|Here I am in 1957 in the garden at our first house on Alden Avenue|
My dad loved to garden, at least in the early years of my childhood until his interests turned more and more toward writing. He grew daylillies, roses, camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, white spirea, shrimp plant (a strange and beautiful flower that fascinated me and made me think of, well, shrimp!), cast iron plants, johnny jump ups (one of my favorites), and boxwood. There were many more that I can't think of right now. Besides the pine trees and white oak trees already on the property when my parents bought the second and final house, he had dogwood trees and a couple of holly trees. My favorite rose was a miniature rose bush with light pink roses that he got from his mother, who also loved to garden. Later on, my dad planted a eucalyptus tree, a red maple, and a Japanese magnolia. I remember once helping him pick up acorns from under a white oak tree in the front yard and thinking what a chore! That tree is still here dropping acorns. He tried and tried to get grass to grow under that tree.
|Red maple on the left, a dogwood tree on the right, and azaleas in the background in the front yard at my parents' house|
|Beautiful white azaleas that my dad planted along the front walk|
My dad would go around the back yard and pollinate the daylillies to make new varieties. I used to follow him around while he did this, and he'd sometimes let me pollinate them, under his supervision of course. I even pollinated one or two (probably more) without his knowing. My dad had all of his daylillies marked with their names on metal labels that he inserted in the ground on metal stakes. One day, my oldest brother and I pulled up all of his labels. I don't remember why we did it, but we thought it was great fun. I'm sure he got mad (I would have been).
Once, maybe when I was about ten, I grew a small patch of annuals from seeds that included zinnias and marigolds. I was actually successful! There was a small, circular patch of dirt where no grass was growing in the middle of the yard, and for some reason, this is where I chose to plant them! I guess because the garden was full of my dad's plants. Every time I see zinnias and marigolds today, they remind me of my childhood. (After writing this, I went out and bought two vats of marigolds!)
He taught me how to take cuttings from a plant and how to root it to form a new one. He told me that he learned how from his mother. Besides the miniature rose bush, I think some of the camellias that he had came from her. Maybe even some of his azaleas, too. I don't remember what she grew in her yard except for azaleas and camellias, and she had some pecan trees in the back yard. I remember collecting pecans off the ground sometimes when we visited. In the Big House (J.T. Roberts house) garden, my maternal great grandparents' house where my mom grew up, was my favorite flower of all--narcissus. I love the scent of that flower! Whenever I smell it, I'm transported back to that house, a house I grew to love as I got older.
|Narcissus blooms at the Big House (J. T. Roberts House)|