One of the interesting things about gardening for me is how we learn.

For the most part the knowledge is handed down from one generation to another.

It’s informal.

Passed over garden fences.

Or we just watch.

Ask questions.

I learned about gardens from a series of wonderful women in my life.

It began as most things do….

With my mother.

Mom among her roses. Judging by the hair I'm thinking 60's - 70's?

Mother was not a detail person.

She painted with a broad brush…

I learned that lesson well.

She was fearless when it came to much of life.

She would try to grow anything and lots of it.

So though I cannot attribute exact knowledge to her, she is critical to how I garden.

That I garden.

She gave me gumption…for gardening….for life.


Her mother – Grandma also gardened.

Pat's photo of Grandma circa 1960's

I have very specific memories of a most fragrant rose-bush by her door.

Variety unknown.

I never plant a rose that isn’t loaded with fragrance.

There was also a Bridal Veil Spirea on the west side of her house that would bloom near Memorial Day each year. 

Grandma in front of her bank of Bridal Veil Spirea

And Irises.

But mostly there was the wash-house.

In the summers she gave it over to my sisters, our cousins and me for a play house.

So many memories of little girls making up stories.

Dressing up.

It is the inspiration for my own garden house.

My current “play house”.


If your lucky women who love gardens and nature keep coming into your life.

I was.

My mother-in-law, Geraldine had grown up in Arkansas during the Depression and knew how to grow everything.  



"Grammy" and Elliott



She was more attentive to details….small things.

From her I learned to look closely.

To take it in slowly.

She could propagate anything and everything.

Simply put it in a jar of water and roots would sprout.

Unfortunately, I didn’t ask her to teach me that before she died.

Wish I had been paying more attention.


Then when Elliott was about 3 we moved next door to a gracious woman named Geraldine. 

 Imagine 4 women…2 named Geraldine!

Geraldine circa 1980'2

Each spring I would drive her to the nursery.

I would watch how she shopped.

With perennials always buy 3….never 1.

Make sure you have lots of variety.

And New England Aster – the fall blooming ones that come on just before mums.

Those were a favorite of hers and now mine.

She was gracious to her fingertips answering endless questions and taking us into her heart.


All of these women are gone now.

But they live on in my garden and in me.

On this Memorial Day weekend I thank them.

I remember them.


So…what happened in my garden this week.

Mostly, it rained!


But here and there I snuck in a bit of gardening.

Cassidy and I planted Mammoth Sunflowers.



If they haven’t washed away they should sprout and grown to 7 or 8 feet tall.

They’ll be peaking their sunny faces over the fence later on in the summer.

More deadheading of the New Dawn roses along the fence.

I’m finally putting my basil babies in the ground since the nights are consistently over 50 degrees. 

This is much later than usual.

Since most shady perennials are finished blooming sometime in June I tuck impatiens in here and there in the shady areas of my garden.

Hostas and Impatiens for summer color.


This will give bright spots of color for the rest of the season.

I also plant any caladiums that I dug last fall.

They always seem to shrink over the winter so we’ll see how that goes.

But mostly this week I’ve enjoyed my garden.

The larkspur and poppies are blooming at random as is their self seeding nature.

The strawberries are coming on strong.

Time to bake tiny strawberries pies in my mother’s harvest pie pans.

 The neighbor’s mulberry tree is dropping mulberries into our yard which I love.

It’s a trip back to my childhood.

I know they are messy but there is nothing as wonderful as picking mulberries off the tree and eating them as fast as you can pick.

I introduced Cassidy to this tradition and she agrees.

Unfortunately, I also mentioned to her that Peg loves fresh snap peas.

She and John have fed Peg most of the crop so far.


So Mom, Grandma, Geraldine and Geraldine your love of gardens and gardening lives on in me and in the next generation with Elliott and Kristina.

We are passing it along to the neighbors…over the fence.








Filed under Basil, Gardening Mentors, Impatiens, roses, Strawberries, sugar snap peas

5 responses to “GARDEN MENTORS

  1. Torry

    I cannot express how meaningful this post is! I pray that the wisdom that I am taking in from such a wonderful woman will remain with me for a lifetime. I can already see how my girls eyes light up with the joys of the garden that you so graciously share with them. Thank you for your patience and caring ways! I will do my best to carry on and pass forward the knowledge you share with me 🙂

  2. This is a spectacular post. I love love love the pictures and the stories. Just wonderful from beginning to end.

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