Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gardening Genes

I love to be in the garden.  I don’t love the heat, the bugs, the dirt…the occasional snake…no sir, but, I love the garden.  The yard and gardens of a house are as much a part of it to me as the roof.  It has been this way my entire life and I have come to the conclusion it is genetic.  Although I don’t come from parents that ever cared one bit about gardening or yard work (I grew up in a household that pretty much considered mowing the grass to be the extent of gardening to be done.) I did grow up with gardening in my blood.

My Maternal Grandmother was my queen bee of gardening, both vegetable and flower.  She worked in her yard until the very last day of her life…literally.  She just couldn’t abide by a spot that didn’t have something planted in it.  Her yard was full of blooming bushes, bulbs, perennials and a very liberal dose of pass along plants.  After you got through the yard you would find her always overflowing vegetable garden.  She would plant row after row of tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash, okra, corn and the occasional watermelon…. every year.  Though she was a widow my entire life (I was in my 40s when she died) she planted a garden big enough to feed a small army and what she didn’t eat or give away she canned…every year.  The funny thing about her garden was that she always planted a copious amount of green beans but she didn’t even like green beans.  That remains one of life’s great mysteries. 
Not only did she like to tend her own yard and garden but she always liked to help out others in the gardening way… even if by force.  She wasn’t content to let ground sit idly by without something blooming out of that soil.  As my parents lived next door to her, they often became the unwilling targets of her need to spread seed.   My Grandmother was as determined to pretty up our yard as my parents were determined to ignore it.  So on any given day you might look out and there would be my Grandmother planting something my parent’s yard, much to their annoyance.  It is funny how small things that appear to be an act of generosity can get under the saddle of someone else!
Fortunately, I was often the recipient of her gardening spirit and generosity and most houses that my husband and I have owned have been left a legacy of pass along plants from my Ma Jones when the time for us to leave came.  One day, recently, my husband and I were at a dinner party and along with several other guests, were wandering through the lovely gardens of the host and the topic of plants came up.  Right off the tip of my tongue I was able to identify and share information about many of the plantings, which led someone to ask me how I knew so much about plants. The question surprised me for a minute and I realized the only explanation was my Ma Jones... So, if by gift or force, her gardening genes are still alive  and I hope and pray that somewhere deep down those genes were passed along to my children.

7 comments:

Sues said...

So precious! I have ZERO gardening passion (except for tomato pots) much to my mom's dismay... :-P

Amanda Neighbors said...

Cute post. This reminded me of the comment from Ouiser from Steel Magnolias about Southern women wearing funny hats and growing vegetables in the dirt. Grandmothers certainly have a special place in our hearts. I miss mine dearly.

Amanda Neighbors said...

Cute post. This reminded me of the comment from Ouiser from Steel Magnolias about Southern women wearing funny hats and growing vegetables in the dirt. Grandmothers certainly have a special place in our hearts. I miss mine dearly.

Nancy said...

Are you my long lost sister? LOL. My Grandmother was the same way. And my Mother got zero of that gardening gene. I'm quite sure my Grandmother always wondered if she really birthed that girl. :) We didn't live next door to her but she would sometimes deposit plants in our yard.

Roz said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for stopping by so I could find you (now your newest follower!). I live in the Greenwood/Abbeville County area, not too far from Florence! I totally understand what you mean about gardening, genetics, and how it is part of your home and life. I love gardening and simply could not be happy without it! Keep playing in the dirt my friend and enjoy the bounty and the beauty! Roz

Rebecca said...

So funny, Michelle, its the same with me too. My maternal grandmother was the gardener, roses everywhere! But my mom, not so much. But I love it, and I think I get my gardening genes from both grandmothers and maybe a bit from my daddy. The picture of your peony (is that what it is?) is gorgeous!

Ruth said...

I grew up in the same type of household. One of my grandmother's is a wiz at gardening. I so didn't inherit her green thumb and I have tried since buying my own house.