My gardening experiences stretch back over several generations. The gardens of my youth were primarily tended my father, mother and her mother, my grandmother. I have vague memories spending hours in the back yard watching them and helping in my own way, tend to tomatoes, peonies, lilies, flags and more.
One vivid memory is of the snapdragons that grew in the crack along the driveway whiel another, is of the hollyhock, which inhabited the space between the houses and which came back many years later after the house next door had been torn down.
In later years as I entered, what is now known as the pre-teen years, I remember tomato sandwiches from fresh picked beefsteak tomatoes with lettuce provided by a neighbour. This was a late summer treat.
When I moved away from home in the late 1960s I wandered far from the garden physically, but now and then when I visited my parents, especially during the gardening season and sat in the backyard or lent a hand deadheading or harvesting, I was reconnected with the wonder and mystery that is a garden.
The magic that is alive on a mid-summer’s day when all is movement, light and sound stayed in the back of my consciousness until the mid-1980s, when I began to care for plants first hand, once again. True, they were houseplants, but a plant is a plant and while the process may be different a plant’s needs are the same no matter where it is growing.
When we moved to Thunder Bay, not only did I have a balcony garden and a garden plot in the backyard, but the furnished apartment came with a spider plant and a dracaena. These two plants soon had companions and at one point I had to remove a chair from the living room to make room for the collection. My wife is very understanding and a plant appreciator.
The gardening experience grew as I became part of a community garden project in Thunder Bay, going on to become the garden co-coordinator. Community gardens are a positive experience and do so much more than grow flowers, herbs and vegetables.
I also gave workshops tot he gardeners and otehrs on organic gardening and was a speaker at a number of community events.
When we moved from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Saint John NB, I was a member of a community garden, a large, well-organized and friendly palce. I made the arrangements via email before leaving Thunder Bay.
This year I have the opportunity to transform a double lot which is the backyard of the house we are currently renting into a food forest. Last summer I had a small raised bed garden on the property, but there is room for so much more. This is an exciting and enticing project. There are no community gardens here and I am talking with people about starting one.
My gardening experiences over the years have taught me much, mistakes yes I have made them and will continue to do so., for how else do we learn if not by doing and often we do not get it right the first time but need to keep on keeping on.
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