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Team First Generation or Second-Generation Gardener?

By Trish
August 14, 2011

I've been thinking a lot about the word "heritage" lately. This week's Team Article explores if part of your heritage is a gardening one.

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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
Aug 15, 2011 4:12 PM CST
We have a five-generation photo of the women on my mother's side and all of us are wearing something with a flower print, even my newborn. Every parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, great grandparent and further back, all directions, is/was a gardener in my family. The only weird thing is, only one set of grandparents had a farm. They sold it in the 1960s when they were in their sixties, and they moved to town after that. Everyone had vegetable and flower gardens and extensive collections of houseplants. My earliest memories are of going to visit family and spending the first 2 hours there checking out their gardens before we ever stepped foot in the house. I remember my great-grandparents starting cuttings or pegging branches so everyone could have starts of plants. When my grandfather was old and feeble, he took handfuls of flower seeds and threw them in his yard and they grew and bloomed so beautifully. He never had to mow! Any time I traveled anywhere, my grandmother would tell me "if you see anything unusual that I don't have, bring me back a start" and maybe that's where I get the obsessive plant collector mentality. My grandmothers and great grandmas didn't drive, and when we took them places, they always wanted to find a new town to see what kind of nurseries they might have. You know, just in case they had a cool plant. (that's my grandmas--happy to own 1 pair of shoes, 2 dresses, 50 kinds of begonias) They always had geraniums, violets, and begonias in the windows, and so do I. My dad's family were always city people so they grew their vegetables on some river bottom land away from town. Yards were for flowers. My dad decided to grow more in our yard but since space was more limited, he had to train the cucumbers to grow up into the apple trees, and mix peppers in with flowers. I remember the swingset having pole beans growing on it! For mom's family, every old pot and pan, teapot, shoe and tire became a planter. Their hanging baskets were old teapots on the clothesline poles. I often wonder what their gardens would have looked like if they had had internet in their day. I know they did plenty of plant swapping and mail ordering. My last grandmother died about 10 years ago, and she was so amazed at all the plants I could get from ordering online. Sometimes I rationalize a plant purchase by thinking, 'Grandma would have liked this one'. Or I'll buy 2 of something and give one to my parents, because they'll grow it so much better than I will.
My oldest daughter is renting her first house and when she texted a photo of the rose by the door and asked for I.D., I almost cried with happiness. The youngest daughter grows orchids in her dorm window, which amazes me. Still crossing my fingers on the others. It's been an unbroken chain this far!
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
Aug 15, 2011 4:20 PM CST Admin

Cindi- that brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for sharing!!
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.

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