Flashback Friday…How Does Your Garden Grow?


Whenever I saw Linda’s topic for today was “gardening”, I knew I had to write a post!  Linda’s beginning rhyme was “Mary, Mary!  Quite contrary!  How does your garden grow?”  My answer is–“It doesn’t!”  My husband and I aren’t worth a flip at growing much of anything, but our parents loved to grow things, for as long as we can remember.  Our mothers loved growing all kinds of flowers, while our daddies grew vegetables in their gardens.  Ed’s dad was actually a farmer, and grew crops to sell in his younger years.

Oddly enough, my parents never lived on a farm when I was growing up, but always managed to live in a house, in town, that had enough space in the backyard for a vegetable garden.  Daddy always found someone with a tractor,  to “harrow up” his garden, and get it ready to plant in the spring, then daddy tended the garden using a push plow the rest of the year.  He always managed to grow enough vegetables to feed our family for an entire year.  You could say he definitely had a green thumb, and one of the prettiest gardens around!

daddy mowing the grass...his garden is to the right (early 80s)

While I was growing up, and beyond, every summer was spent picking tomatoes, all kinds of peas, butter beans, squash, green beans, and corn, then “canning” or freezing the vegetables.  We shelled our peas and beans by hand.  Sometimes my maternal grandmother, would come and help us shell our peas.  After we got our peas and beans shelled, we blanched them, and put them in our freezer.

We always put our green beans in jars, then blanched them in a large canner.  We could only do seven quarts at a time though, so it was a slow process.  Sometimes we did the same thing with tomatoes, but most of the time we just put our tomatoes in the freezer after stewing them down a bit, then letting them cool.

my grandmother and mama (see the houseplants)

I hated canning corn the most!  Removing it from the cobb is such a messy job.  The juice from the kernels goes everywhere while it’s being cut off the cobb, and corn juice is sticky!  Mama always took some corn on the cobb, blanched it, and put it in the freezer whole.  Whenever she took it out of the freezer and boiled it, the corn tasted like it had just been picked!  I’ve never been able to freeze corn on the cobb like mama could!

After I married my husband, our parents became good friends.  Both families had vegetable gardens, and  in the summer, all of us would sometimes gather and “put up” vegetables together. We’d have a great time talking and joking while getting the work done.  Our parents shared their vegetables with each other, too.  Those sure were some great times! 

Mama had a green thumb, but she used her talents to grow all kinds of plants and flowers.  She had an abundance of flowers inside and out in the yard, during her younger years.  Mama was always “rooting” something, as was my mother-in-law.  I’m sharing a photograph of me and my daughter, standing in mama and daddy’s rose garden.

me and my daughter posing in the rose garden in 1980 (garden in background)

  A couple of years ago, I ran into the woman who used to live next-door to my parents, many years ago.  She lived in the mobile home that you see in some of the photos in this post.  This woman told me how my mama had taught her how to grow plants and flowers, and how much fun she had learning from mama.  It made my heart feel good to hear her say such nice things about mama, but at the same time it made me sad.

You see, I never cared much for growing flowers as a young adult, so I missed out on that wealth of knowledge that my mama could have shared with me, as she had with her neighbor.  To this day, I can kill a houseplant faster than you can say “boo”!

My daddy’s been gone for nearly twenty years now, while mama’s been gone nearly fourteen years.  How I miss those garden fresh vegetables that he used to grow!  I also miss the good times we used to have out in the garden picking those peas and butter beans!  My mama had a habit of disappearing into the house in the middle of the bean picking–only to return about the time we were finishing up! 

Occasionally, I’ll ride by my parents old house, and remember the good old days. It’s been more than twenty years since anyone grew a garden there, and all of the rose bushes have long been gone.  That mobile home that used to be next door, isn’t there anymore.  I sure do miss the good old days…

Speaking of the good old days, today would’ve been my daddy’s birthday.  He would’ve turned 85.

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 7:23 am  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I enjoyed reading yours. Made me remember alot about being in the garden with my Dad. He’s been gone almost 17 years. Fortunately we still have our Mom, I can’t imagine if we didn’t.

  2. I enjoy reading everyone’s garden memories. Sounds like you all had a good-sized garden. Ours was much smaller, but regardless of the size, home-grown veggies are the best! Have a blessed weekend!

  3. Hi, I found your blog on the Follow Fridays listing. I’m a new follower.

  4. Sweet memories. Thanks for sharing them. Your dad would have been about my mom’s age – she would have turned 85 this coming November.

  5. Happy blog hopping!.

    I am a book blogger. I read varied genres, have a truly eclectic taste in books. Feel free to explore my blog, browse my reviews. I follow via google reader NOT GFC!

    Here is my Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday post!

  6. What a great post, it brought back a ton of memories of my time in the garden at my folks place too, great memories!! I was struck by the picture of your grandmother and mom, you look so much like your mother!!! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  7. What great memories. You probably picked up more than you know of those gardening genes just by being around them. My grandmother was an avid gardener and canner, but not my mother. Both my sister and I had gardens and canned when our children were young. None of my daughters were interested at that time, but now they are.

    I was never able to freeze corn on the cob. I tried freezing it raw and freezing it blanched. It always was mushy when defrosted. I did cut it off the cob and freeze it. That worked.

    You do look like your Mom. 🙂

  8. Hello, Lovely to meet you..I, like yourself was never interested in gardening when I was young. My mother was crazy about it. We had a marvelous Australian bush garden…but mum was never an inside person and neglected to house. So I became the opposite for a long time. Now I am retired and enjoy both. I live in the tropics of Queensland now and the plants, flower, palms fruits and birds are awesome.. I loved reading all your news about your family. And the photos made it very readable and real. Thank you and God Bless you heaps.

  9. Well, I wrote you a heap and then when I pushed the button to transmit, it said I had already said that and it all disappaired???
    I loved reading all of your news and seeing all the photos, it made it very real and so interesting. Here in Queensland Australia we have everything tropical…Gardens are a joy, they spread the love and make you feel happy. God Bess.

  10. This brought back memories! We helped our relatives pick vegetables from their garden and shelling peas and butter beans was a lively event for visiting and talking and laughing. Then we took some home where mother blanched them for the freezer. I did not learn the skills of preserving fruits and veggies or of gardening! Now i am trying to learn. About that photo of you and daughter in the rose garden, she looks like a little Maddie!

  11. I envy those who have a green thumb in the vegetable garden. It can be such a test in patience. I am a very new veggie gardener so I have more failures than success. I agree I would love to have the experience of a seasoned veggie gardener to learn from.

    Great post!

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