Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dirty Tales from the Garden V

Those Stinkin' Weeds

I really should not complain. As much as my garden was overgrown when we bought the house, it was nothing compared to what my mother had to contend with when carving out a garden for the house my family built.

She started with this:

And after a few years (and a lot of rocks hauled up out of the creek bed by Dad) she had this (and ME - as I was born after the house was built):

Mom's gardens continued to grow and thrive, and were often photographed by passersby on our rural road. Since our road really did not lead much of anywhere, I suspect many of them made the drive up the hill just for the garden view. Gee - we should have charged admission!

Unfortunately, as the gardens thrived, so did the weeds. And even more unfortunately, Mom thought that weeding the garden was a good chore for her kids.

Oh how I HATED weeding. We did not have mulch - not that I recall anyway - and despite Mom's best efforts at enhancing and amending the soil of all the gardens, it remained not far off of what Alfred, NY was best known for - CLAY.

I really did not think I would ever become a gardener, or have house plants for that matter. Every spider plant we ever attempted to grow in my bedroom in Alfred died - and spider plants are not easy to kill! And though I loved the flowers in the flower beds, and the fresh peas and other goodies from the vegetable garden, the work and the weeds and the creepy crawlies (earwigs especially) made being in the garden less than my favorite activity. I would have much rather been in the creek (different creepy crawlies - those were OK), or with my nose in a book.

But I guess the lessons learned digging in the dirt paid off over time - my collection of houseplants is ever growing (a few have not survived, but I have come a long way since my spider plant killing days), I have had vegetable gardens at most places I have lived (except when I was in Japan), and my flower beds rival Mom's in dimension - although not yet in variety. I am even happy to say I have a few plants that I think were originally in Alfred, transplanted to SC, and now are back in my garden. (I told you I was sentimental about plants... go figure).

I miss the rocks, though. I used to love skippering down the front sidewalk in the summer rain, finding all the flat stones that had captured enough rain to be a little puddle, but a warm one as the stone gave its heat over to the rain.

Last summer my brother and his family came up for a visit, and spent a day back in Alfred digging in the creek. They brought me back a few rocks for my garden (no creepy crawlies, though) - I need to move them to where I can see them in the rain. And then, when the ground is a bit softened from the rain, I want to go out and weed.

1 comment:

Higgins Design Studio said...

I look at the photos and remember some of how it looked in the beginning, but I was fairly young then (you were not yet born). I do remember how beautiful it was and that people would stop and marvel at it or take photos.
I also remember when I developed a relatively short-lived fear of anything that buzzed that it was hard for me to walk down the sidewalk because those busy bees were always buzzing away at the vast array of flowering plants. Luckily that fear has subsided.
I too remember the warm puddles after a summer rain, I used to like to walk in them barefoot, but then again, we all spent a lot of time barefoot when we could.
Love you!