Friday, May 20, 2011

A Garden Tour from Half a Century Ago.

 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 bushes
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
aren't cheap.

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
and loving

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
I say 
"This is going to be my last,
no more.
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 chatter
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 responded,
"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;
she said,
"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.

Linked to: 
Fishtailcottage: Cottage-flora-Thursdays 

Somewhat Simple


  1. What a beautiful post....your garden is just beautiful...all those separate beds to wander around and for the children to get lost in and make up great games in.....and like you I also let the daughter of the man who built our home in for a look a few years ago. I loved hearing what her mother had on the mantlepiece and what each room had been used for....very special, we are only the third family to live here....I like that too....I am inspired, I am going to go and look at my neglected flower beds....

  2. It really is a dream come true isn't it? It would be so fun to have a roadside plant sale. We used to bring eggs in town every Saturday and sell them out of the back of the van. The girls really learned a lot selling to customers. That was so nice of you to let that lady look through your home. She will cherish the memory and experience.

  3. How happy that woman must have been to see and meet you! I'll bet she loved what you've done to the house as well as the garden.

    It's magical.


  4. When my garden gets older, I want it to have offsprings like you. Beautiful garden! Thank you for sharing God's bounty.


  5. I know it's been said in former comments, but your gardens are absolutely beautiful! We don't have much space, so I don't really plant much that doesn't make us something to eat, but hopefully one day we'll have more space!

  6. oh my... your property and gardens are amazing! i keep going back and looking... and looking... it is just like out of a dream... : )

  7. SOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!! It brought tears to my eyes when I read about the lady & her sister. Your stories are always so touching, Tonya. Keep up the beautiful writings & pictures. :)

  8. Your yard is gorgeous. That takes a lot of work to get one that nice. I see you have a large pond, too like we do. Thanks for coming by.

  9. What a perfect story! I LOVE it! I had an old woman come to the door here years ago, saying she lived here as a sweet. Your gardens are absolutely lovely - I so hear you on the 'one more'. Gardens are my one weakness. : -) I haven't had my sale yet, and I fear things are getting too big to dig up and divide - boo - and there is so much to divide - perhaps in the fall? I do know I want to start an annual nice visiting here!

  10. It is so nice to see God blessing you with your desires! You are such a good steward of what the Lord has blessed you with. Lovely Pictures!!!!

  11. Wonderful post and beautiful photos.

  12. What a sweet post. Your garden is truly amazing. I'm a new follower.

  13. What a sweet story!! I love your home and your garden....what a magical place!
    I really like the water feature!

  14. I really enjoyed the gardens and your story. That was amazing for them and you as well. I will be back because I LOVE what you have created.

  15. What a lovely post. I always dream about returning to the house I grew up in. Sometimes I bought the house and live there and others I ask the new owners if I can look inside. Your garden is so gorgeous and peaceful. I do some gardening and wish I had the stamina to do more.

  16. Your gardens are spectacular, but this kindness you share, even more.

  17. So beautiful. Kind of you to share the premises with the previous occupants. And, indeed a great gift you gave them. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

  18. just used your photo in an invite to invite more gardeners to Cottage Flora Thursday's - hope that was okay?!? if not, let me know & i'll remove it. xoxo, tracie

  19. Your yard is so beautiful that it gives me goosebumps. I can feel the love you've put into those plants. I love the little pond and everything looks so lush and vivid. Thanks for sharing your gift!

  20. I am so glad I stopped by to visit your garden. Thank you for taking large pictures to show your whole gardens and not just flower petals. I am in need of inspiration for putting in new flower gardens in our vast baseball field size back yard. Your story is just beautiful. I remember going to my great grandmother's home and she just loved to garden, so did my mother and her mother. It does not seem so much like labor but enjoyment to pull a weed, move a plant. I wish I lived closer to see your garden in person. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  21. I loved your post. Such beautiful photos and wonderful story. I am going back to visit our old home this year as it turned 100. I hope the new owners are as nice as you.

  22. I loved reading your story and touring your lovely yard and gardens. It appears that not only have your plants blossomed over the years, but your love of them has, as well.

    Thanks for linking to the party. I would love to have you join me each week. Come back by later tonight and see yourself featured! ;)

    By the way, I just joined you as a follower.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage


I love your comments!