As the weather begins warming, trees start budding and early bloomers begin emerging from the earth, my thoughts naturally turn to gardening once again. Although here in Northern California’s mild climate, year-round gardening is possible, inevitably each fall I give up the ghost. By late August, the most vigorous crops -- tomatoes and peppers -- have slowed production, started looking haggard and bedraggled, and are seemingly as exhausted as I am. So I put the garden to bed and head back indoors to endure the less physically demanding seasons of fall and winter.
Then each spring, like most gardeners who live in less temperate climates, my thoughts turn longingly and eagerly to getting back into the garden and looking forward to the bounty and satisfaction of growing my own produce.
Today I started surfing the blogs again and naturally started with Angela’s “Garden Bliss” where I not only enjoyed her garden rants and musings but followed several links to some other great gardening blogs.
I came across this post of a granddaughter remembering her grandmother on the day that would have been the elder woman’s 76th birthday. The grandmother it seems had a major influence on the writer’s interest in, and love of gardening. It was a touching post that inspired reader’s to comment on their own remembrances. So here I am heading back Through the Garden Gate and it feels great.
While many people stereotypically associate gardening with women, usually older women, In my family it was notable that the men were gardeners. My earliest gardening remembrances are of my grandfather among his tomato plants searching for the perfect specimen and then later standing at the kitchen sink with a saltshaker enjoying a huge, utterly ripe, beefsteak tomato while catching the juicy drips falling from his chin. To this day, without a doubt, that right there -- that to me is the taste of summer.
When I think about what specifically draws me to the garden, it is the tranquility one finds there and the silent appreciation of reveling in the literal fruit of your labors. When I am tending the garden, tension recedes, stress floats away. I am perfectly alone with my thoughts and a deep sense of nurturance acquired by the satisfaction and pride in myself that I have created something so wonderful.
The garden is where I retreat to after a long day at work, a long day of tending to my children’s needs. While I’ve heard it said that sharing this joy with my offspring is supposed to be a spiritual feeling, and could be a breeding ground of significant, lasting memories, I cannot help not feeling guilty when I shoo them back in the house to leave me be among the greenery. The garden is my Calgon.
Perhaps that peaceful calm is what my grandfather sought as well, all those years ago.
Where do you find inspiration to begin gardening anew each spring and who originally inspired your interest in getting your hands dirty?
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