But you know, I don’t think I could give her an answer that really deep down tells why I love gardening. Yes, I love color. Yes, I love planning things. Yes, I love life, beauty, texture, etc. And I love soil. But it is endless work, and I constantly give myself more. Why?
I don’t know. But I think deep down it’s a childhood image. My father’s parents had such a wonderful little plot. I thought of it as a small farm, but I was very small. In reality, it was only half an acre. But I thought it was a mile when I was little and would race across their back yard with my cousins at some party, or swing on the swing in the apple tree, up over the back fence "til I could see so wide," just as in Robert Louis Stephenson’s poem. I had so many happy times there. Poppop had the most wonderful vegetable garden, and he had an old greenhouse to explore, and a woodshop, and a spot where they used to keep ducks and geese when my father was young. Poppop had a woodshop, too, with a faded picture of St. Joseph sawing on a board, and young Jesus looking up at him with love. My husband the cabinetmaker now has that picture in his shop. It’s so faded you can hardly see the picture any more, but there it is. And Poppop had climbing roses and fabulous flowering trees. His grounds were to me a wonderland, a place where fairies hid in the shadows under his ornamentals, and in the great stone jars on the stone wall along his shaded stone patio. Oh, how I loved those times! And while Poppop was the king of the outdoors, Grandmom ruled inside – with unconditional love and a never-ending smile, where there was a pantry with every shape of pasta in varying shaped glass jars, and I could make a seascape picture out of noodles, and Grandmom would hang it on the wall, and there it would stay, for 25 years, and my children would see it and remember it, until both my beloved grandparents were gone and the wall full of cards and pictures from their grandchildren was finally taken down.
It was a magic place, full of love.
I think I love gardening because of my grandparents. And that’s the heart of it.