To help celebrate National Garden Month 2006, we've invited our visitors to share their garden tales with us. We hope you'll find inspiration in their stories and appreciate the pride of your fellow gardeners.
Gardening took a little smidgeon of my childhood life while growing up in Wisconsin. Growing up with an extremely large coal pile next to our backyard, I remember my bachelor buttons (planted from seed) being the highlight of our side of the fence.
As I grew through adolescence and my college years, the emphasis of my life was on a future career in music education. My life evolved with my husband and two sons and with all the domesticity of American motherhood. To round things off, I tried growing a vegetable garden in a small patch of mucky clay along side a strawberry pyramid. Little did I know of the expertise I was missing out on by having a county extension rose gardener as my backyard neighbor. The only thing I can remember growing were stunted carrots and one very dirty little boy who found out how great black dirt was.
After moving to the countryside, I desperately tried for 20 years to grow grass and flowers that required much more sun than I could provide in the middle of three acres of trees. The beauty and naturalness of the country were lovely for raising boys, but I was ecstatic when we chose to move into the "big city" on an absolutely treeless lot. Of course our new backyard lake offered an extra special appeal.
Having to make all the construction and decorating decisions that come with building a new home was too overwhelming for me to even consider what the landscaping could possibly look like. Our yard was barren of anything but grass from June through October. Over one weekend in October my husband left on a business trip to Japan, and I seized the opportunity to start slicing away at all that grass. I vowed to do things correctly the first time around so spent two of those days cutting and hauling away many rolls of sod. The third day was filled with the thrill of planting. My first order arrived and 160 bareroot plants and bulbs were ready to meet their new home. What I did not count on was the unexpected snow flurries that came during the fourth (and last vacation) day. I panicked and stayed outside until well after dark with a flashlight getting the last root and tuber firmly packed into the dirt. Then all I could do was pray that all would be well and I would be rewarded the following spring.
Those little sprigs of plants turned out to be very hardy. A lot has grown into my yard throughout the years: a butterfly garden; a rose bed; grasses along the shoreline to help deter the geese; daffodils and daylilies sharing their respective time of the growing season; some outstanding lilies; and of course, many sun-loving plants. My husband also chose to break ground for our backyard koi/goldfish pond the weekend before our son's wedding with the heat index of 105 degrees.
In addition to flowers and plants, we have also grown three life-enhancing granddaughters and two granddogs. The little girls love to pick different bouquets of flowers for their mommy with each new visit and search for all the hidden garden sculptures and trinkets.
Life is ever changing and probably, too, will my gardens. Last year I had the pleasurable experience of being on the annual garden tour (the gratification is invigorating). This year I am looking forward to the new opportunity of becoming our garden club president (challenging but I'm sure just as rewarding). As I sit at my window during our March end of winter and look out at the gardens, I'm sure some new ideas will come to mind.