Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I saw in the Herald a week or so ago that they were having a garden make-over contest. I had to write a 500 word essay on why I should qualify for a garden make-over by the master gardeners. This is what I submitted. I was waiting in the car in front of the house yesterday when the master gardeners came by in a car to take a look. They didn't get out of their car, but I could see my essay in the hands of one lady. They sat in front for about five minutes, then pulled into the driveways on either side of our house to take a look at the other perspectives. I haven't heard anything and I'm trying not to be disappointed.

We bought our little house on North 4th Street about six months before the tornado so we didn’t have much time to think about a garden that first fall. The summer after the tornado, though, we started giving serious thought to where to plant a big, wild, flower garden. We decided to dig up half the front yard and we filled the garden spot with a couple small trees and coneflowers, daisies, false sunflowers,  poppies, and other sun loving plants.
Many of the plants in our garden have history. The moonflower on the corner was chosen because my grandma loved them, the poppies came from my Aunt Vi in Houston, the sunflowers and fern-leaf peony from my parent’s farm, the daylilies were chosen by our grand-daughter, Ella. When she was a little girl just learning to talk, Ella loved to name the garden art animals poked in among the plants: frog, rabbit, turtle, chicken. The first year the fern-leaf peony bloomed after many years of waiting, she came to my lawn chair with the one lone bloom clutched in her hand and said, “Nana, isn’t this pretty?” I wasn’t upset at all but caught my breath as I realized she had come to love the flowers as much as I did. So many connections from generation to generation are in my garden.
We’ve never regretted our decision to put the garden in the front yard as it’s become more than our garden, it’s a neighborhood garden. We sit on our patio and visit with the walkers and joggers and bikers who happen by on a regular basis. Many of them we know now by name and many of them comment on the garden, sometimes on specific plants they notice are blooming or just on the complete picture. They have called it serene, peaceful, and a happy place. They tell us they enjoy it as they pass on their walks.
For all its joys, our garden could use improvement. We’ve struggled with the transition from sun to shade plants, there are spots that have gotten overgrown and spots that are too bare. I’d like to have a place to sit in the garden or some paths so people could walk through it as well as past it. There are many things I love about our garden but this last one, the way it brings family and neighbors and friends together, is my favorite. I know the work of the hands of Master Gardeners would be enjoyed by many people.


Joanne said...

Well, you get my vote. Unfortunately I am the opposite of a Master gardener. I am a random planter- no plan at all ever. But, if I was a Master gardener, you would get my vote because you are a good writer, and that is something I do know something about.

Jill said...

I hope your essay will be published whether you win or not. It's lovely. A friend who is a master gardener told me about the contest a while back, and I would have thought she was giving me a hint, but she's never seen our back yard except in winter. I thought and thought about writing an essay, but didn't get to it. I would LOVE to have that group get their brains focused on my backyard mess.

Joanne, I love your comment!

Let us all know if you have the honor bestowed upon you!