In 1973 when my family moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, we rented a house that had a walled garden. I found this fascinating since we never had a garden before, to my knowledge. From our back yard, you went through a gate and down a set of wooden steps to a platform. To your left was a huge expanse of dirt, and the walls surrounded you. At the opposite end, there was another set of wooden steps that went up to a gate that opened onto an alley. During the two years we lived there, our table was graced every fall with fresh vegetables from our garden. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver describes how our first attempt at gardening was rudely interrupted.

In the Garden

There are no trees, just an expanse of dirt.

While Mother and Dad work, I sit on the steps,

study seed packets of peas, corn, tomatoes,

read the labels, gaze at the pictures.

I’m only twelve.

In the distance, sirens wail.

“It sounds like fire engines,” says Dad.

In the house, the phone rings.

I hurry to answer it.

A male voice asks for my mother.

I rush outside, call her to the phone,

“Oh my god! We’ll be right there.”

“Ed, we need to pick up Andy at the police station.

He was playing with matches near that shack

at the bottom of the hill when it caught fire.”

The garden is abandoned.

What are your memories of gardening when you were growing up? Did you help your father or mother plant a garden? Did you grow flowers, vegetables, or both? Please feel free to share your memories by leaving a comment below.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

4 thoughts on “Gardening

  1. I remember picking carrots in July and being disappointed at how small they were. Mom explained that I had to wait until the fall for them to be the right size. I also remember how wonderful fresh peas, right from the pod, tasted. They made a lovely summer snack, much to the annoiance of my mom. My sister, Diane, and I couldn't resist those sweet snacks. I don't garden these days. There's too much shade.

  2. Hi Bruce, thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, I was one of those kids who didn't appreciate vegetables. I liked canned spinach and peas, but the fresh peas from our garden didn't taste as good.

  3. My folks didn't have a garden until I was gone and married:) We have tried it at a couple of our homes and was successful in PA until the woodchucks got into it. Will try again here in Texas someday!

  4. I don't know too much about gardening, but I guess you need to have conditions just right in order to be successful. We were lucky to have that area in our back yard designed specifically for a garden. There were no trees so there was plenty of sunshine. That's probably why the vegetables thrived.

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