It was in the 60's that my love of gardening started. We lived next door to a couple and their grown daughter who worked in the yard all the time. I pretty much was just taking care of my family and working at the hospital. I really had no time for gardening, but I would watch my neighbors planning and laying out their garden each spring. Meticulous care was given each plant. Mr. H. had very tender hands, when it came to plants. Once he got his garden in, he would stand there leaning on a rake taking it all in. Mrs. H. was more interested in the birds and creatures who would visit her yard. She would put scraps out for the birds and chippies to eat. She hung pineapple rings and oranges on the trees. I didn't know a whole lot about birds, but I think that they might have had orioles visiting their yard. They were always amending the soil and working their homemade compost into the rows of the veggie garden. I watched them, over the fence, and now I wish that we had talked more about gardening. I would have learned so much. Something inside me was stirring at that time. A fascination with all that they did. We were friendly enough, but we usually talked about my kids and what they were doing.
When my father in law died, my MIL wanted to move out of the house and rented it to us, with the understanding that we would take care of everything that a house entailed...including the pretty yard. She had a little garden by the back of the house...a Japanese garden. White crushed stones and Japanese figurines with potted plants. It was very pretty and my daughter has Grandma's little Buddha in her yard and I have the little boy statue from the fountain in mine. The backyard had bridal wreath and honeysuckle all across the back and clematis vines on the stockade fence. Hibiscus, wisteria, iris and so many others lined the fence. My MIL had the greenest of thumbs and her petunias were a riot of color each year. We lived there for several years and I did my job and learned while doing this. Could this have been her plan for me?Did she want me to get more interested in her love of gardening? I'll never know, but the seed was growing inside my head.
Years later, we bought a home, and she sold the house. When we moved to Hampshire, I really got the gardening fever. A good friend invited me to join the Garden Club and the rest is history. I knew very few people in that town, but by joining a club, I made countless friends. My garden was my passion now. Every spare moment was spent working in the gardens. Friendships with neighbors started by talking about my garden. People walking by or even driving by....stopped to comment on my huge tomato plants. Pass a long plants started to fill the borders. I had so many friends and gardening buddies.
The last few years find me in Byron. I moved here after Joe and I were married. I didn't know a soul in this town. If you have little kids, you make friends easily, but getting involved in school and meeting their friend's parents...but here I was without any little kids. Our neighborhood was full of younger couples...leading busy lives. Their garden work involves mowing and getting it all done on weekends. Where was that person who tended her garden during the week? How would I fill my days? If I'm very truthful, I was lonely and missed my active life a few years back. We were at Church on Sat. night and went out the back entrance. There on the bulletin board, was a sheet of paper. I saw the word GARDEN and it caught my eye. They needed people to tend Mary's Garden for a week or two during the summer. Without any thought, I signed up. It was the answer to my prayers. I have met some lovely women from our Church this way. Master gardeners and newbies as well. I learn from the master gardeners and teach the newbies. Our gardens are beautiful this year and keep us busy. I have just enough to do right now, and I have several new friends. Just enough for me to have a happy life. If you are ever lonely, my suggestion would be, to get involved in a church or garden club or another civic committee. You'll reap the rewards of learning from new friends. Get involved! It's never too late.