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.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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!