yard that was beautifully done and said to myself, "I want that!". More research looking for perennials that would survive the cold winters here (sometimes touching as cold as -40C). My budget for the yards was $500 a year, including for about 10 flower pots for the decks. I learned how to improve the soil, how to plant for longer season interest, using texture and different heights, as well as color. I added plants, reconfigured, expanded flowerbeds, completely revamped some, learning as I go.

This summer was the first time I felt I had achieved something really special. I am more than pleased with the results and my husband has been very encouraging and shows a lot of appreciation! It's been fun learning and doing, and it gets me out of the house away from my books and TV, so it's a healthy change too.

This summer, Fine Gardening chose my latest garden project to show on their Garden of the Day blogs! That was the highlight of my year! I hope this link works:

http://www.finegardening.com/profound-blooms-alberta?tid=99
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 25, 2016 7:35 AM CST
Connie - what an inspiring story! And the link - wow! Your gardens are so beutiful and an inspiration to all of us. Obviously the gardens took a lot of hard work. Thanks for sharing.. This is the kind of response I was hoping for when I posted the thread. I figured there might be a big difference among us fellow gardeners (how we got started in gardening) - but more importantly I believe we have so much in common - regardless of one's liking for a particular plant or plants or indoor vs outdoor gardening. Hope your story inspires others to share with us. Thanks again. Also looking forward to seeing your postings again - perhaps high-lighting different sections of your gardens.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Sep 25, 2016 7:41 AM CST
The link works!

Your gardens are wonderful. I love the curved beds and the plants you've chosen. What an honor to be chosen as a featured garden by Fine Gardening.

Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Thomas75
Sep 25, 2016 8:27 AM CST
Hi @conniepr27, absolutely beautiful Thumbs up
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
Image
Barbalee
Sep 25, 2016 8:31 AM CST
What a great thread and a great link, too!

All of us have different gardening stories, and I can add another. I grew up in Ohio, and as a girl, my mother had a fabulous iris bed that I loved. She also had lots of indoor plants that she grew at our picture window. I hated those as she never closed the drapes behind them and I felt like I lived in a fish bowl. My dad and mom had an argument over the iris bed, and he mowed it down! Now I know (thanks to NGA) that it might have come back with TLC, but Mom gave up on it. Years later, when I was in college (and Dad was dead), Mom took me to a daylily nursery. Love at first sight! She started growing those and developed a fabulous garden. But I was living in dorms and various apartments and couldn't do that. Then, after I was married and raising kids, I had a lovely home in New Mexico and started a small garden. Hubby hated that and mowed it down. End of gardening until after I was divorced. Then I bought my own house and started a lovely (if small) daylily bed, ordering plants from the Ohio nursery I had visited years before (which is now gone as far as I know). Interestingly, that garden was run by Amish folks. But as life moved on, I did, too. I started working at a school in Oklahoma, and I moved most of my daylilies to the school and gave away a few. Then I started working overseas, and of course, no garden when one is living in the middle east! Now, as a retired lady, I've bought a small home in Texas. Finally! I've started gardening again in my small yard. There's zero shade, so I'm doing daylily and iris beds. One year into this addiction, I've got about 400 cultivars to care for and am getting great and wonderful help from all of you at NGA. Like it or not, you all are my social life, and gardening keeps me busy and moving.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Sep 25, 2016 8:42 AM CST
I thought this would be an easy question. Until I tried answering it. I grew up among plants, but finding a specific "first cause" is trickier than I thought.

Unlike some people who say they recall being toddlers, or even babies, my earliest recollections are from about 3 years old and those mostly involve learning to tie my shoes and such. My earliest plant memories involve grapevines where I got stung by wasps. Not a good start!

But I recall my paternal Grampa's garden at about 6. He had more space planted in beans then I have lawn. And that was just the start. There was corn, there was tomatoes, there was strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, melons, etc, etc, etc. And he was organic back in the 50s.

And then there was Dad, who thought he knew better. He covered the garden of kale and potatoes with 30-30-30 stuff. The kale tasted like tin cans and the potatoes were always damaged digging them up in the clay soil. And he sprayed the apple tree so often the apples tasted like tin cans too.

I liked Grampa's garden a WHOLE lot better than Dad's. So I became organic. Anywhere! I swear, I grew more "edible" veggies on a west-facing apartment balcony in ten 5 gallon pots than Dad ever did in his drenched clay soil garden of 500 sq ft!

