Sunday, June 17, 2007

Where I Learned to Garden

pink & white peonies

Going to my parent’s house this time of year always means getting a tour of the garden. They’ve lived in their house for twenty years, so the gardens are well developed. This photo of their peonies is from a couple years ago. They have several rose bushes that always delight me, including one beautiful red tea rose by the front door. When they first toured this house thinking about moving here it was December and that rose was still blooming. I think they chose the house because of the loveliness of that rose.

Both of my parents love to garden. They have parceled things out so each of them has their area of specialty. My dad loves to cultivate little nooks with delightful plants that offer particular blooms in season, like Lenten rose, foam flower and foxgloves. Yesterday he was showing me that his poppies are coming into bloom next to the brilliant yellow primroses in the corner near the deck. For Father’s Day we gave him a begonia plant with bright red double flowers. I have a dad who loves flowers. He has taught us to nurture them patiently and gently.

My mom takes care of the gardens in the front of the house that are open to welcome the world. She always has daffodils, pansies, marigolds, daisies and petunias. When they go away for a week’s vacation I often go over and water the window boxes for her. They also always have a vegetable garden full of lettuce, rhubarb, tomatoes, peas, and squash. One whole corner in the back of their yard is dedicate to raspberries that come ripe twice a summer. Yesterday when we were over there to eat supper on the deck my boys kept running over to check the raspberry bushes for the first early ripe ones. They love discovering a bright red berry and popping it right into their mouths; sweet and tart on the tongue.

Whenever I have a garden question I know I can call them up and if they don’t know the answer they have the right book to look it up. These three important things I’ve learned from them over the years:
  1. Take the long view. Work the soil and develop the plan and do a little each day. It might take years to see results but it is worth the time and effort.
  2. Mulch. Always mulch to keep down weeds, retain moisture and feed the soil. It’s the most important thing you can do for your garden.
  3. Meet their needs and they will produce. Every plant has its favorite spot in the sun or shade. It one doesn’t look happy and isn’t thriving dig it up and move it somewhere else. Research what that particular plant needs and find its best location.
I have found that these principles work for raising children as well. (In the case of number 2 I would say for children the mulch is literature, especially the Bible.) What principles have you learned about gardening that apply to the rest of your life?

Please join my Sunday Garden Stroll by adding your link to recent garden related posts below. Feel free to link back here and refer other blogging gardeners. Be sure to stop by later to visit the other gardens in the tour!


Mom Unplugged said...

I like your analogy between gardening and children. Very true! It sounds like your parents' garden is really lovely and they have good advice. You should post some more photos sometime.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. At your request, I am linking to my Poetry in the Garden post. I added Now We Are Six to my list. Don't know how I managed to forget that one!

Enjoy your day!

Mom Unplugged said...

Sorry-I really messed up in Mr. Linky! Just shows what happens when one hurries too much! The correct one is number three (first one links to my blog instead of my post, second one is my old name!). Please delete the first two!

Kohana said...

I've left a link to my garden pics. Those are from a week or two ago. Now everything is wilted and hanging, after yet another week of no rain. The sprinkler can only do so much!

Jessica said...

My garden posts are a bit farther down on my blog, but i promise to update very soon. I need to post some pics of the veggies in the pots. I planted a coral peony this year, but it came up in a wimpy manner, and no blooms. Oh well, maybe next year! What a beautiful pic of peonies!

:: Suzanne :: said...

I have a wonderful post but my pics won't load - Will Mr. Linky be aroudn tomorrow?

Phantom Scribbler said...

Sure, link away!

Lovely photo.

cloudscome said...

Thanks to all of you for sharing your garden stories and photos. I'll leave Mr. Linky open all week so more can join in.

Lilian said...

Oh, reading this post made me want to visit your parents' garden!! I love gardening, but I know so little and can't yet afford to buy the books I need. I think I "inherited" a gift for gardening from my paternal granddparents, I feel sad that my grandpa passed away when I was only 8, but I still remember his gardens and him tending his flowers.

Beautiful post!

I'm catching up on these because I didn't realize until this week that you were posting about gardening and other things here. I kept checking the other blog, but not this one as much. I wish you'd kept the links to this post up, but I guess the way it works is that the links are there just for that week, right? Lovely logo that you created, I'll probably link to you sometime when I write about my humble little garden!

cloudscome said...

Lilian I think the links stay up forever. At least that is how I understand it to work. I want you to come visit my parent's garden some time and pick raspberries. What are you doing this week?