When I got married,
I had an image in my mind.
It was something like this:
waking up and walking outside,
strolling through gardens of beautifully scented blooming flowers,
picking a fresh bouquet,
and setting them on the table in a cheerful vase
to brighten our home.
The only problem was
the first house we bought had no flowers
or anything pretty.
It had one tree
and even that was full of carpenter ants.
I wanted to make our yard beautiful
if you've ever been to a nursery,
sticks with leaves growing out of them
We lived on a tight budget;
plants weren't anywhere in it.
Then one day
my sister came over and helped me build a flower bed
with some plants of hers;
she was moving out of state
and didn't want to leave her plant investment
at the house they had rented.
I was in love.
They were bleeding hearts.
When my father-in-law gave me some information
by Michael McGroarty
on "How to start your own backyard nursery,"
I was intrigued.
Thus began my adventure in learning
That was 12 years ago.
Today I have a small business of a roadside stand
and a two-day plant sale.
And it feeds my gardens as well.
I never dreamed I'd have a yard like we do...
with gardens that are fun to walk through;
and I enjoy seeing other people
as well as our own kids
enjoying them as much as I do.
Each garden bed I dig and surround with stone
"This is going to be my last,
Enough is enough."
but then I find solace in building
"just one more."
I love growing and selling plants.
It amazes me that a stick with stringy roots can be
pushed into the ground
and God sends incredible, colorful life out of it.
We keep our prices low at our plant sale.
There's a great feeling in seeing young couples shop
and then leave happy,
with flowers that will become
bouquets on their dinner table.
I know that feeling of hope and anticipation
and excitement over having a plant of one's own.
There are always older couples who come to our plant sale:
her looking and reading plant tags,
deep in thought;
him with an arm full of green pots of hope.
I enjoy watching them tease
and then discuss their own gardens with me.
I feel like a stranger who has momentarily been
allowed in as family.
As I was talking with a man about raspberries at our sale on the weekend before Mothers' Day,
I noticed a lady standing off a few feet,
staring at us.
I wondered if she was confused by what I was saying about the raspberries
or if she was afraid he was going to buy them all.
Why was she watching us so intently?
I looked her way
she asked me if I liked living here.
"I feel like I'm living in paradise.
I wake up and feel like I need to pinch myself
because I can't believe it's true."
I told her about how our first house was a cute house on a nice
piece of land,
but this was better than I could have even imagined would be true.
Her eyes sparkled
as if she could not contain herself any longer,
she told me that her grandparents used to own our home back in the fifties.
As she told me stories of a happy childhood visiting her grandmother here,
I offered to let her see the inside of the house,
and she excitedly answered,
"Oh, could I?"
As she and her sister (who had come with her to the plant sale) toured the rooms,
they took me with them to the memories they cherished in each of them...
the Christmas dinners,
the men snoozing while the women did the dishes,
the Christmas tree in the corner,
the chilly nights they spent upstairs
under stacks of blankets in bedrooms with no heat.
When they finished their tour and left the house,
the lady turned to me with tears in her eyes and thanked me.
She said it was the best Mother's Day gift she could have.
And then she said something that made my day bright;
"I wish Grandma was here to see what you've done to the yard.
She loved flower gardens and had them everywhere.
She'd be so pleased to know that you cared for flowers
as much as she did."
It put a smile in my heart to know that the beauty of flowers,
a priceless gift from God,
carries with them the sweet scent of today
that mingles with the warm embrace
of women who have passed on before
and given cherished memories in the love of simple things:..
a fresh bouquet of flowers.