Nature or Nurture?

Gardening proves a strong connection between the present and the past.

I never saw my great-grandmother’s gardens, but her pale blue irises and giant daffodils bloom among our own fl owers today. There weren’t many fl owers on my grandparents’ farm—their truck gardens left no time— but I loved helping sort their giant strawberries for market.

My parents continued the gardening legacy with a huge vegetable garden, but my mother always found time for flowers. Our yard was full of purple lotus, white spirea, yellow honeysuckle and old-fashioned annuals like bachelor’s buttons and zinnias.

My mother bought a home near us after my father died, and we stumbled into a treasured tradition. Each spring, we could hardly wait to make the rounds of garden centers together. Now my oldest daughter and I celebrate her birthday shopping at those same garden centers.

Every family member seems to carry the garden gene. We laugh that our youngest daughter has two green thumbs. Our son’s whimsical hobbit gardens on his rocky lake-front property are legendary. Granddaughters Cara and Carissa love any gift that’s garden-related, and their daughters follow the tradition. Thirteen-year-old Lilly’s Christmas wish last year was garden gloves. Eleven-year-old Skye and I recently surprised her mother with a small “angel pool” that Skye designed.

After my mother died, we collected and repurposed her cherished plants and garden ornaments. Now, Maggie’s Garden is our favorite outdoor sitting area. The fountain we created from her bird bath sits among her hydrangea, daylilies, peonies, surprise lilies and viburnum, while her roses and autumn clematis climb her wrought-iron trellises along the back border. Maggie’s Garden has become our celebration of family heritage. It’s our nature to love gardening, and each generation nurtures the joy of gardening in the next.