Garden Genes from Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I miss you already and many memories of you make me smile. Some of my favorites are memories of your garden and our garden chats! I remember when I was little; I just couldn’t stay away from your currant bushes that grew along the driveway edges. I‘d get a small Dixie cup from the bathroom and fill it with currants. You then would scold me for eating them and say that you were trying to get enough of those sweet little things to make jelly and I was stealing your stash. The garden in back of your house was huge and it seemed like you and grandpa could grow anything. When it was meal time there was always something picked fresh out of the garden. Once when grandpa wanted a snack he went out to the garden and picked beautiful leaves of romaine lettuce, brought them in the house, gave them a quick rinse, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and ate them. I was sitting at your table thinking how fascinating it was to see a snack from the garden like that.

Everything germinated by your green thumb. During my last visit, you told me to check on your tiny lemon trees, and wanted to make sure they were ok. You told me you had simply thrown seeds from a lemon in the houseplant soil and sure enough… they grew. Grandma, you could grow anything from seed. I used to think it was magic and it must be why I still have a sense of wonder every time seedlings pop out of the ground.

I love lavender and I am sure it comes from the lingering fragrance of dried lavender flower sachets tucked in your linens. You always said it was one of your favorite flowers, I am thinking it must be genetic! Speaking of genetics, my mom never had a garden when I was growing up and she could care less about growing one, so the passion for gardening skipped a generation and landed in mine. I think you always got a twinkle in your eye knowing that.

You consistently asked about your garden and would say, “I bet my Susie would know what that is.” A few weeks ago during my visit, you asked me to report back to you on how your yard looked. I picked every blooming daffodil in sight to bring to you in the hospital; I thought you needed them more than the garden did. You also insisted that I meet one of the nurses who brought you flowers because that nurse needed to know her granddaughter who loves to garden. It feels like we are in a secret society; those who love the garden no matter what we grow or the geography between. We will always have something in common.

It reminded me of a few summers ago when I told you how beautiful the dahlia fields looked as I passed them driving to your home in Canby. Remember how you told me you missed them? I loaded you up in the car and we went for a drive to see a dahlia farm. The fields of color were so breathtaking but you were frustrated because you didn’t feel well enough to get out of the car for a closer look. We drove all around it so you could feel like you had walked through it. You were worried we would get in trouble for driving on the farm roads and I told her if someone asked, then I’d just tell them my grandma wanted to see the flowers. How could they get mad about that?

Maybe this is another genetic thing, but we always had tea. On our last visit you impatiently mashed the call button for the nurse and when she came in, you told her she needed to bring her granddaughter a hot…very hot, cup of tea… please. I was a bit embarrassed, as I am sure the nurses have much to do, but I did get my tea and we enjoyed a cup of tea together…for one last time.

Thank you for the love of the garden and the keen madness of it all; from the love of brilliant colored flowers to the simplicity of picking and eating snacks right out of the garden. May I do my part and pass that passion on to another generation.

Blessings on your daffodil lined journey to heaven,

Grandma, Lucille Hogan- March 1918 to April 14, 2012.

Un-Weedin’ the Garden


Nana: “We weeded the garden today”

Alexis: “No Nana, we un-weeded the garden today.”

I stand corrected! That is exactly what we did…pulled weeds. Once again, the joy of gardening through my 5-year-old granddaughters point of view.

Now for some other thoughts on un-weeding your garden! Read “In  Defense of Weeds”,

After the click…Compost mulches and more…oh my!

Other weedy stuff:

Rocked by design, rainbow chip gravel as mulch
Natural weed and feed. Chickens love dandelions, weed your garden, feed your chickens

A little moo in your do!

Top dress planting beds 3 inches deep with this nourishing compost for happy soil and suppressed weeds. Sounds like good therapy to me!






Nothing fishy about this…just another great compost to try:

Oly Mountain fish compost 

Dig into spring!

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