A Garden Memory

Girl Among the Hollyhocks, by John Hafen (1902)

We are traveling this week to visit my 96-year-old mother. She’s an amazing person! At 96, she still is sharp as a tack, goes to exercise class four days a week (“you’ve got to keep moving,” she says), walks to her library and post office using the walker she bought herself. Simply put, she is my role model for a life well-lived and my mentor for how to age gracefully.

My mother was a wonderful gardener, so my enjoyment of flower gardens started at a very young age. I remember playing with the Four O’Clocks she planted next to the house– the flower turned upside down looked like a skirt, so I created little “dolls” with dandelions for head and body, and Four O’Clocks for the dresses. I remember the smell of marigolds and the “snap” of snapdragons. And I remember roses…many different kinds of roses, all so beautiful.

Funny thing, though. I don’t remember my mother ever growing a vegetable garden, although she did a massive amount of canning in the summer. The fruits and vegetables (mostly tomatoes) were bought in bulk from the farmers. I remember July trips to the orchards and farm stands along the highway, and bringing back bushels of peaches, cherries, apricots, tomatoes…  And then days spent bottling. The jars lines the shelves in the basement, fruit and vegetables for the entire winter.

Early garden memories… all of them happy.


Celebrating Gardens: Return to the Oregon Garden


The Oregon Garden Resort

Last Spring we enjoyed our first visit to the beautiful Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. We liked it so much we decided we must return and spend more time there. In the middle of our gray and rainy winter, my husband made reservations at the Oregon Garden Resort for two lovely May days. It was such a nice thing to look forward to all winter! When May finally arrived, we loved our mini-vacation exploring the many different areas of the Garden. What a beautiful garden and lovely resort! This is a mini-vacation we will repeat quite often!



Celebrating Gardens: Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden


For our  “Wandering Wednesday” this week, we chose to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. What a beautiful morning spent exploring and experiencing the different gardens within that walled city block. Beautiful, peaceful, inspiring…a lovely place to visit and enjoy.

Celebrating Gardens: The Oregon Garden


Our second Wandering Wednesday was a late-May trip to the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. What a beautiful and inspiring day! We spent hours walking and enjoying the creativity of the different gardens, and came home with some fun ideas for our own yard and garden. We decided we must wander that way again before too long because it was so much fun. Be sure to check out the link to their homepage because there are many activities and events to enjoy there along with their beautiful gardens.


Mr. Van Gogh and Me

Our poppies bloomed this week! Knowing the blooms don’t last very long, I took a number of photos, and among them was one that reminded me of a Van Gogh painting. You’ve probably already gathered from artwork used on this blog that I love the art of Vincent Van Gogh! So in honor of his love of flowers and the beauty of his art, here is a photo of Van Gogh’s “Poppies and Butterflies” next to my photo of our Poppy (without butterflies).  Van Gogh painted this beautiful painting in 1890 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. It is housed in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Garden Reading: The Secret Garden


Most of my reading recently has been about gardens and gardening. Our beautiful old house in the Grove is waiting patiently for us to become full-time residents. The gardens, so bare and simple and easily maintained, are also waiting to be lovingly planned and planted. It will be fun to show you “before-and-after” photos in the next few years.

So, with gardening on my mind, it won’t seem strange to you at all that the current Read Aloud in my second grade classroom, is The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My students are enraptured by it. I chose the word “enraptured” very carefully because there is a lovely Magic in this book, and my students have been captured by it, my boys perhaps even more than my girls!

One sweet example of that Magic happened last week. One of my boys, who is a struggling reader but an rapt listener, came to me quietly one afternoon and said, “Mrs. R, I think I’m starting to speak Yorkshire!  “Tha’ and Thee just come out of me without thinking about it.” That kind of magic is helping him love reading even though it is difficult for him.

I think my Reading Self also chose this book (without consciously thinking about it), because it is a book about emotional healing. And I must confess that reading it aloud to this sweet group of children has had a very healing effect on me! I so enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the garden and of the healing power of gardening!