Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why Do I Garden?

I have been mulling around this question, that was posed in blotanical.  I saw someone had posted about this, and saw that Stuart had posed the question, and you were supposed to limit it to a certain number of words.  I have avoided reading the posts until I could write mine, but then I think I read some in an effort to find the original question, but never did.  As it turns out, this is more of a history of me gardening, and I know it will go over the word limit.  

I was not able to find all the photos I wanted to scan, but at this point, I just wanted to get it written. When I was a girl, I liked flowers.  The first two photos were taken at my grandparents. They had a huge vegetable and flower garden.  When they were first married and my dad was little, they worked the beet fields as migrant workers.  

Here I am at 3 years old.

I remember my neighbors gardening when I was a girl.  My next door neighbor lady planted all kinds of things, but I was especially drawn to her raspberries.  She let us pick them from the alley.  I don't remember how old I was when I talked my dad into planting some raspberries, and I don't remember how long he let them grow before deciding they were too hard to mow around, and took them out.  I also remember planting iris and other flowers around our patio. I always planned to have a garden when I grew up and had my own space to do it.

The first apartment I lived in was a basement one with very low rent, and when I got married in 1972, we lived there a little while, then found a place where the landlords didn't live above us.  

The next picture is of the house we moved into that was 2 apartments.  Ours was on the first floor.  The landlord let us take out the stuff that was growing on the right side of the house to garden.  Right next to that was a large row of lilacs that belonged to the next door neighbors.  There was a little more area to the rear, too.  I know we have pics of this area planted, but I couldn't find them.  I had lots of house plants, here, including a gardenia that bloomed.  We had awesome windows for plants here.

This is the parking strip, where I put a few more things in.  I was mostly interested in herbs and vegetables, but also wanted flowers as more of a side interest.  My dream was to move to an acreage and live off the land.  This area is now paved for parking.  (Oh, and that's Rufus, our sheep dog.)

Now, this is out of order, because Rufus was a puppy here, and the bushes weren't taken out yet.  I don't remember what they were.  I was thinking it was just overgrown weeds, but that's not what it looks like here.  Larry was reminding me, though, that the landlord said he should be paying us for all the work we did in the yard, so I guess he wasn't fond of them, whatever they were!

After a few years, we moved to a place with a huge yard a block from Larry's parents, and had it all ready to garden the next year, but we ended up buying a house, so didn't get to enjoy that garden.  I didn't mind, because our first house was on three lots, and I had two huge vegetable gardens, plus, the previous owners had lots of flowers, such as iris and coral bells planted here and there.  There was a huge trumpet vine growing on a dog kennel, and several very nice trees.

I'm thinking this was taken in 1977, when I was pregnant with our son, our first child.

This must have been taken after he was born.  I remember the previous owners had purchased some worms, and they really liked my compost pile.

We moved from this house when our son was almost a year old.  I didn't find a decent picture of the gardens in our next house, either, but the gardens weren't as big.  After living there 18 years, we moved to the house Larry grew up in.

The next photo was taken by my neighbor after we'd lived here a few years.  It was before I joined Weight Watchers and lost weight, and before we put a raised bed in this herb area, and put a fence around it to keep our dog from jumping the fence into the neighbor's yard.

We've lived here 10 years, and, as I've said, I have talked him out of more and more grass over time.  I have had some pics of the whole yard exported to put in my sidebar, and hope to do that soon.

So, why do I garden?  I don't know, I just love it, and think God made me that way.


  1. Sue, this is what I am goimg to like about winter time posts! We get to know more about each other. I love the first picture of you with those TALL glads! And the story about the raspberries. All through, you get a feeling of your love for the outside and plants. I think you are right. Gid made you that way.

  2. I enjoyed your little history of the role gardening had in your life. It is certainly something that gets in your blood, isn't it? My mother, who passed away 2 years ago in Feb. loved her garden and would go out there and just forget the time. When dinner failed to appear on the table, we knew she was in the garden. Now it happens at my house. :-)
    The garden is a great blessing and enjoyment to me.

  3. That's a great passion for your free time, Sue. How lucky you are to have had a garden.

    (I've just changed of apartment twice!)

  4. What a wonderful history that you have documented. I loved it. Why do I garden.....why wouldn't I garden is all I can think of? There's something about nurturing...wether it be family or flowers.

  5. It was nice to see you at different times in your life and hear a little about how the garden has played a role at each point along the way. Like your raspberry story, too. Jan

  6. I love your story and your old pics--I think it's a great response to Stuart's prompt (it's like asking our dogs why they wag their tails--they just do and they always have!)

  7. Thanks for all the great comments. I love them!

    Beckie, I forgot to mention we grew raspberries at the place we lived for 18 years. We would get an occasional bowl, but usually, we'd just go out and pick a few and eat them right there, and the birds would help themselves to the rest. Thanks for the compliments.

    Connie, That's a funny story about your mother, and now you. I am guilty of the same thing. I tell myself, "Well part of the reason you're gardening is to put food on the table, so you better not be too busy to prepare what you're growing or buying from the Farmers' Market!" I don't always listen, though.

    Catherine, I'm glad you've been stopping by. It's fun for me to get to know someone from France. Yes, I am very fortunate to have this place to garden. I sometimes wish I had a larger yard, but I am realizing that in many places of the world, having a yard my size would be considered a luxury.

    Darla, I like your comment about nurturing family and flowers. I'm glad you liked my little history. One thing I realized I left out was the year my dad relented and let me have a flower garden for the garden club at school. I don't remember how well it did, but do remember my parents having to remind/nag me to take care of it. Also, we picked a bouquet that I was so very proud of, and when our former landlady came over for a visit, we had to put it in a different room because she was allergic to it.

    Jan, I think it would be cool for others to tell their histories with gardening, too. I'm thinking I should find a spot for some raspberries. I grew red ones before, I think. I wonder if squirrels eat them. We didn't have that problem where we lived before.

    Thanks, Cosmo, I am not remembering your name at the moment. I like what you said about dogs wagging their tails. I have been asking my parents since before I started blogging to see if they have any old photos of gardens, even if there are people in them, and they aren't of the garden. So far, they haven't found any.


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