Thursday, February 12, 2015

MY VIEW #3: GARDENING

Gardening

Letty, on a walk in 1942, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

Gardeners are born, not made, some are "early bloomers" and some are 'late bloomers," and some never achieve the goal or rewards at all.

I have a photo of myself and my Father, who is planting a young tree, and I am a keen watcher, at about 3 years old. I believe I was an "early bloomer." Both of our parents loved gardening, but not my sister Mary. I imagine she never pulled a weed in her life. She was always playing the piano. It just wasn't her "cup-of-tea," and my two brothers the same. Charlie retired early, then he took to gardening. He was a "late bloomer."

We moved to an old house, with a big untidy back yard. What a mess, full of grass, weeds and Scotch thistles. So before you do anything you have to decide what to do. All you need are tools, gloves, boots, brute strength and ambition. The latter is the most important. You look and think, "Whoa, why did I take this on?"

The pull of the earth is strong and instinct makes us want to dig and plant, to nourish body and soul. So we "plough on," so to speak. If you had a huge lot you hired a ploughman and horse. So we had to use "shanks mare" on our lot.

Earth itself is different from one region to another. Our earth was formerly river bottom and hence good growing soil. Everything grew like mad. But that came later. Hard work ruled the day.

Dad and I did most of the weed pulling, I pulled and Dad dug. It's hard work, and there revealed some strange little "gifts"- a part ball of string, King of Hearts card, a baby's old rattle, a dime, and an old bottle of scent. We rooted out rubbish, dug, raked and raked again. We were so proud to see smooth dark earth, ready to plant seeds. Dad made a 2 fr wide wooden path down the middle of this yard, and we danced up and down it and were happy.

Decisions, decisions, where to put 2 crab apple trees, 12 raspberry canes, 1 flower bed, and veggies. This my Dad decided and we got busy. In one week this was finished, and that year our garden exceeded our expectations. Every seed and thing we planed did its thing, whoopee! My Dad had a deft had at anything.

F. L. Evans
May 8, 2006

Sadly, the photo Letty mentions has disappeared, so instead I substituted one of my favorites of her in 1942. She was really a beauty at the time. As I read this entry, I wonder if she was also thinking of the garden she and my father made in our yard in Bowness. It was river bottom with rich soil, and the description of the process, Dad digging and her pulling weeds, was identical to how my parents created a garden when I was small.