"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Inspiration

My inspiration for a dream garden has always been the garden of my French grandmother. This was situated out in the country on somewhere around 10 acres. The back half was all wild woods, and the front half was all garden and house. There were no lawns, only the house surrounded by a gravel court, and gravel paths radiating out from this space through beds of all shapes and sizes. The beds were not separated into flower, vegetable and orchard sections, but everything was grown together - flowers with vegetables, fruit trees with flowers and herbs- it seemed pretty fascinating to me. 

My best memory of that place is always being outdoors all day long playing with my brother and sisters while snacking on plums, apricots, currants and raspberries anytime we wanted! These are the things I remember being in the garden: Pears, Cherries, plums, apricots, currants, raspberries, and maybe apples. I'm not sure which vegetables, but I think for sure salad vegetables, potatoes and carrots at least (obviously I wasn't eating these right out of the garden or I would remember :), roses and all kinds of flowers. There was a huge cement Japanese lantern and orange slugs as big as two grown-men's thumbs put together (we were fascinated with these), and there was an 80 year old gardener who had worked for my 90 year old grandmother for a long time, who we were afraid of. There was also a big cement trough on the side of the house for washing clothes in!

I remember that the cherries had little worms. At first we would crack the cherries open looking for the worms, but this caused your hands to be stained bright red. After a while we discovered that you couldn't taste the worms anyway, so if you didn't look, you could eat the cherries with a clear conscience!

These were very happy times for me and have always been in the back of my mind when I thought of the ideal garden. If she had had chickens and rabbits, or something like that, then this would have been my idea of what an urban homestead could look like. 

Now my Texas grandmother's garden had originally been a real urban homestead. In this small Texas town all the town lots were very large and everyone had the back half fenced off for a milk cow and a barn. They had big gardens and chickens and all that. By the time I knew the place, the original lot had been divided into three and had three houses on it- no more barns or cows. Everyone was now "modern" and bought all their food at the grocery store. However I do remember the wonderful smell of a fig tree on a hot afternoon as you crouched behind it in a game of hide and go seek, that grandmother had a bay tree that you could pick bay leaves right off of, and that she would make us a pecan pie if we would gather the pecans and pick them for her, and that if we walked under the mulberry trees barefoot eating the mulberries we would get purple feet!

So here I am now finally owning my own home at 48 years old. It's not in the country, but it is a third of an acre corner lot in a small town. And this blog will be about how I hope to transform this lot into a productive place reminiscent of my inspirations.

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