Yesterday some plants arrived, including two new roses. One was David Austin’s “Tranquility”. The other rose transported me back in time and all of a sudden I was a little girl in my father’s garden. I planted a “John F. Kennedy” hybrid tea rose. This is one of the most beautiful white roses ever bred. Dark green semi-glossy leaves and big white blooms.
I started gardening early. As in early elementary school early. And when I was little we lived in a section of Philadelphia called Society Hill and my parents and all their friends had bought these old houses which often included gardens from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
My father created this beautiful walled garden out of nothing. He had to excavate by hand the old privy pits, and for years I had a box of old and mostly broken 18th century and early 19th century dishes because when they dug the privies in those days they used it for trash too.
I remember going for rides out to a plant nursery that was on South Gulph Road in King of Prussia, PA. I don’t remember the name of the nursery and became a townhouse development.
He chose a Japanese maple, rhododendrons, azaleas, and I forget what else. Lilies of the valley, I remember those.
One day my paternal grandfather showed up. He had an Italian plum tomato plant and my father had a rose bush and some herbs. I was little and this grandfather died in 1973 when I was nine, so I am guessing I was six or seven.
I still remember so clearly planting the rose, tomato plant, and my very first herb garden. Even after all of these years. I remember being shown how to pay the soil around the plants after putting them in the ground with my then tiny child hands. It’s such a happy memory and it’s one I will always carry with me and this is why I encourage people to garden with their children and grandchildren.
After I finish planning the John F. Kennedy rose yesterday, I stayed outside for a little bit because I was just a bit of a puddle. I’ve been a bit of a puddle in the garden lately because this week in particular and this year is a big milestone for me. It was this week 10 years ago, tomorrow to be precise, that I received my breast cancer diagnosis. If life has been different and taken a different turn I wouldn’t be here today creating this garden and writing on my gardening blog all about it.
Sorry gardeners for getting personal on you all, but this is what I mean about saying gardening is really good for you. Digging in the dirt is good for you. You can remember wonderful memories, and ponder life and the gifts we are given.
Garden to celebrate life and remember people. It’s great stress relief too.
Yesterday I also planted a pieris japonica and another camellia. Pieris japonica is another plant my father introduced me to in another of my growing up gardens.
And that is the thing if you are really lucky, your garden is not only your own creation, but it can give you parts of other gardens you have known in your life and gardens that inspired you. And all you have to do is start and try. Make your garden your own, not someone else’s.
The garden is continuing to march forward in her spring glory. I will also admit I planted two pots with basil in them. That is something that’s a little iffy if you do it before Mother’s Day around here, but the pots are ones I can move to protect them if we get one more frost.