THE GARDEN CONNECTION

While I was on vacation visiting family, my mother led me on a walk each morning through her neighborhood.

One of my interests was to find home gardening ideas, so she pointed out what was new in each yard as we passed.

“She planted those Crepe Myrtles last year, and they have really grown.”

“She has Knock-Out Roses along both sides of her house. I know you can buy them with pink or yellow flowers. I’m not sure if they come in white.”

“She has English Boxwoods. Those are my favorite. I have some of those that we transferred from your grandmother’s yard.”

As we walked, I admired the familiar dogwoods and magnolias, monkey grass and azaleas, camellias and Gerber daisies that we passed with our steady stride.

My yard at home is a gardener’s nightmare. We live in a newer neighborhood, and I’ve asked several landscapers to give me estimates for improvements. They tell me that the builders planted trees and shrubs too close to the house, and fixing the yard’s appearance will take a lot of money.

Considering the professionals’ advice and the price of the work, I decided to turn my outside space into a do-it-yourself project, or what one landscaper described as the “nickel-and-dime” design method.

Last year, I replaced all of the overgrown bushes in the front of our home. I’m trying to remove unwanted vegetation by myself in the flowerbeds on the sides and back of our house now. I’ve got more weeds than grass, with lots of bald spots in the backyard where the kids play baseball. The pine and cherry trees that were planted in the wrong spots are too large to move. They’ll have to stay for now.

I was hoping to get some great ideas sponging off my mother’s knowledge during our morning walks and to find something to plant that would connect my yard with hers. It’s going to take a lot of work and time to make my landscape as beautiful as what she has created.

She has a pomegranate tree and a gardenia bush that would look beautiful in my yard. But neither would survive the harsh winters in my state.

As we sat down at the picnic table in her backyard, I realized we have one thing in common. We each planted a vegetable garden. Tomatoes, beans, squash and peppers grow just as well in her soil as mine.

So as I put a plate of fresh cut garden tomatoes on my supper table each night this summer, I know she is serving the same dish at her house.

And that’s a garden connection I can enjoy.

–c

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