The amazement of fresh-tasting tomatoes, cucumbers, and red bell peppers and pole beans has addicted me ever since then!
Name: Don
Meadville, PA - Crawford Co. - (Zone 5a)
Love of gardening grows on you!
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
DonfromPA
Sep 25, 2016 9:26 AM CST
Good to hear from you, Yardenman - see that you just joined. When you get a chance, please update your "profile" so that we can see where you're from and a little more about your interests. I learned a lot about vegetable gardening from my Dad (I don't believe he ever used any chemicals) - but not completely sure about that. Anyway, our veggies always tasted good. Dad wasn't much into flowers at all - guess I got that from my Mom.

Msg to all who have responded so far: glad to hear that we're hearing from all over - Iowa, Texas, Canada. Incidentially one of my son-in-laws is also Canadian - Saskatewan (spelling)- who now lives in North Carolina. None of my three children have inherrited a love of gardening from me. My wife has a passing interest in gardening, but her ideas conflict with those of mine. Her ideas tend toward "prim and proper" - I'm more inclined to be more adventuresome. Unlike my wife, I like to try something new every year. This year I'm growing ornamental peppers and a different kind of morning glory - seeds generously provided to me from other members.

Similar to some of you, none of my friends are really "into gardening" - so this website is my opportunity to share our common interests.
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies - Gertrude Jekyll
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
Image
Barbalee
Sep 25, 2016 9:27 AM CST
Welcome! Yardenman! Hooray for Grampa and your balcony!
Name: Ginny G
Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Miniature Gardening Region: Iowa Dog Lover Bulbs Hostas
Region: United States of America Echinacea Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Image
Legalily
Sep 25, 2016 9:29 AM CST
[quote="conniepr27"]My story is different from the rest of yours. I'm 56 and only started seriously gardening in 2008 when we moved into our current house. Previous to that, I had a mild interest in plants in general, but definitely didn't see myself as a gardener.

What changed? Well, we spent most of our adult life on Vancouver Island where it is lush, green, beautiful all four seasons, and people generally have beautiful landscaped yards. We moved too much, on average once a year, and I knew nothing of plants and yard work, so generally we just mowed the lawns. Very little else.

Then we moved to Alberta as my Mom had moved here and she became sick and needed help. Alberta is flat, the winters are LONG!! and the spring is all brown, everything is dead, and flat! (did I mention flat? No rounded, mounded landscaping). Uhggg. I suddenly realised I missed the beauty and lushness and the tailored gardens of Vancouver Island!

So, new home, previous owners were elderly and had neglected the gardens for many years, but they originally had quite a bit of perennials in numerous areas in the yard. I started by watching what came up in the spring and researching online to see what they were and what they needed. First 2-3 years, I just maintained. Then, I saw someone's yard that was beautifully done and said to myself, "I want that!". More research looking for perennials that would survive the cold winters here (sometimes touching as cold as -40C). My budget for the yards was $500 a year, including for about 10 flower pots for the decks. I learned how to improve the soil, how to plant for longer season interest, using texture and different heights, as well as color. I added plants, reconfigured, expanded flowerbeds, completely revamped some, learning as I go.

This summer was the first time I felt I had achieved something really special. I am more than pleased with the results and my husband has been very encouraging and shows a lot of appreciation! It's been fun learning and doing, and it gets me out of the house away from my books and TV, so it's a healthy change too.

This summer, Fine Gardening chose my latest garden project to show on their Garden of the Day blogs! That was the highlight of my year! I hope this link works:

]http://www.finegardening.com/profound-blooms-alberta?tid=99[...

Love your story and the Fine Gardening blog! Beautiful! And this also my favorite gardening magazine Hurray! Hurray! I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
conniepr27
Sep 25, 2016 11:43 AM CST
Thanks, everyone! And, yes, I love this site as well, and especially as some of you, I don't have anyone here to talk to. I start talking plants here and peoples' eyes glaze over. So, I turn to the gardening blogs for sharing my highs and lows. This site is the best! Very active and lots of talk about just about anything you can imagine gardening. I did show before and after pictures of my main back yard flowerbed overhaul of 2015 on one of the threads here, I think it was one called "what did you do today" but I'm not sure. And I've posted lots of pics on the heuchera threads, and the shade gardening threads, and the northern gardening threads. Those are my favorites.

Welcome to Yardenman. I hope you come to enjoy this site as much as I do.

Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« All Things Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"