I don’t mind admitting that summertime is when books and papers and magazines and seed catalogs tend to pile up around the house.
It starts at Eastertime when I clean the house before hosting the World’s Greatest Family Easter Egg Hunt in my garden. I gather up books and magazines and anything else and throw them in the den or stack them neatly somewhere else in the house.
All through spring and summer, I add to the piles with more books, more magazines, more catalogs. There is no end to them, is there?
Today I decided to excavate a few of the piles and underneath some magazines, I found an old photo album. It was small, the kind with sleeves sized to hold two pictures per page. I must have found it when I was going through my mom’s papers and set it aside. Then I buried it under more paper. Sound familiar?
I casually flipped through the album and found four pictures that took me back to an old garden I once knew, my dad’s garden.
There’s a picture (above) taken from the patio looking out to his vegetable garden. Those tall plants are his tomato plants. See, they did grow to be at least eight feet tall. And the containers are full of geraniums. He always planted out geraniums in the summertime. I would guess this picture is from the early 1980’s.
Out in the yard, nestled in an area between three trees, he once had “us kids” dig a big hole for a fish pond. Then one of the trees died and the pond ended up in a sunnier location than he had planned.
Oh, well, that’s how it goes with gardens. Shady one day, sunny the next day. Or sunny one year and shady the next year.
He loved that pond and enjoyed sitting out beside it on summer evenings. “Us kids” liked it, too, and would fight over who got to lay in the favorite lounge chair.
We could spend hours out there by Dad’s pond. Reading, sleeping, talking or just staring at the sky, doing nothing. We weren’t distracted by smartphones, computers, or iPads. We didn’t even own a VCR. Somedays we sat there because we were bored, which was good for us. It allowed us time to think deep kid thoughts, and dream and scheme a bit, too.
The pond is gone now. We filled it in back in 1987 after Dad passed away. In its place my mom had “us kids”, mostly my brother-in-law, build a gazebo. The gazebo is still there but those two remaining trees are long gone now, too.
The two little Alberta spruces, in the lower left corner of the last picture, are also still there, though they are much bigger now. The funny thing is, Dad planted them in their black plastic pots because he wasn’t sure where he wanted to put them. He planned to pull them up some day and plant them properly someplace else. Sadly, he passed away before he got around to doing that.
Now the pond is gone, the furniture is gone, the trees are gone, Mom and Dad are gone, but the memory of that old garden lives on forever.
Cindy, MCOK says
What a lovely tribute to your dad, Carol! That pond area looks like somewhere we'd all enjoy sitting.
He was quite the gardener! He would have loved your garden, too, especially the way you grow your tomatoes.
Sweet memories of a special old garden. Now we know from whom you inherited the gardening gene!
Lisa at Greenbow says
What a beautiful garden and what beautiful memories.
Beautiful. I often think of my parents' garden. My mother, the flower gardener. My dad always grew the vegetables. when my mom passed away, my dad did it all. He did such a good job with it all. Now,they are both gone. I have returned to see what the garden looks like, but there is a fence around the backyard and the area where my dad's vegetable garden is just overgrown trees and grass. It makes me sad.
Carol – what a moving post. A tribute to your father, but also to family and what a garden can mean to a family. Wonderful memories.
I'd love to visit my old garden in Michigan but all I can do is drive slowly past on the occasional visit back. I keep hoping I'll spot my old next door neighbor outside, so I can snoop from her vantage point. It hasn't worked so far.
What a nice post about your dad´s garden, Carol! Must have been nice to find these old pictures, remembering old times.