Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gardens of my past part 1

Ok so I think these gardens I grew up with will need to be split into a few days worth of writing

I had two very different grand mothers, both my grandfathers had died pretty young, My dad lost his father at 17 to a heart attack and my mom lost her dad at 12 to a brain tumor. Both sets of grandparents were immigrants, my dads family was from Canada and shortly before that from Scotland, my mom's parents were from the Philippines... I called my dad's mom Gramma Doe, her actual name was Doris Jane Dixon MacDonald and I only knew my other grandmother as my Lola which is Tagalog for grandmother, her name was Florentina Jasmin Aragon.

My Gramma Doe was quite the beloved all-American type of mom to every one of her kids friends, those friends were part of a sort of extended family to me when I was young... My Lola on the other hand was quiet the business woman and very roman catholic much sterner and sort of superstitious and very proper. Some how they were very good friends after my Lola got over her dislike of my father who was when my mother married him a very creative stupid young musician. The things that these two women had in common was their love of plants and their loves of making food and entertaining! All of these things in common they did very differently. My Gramma Doe was more go with the flow and creative and my Lola more organized and elegant, both of them were very practical and super motivated.

So where to start! I have very early memories running around both gardens! I barely remember the first garden of my Gramma Doe of the 3 places she lived in my life before she passed away when I was 16. I know from what my mom tells me that as well as a main garden there was something called a cutting garden for flowers grown specifically grown to be cut and brought inside for vases and to be given away as presents, that would easily come back the next year like tulips and daffodils I remember this in blurs of color with the sounds of an old dog named penny that I don't fully remember.

She lost that house and moved with my Aunt Moe (Maryjane) to a mobile home in a little retirement community that I'm not sure is still there over by the front gate to McChord Air-force base. It was a 3 bedroom big home with a big raised deck her children and their friends made for her when I was about 5, the deck ran most of the length of the house from the front door to the glass slider, with wide steps at both ends and was surrounded by tall lattice walls between the posts of the deck for privacy, and to either side was a nice grassy patch with a path one lead to the front side by the front door and one to the back side and the glass door.

I'm going to start with the plants from the front door and move around the outside of the house... there was a tall light pink purple rhododendron with mulch and I think bulbs all around the bottom, I believe this side of the house got the most light but I really can't remember exactly. She had these big half wine barrels and each of them had different things in them and full of all colors of flowers I think there were four or five on the deck two at each end on either side of the stairs and I was sure there was one more one the side away from the house but it's fuzzy in my memory and there was a pick nick table and a few patio chairs and all sorts of other planters and pots and some of the things in the pots grew up the sides of the lattice.

From the posts were hangers and there were hanging baskets over flowing with lobelia trailing down and I think there was at least one hanging basket from the eve by the front door.. There was a odd round ridged pot with chives I used to help pick sitting on one of the steps one the house side of the deck on the side closest the the back side... Under my Gramma's bedroom window was a flower bed but I can't recall what was in it just that it was mostly green and seemed tall to me... I think it was also some sort of bulb and across the path from that was a big holly tree that is different sizes in different memories from trims and me aging... there was a small tree and a big bush and a long thin tall rose... I think it was butter yellow and red on the edges...

Then there was a drop off into the deep wide ditch across from which was a tall chain link fence with red plastic slats and I think a few canes of raspberry and black berry where over on that other side and there was BIG tree that shaded most of the area in the middle of back there before the drop off and with roundish leaves that had these big- ish round ball looking things that would fall off it that seemed to have a foam inside that had a bit of a soft crunch when you stepped on them... and there was a maple somewhere because I remember the seed pods... maybe on the other side? I think there was at least one smaller big tree back there near the red slats and some sort of pine tree....

That far backside area is kinda fuzzy because we didn't spend much time there it's where she kept the empty pots and trays and dirt and there was a storage thing that flipped up open with what I think was fish fertilizer and spray bottles and some hand tools and pads for kneeling on and watering cans... The only plants I remember back there are the little wild strawberries with their little pink white flowers.

Now for the other side of the house... Starting at the ditch and moving to the middle of the house where the big shed was and the the raised and covered pass through between the shed the house where the back door in the laundry room was and the covered car port that fit two cars thats about how wide the shed and the patio were. I know she kept canned goods and other stored goods out on the shelfs out there and there was a potting table and lots of tools and watering hose and stakes and tomato cages and a stock pile of garden gloves and other garden stuff as well as a wheel barrow upright and two kids wagons and a old style stroller and a mini one.

The patio had a thick white picket fence with a wide gate between the house and the corner of the patio just before the ditch and it had a baby proof sort of latch I think... on either side of the gate back there was a wine barrel cask there were a bunch of these of different sizes back here I think one was upside down with another slightly smaller one top and back here were the succulents tons of them all different kinds my favorites were the chicks! There was an old army boot back here in one of the barrels lower to the ground I think and it was full of and surrounded by succulents and there were several pots full of parsley we had it in or with every meal.

There we so many pots... some on little tables lots of hanging baskets, there where 3 sort of angled wooden ones on the far wall on one side of the shed door and a long one on the side closer to the house, my Uncle George had made them with wire mesh bottoms. There was a small grill back here pushed up against the fence that was my Auntie Moe's. There was another pick nick table here and a glass topped one with an white and pale yellow umbrella out the middle and we also fit a thick plastic frog face pool with a little mini slid in it back there, and there was a little baby blue wading pool too with Sesame street print on it I am almost 100% sure these particular pools don't exist anymore... the ground was hard and light gray and covered in astroturf.

I wish I knew more of the names of the flowers but I only know them by sight. I know somewhere there were marigolds I remember helping plant them and what the seeds look like... I remember planting some sort of squash with her back there but I don't remember what squash that had to have been small and I don't remember where is grew just that I thought the name squash was funny. I remember carrying around the heavy green plastic watering can with the white part on the end that made it sprinkle from the spout..

So up the stairs and the in-between  the shed and the back doorwhich was hung with a large collection of wind chimes. We sort of used that back door far more then the front door, I only knew it was the front door because the bell was up there and that's where other people came in. There was a gate across the top step going towards the carport. There was an area to your left in front of the cars where the big wheels and the fire wood was kept on pallets because she has a wood burning stove you see.

Strait ahead going into the car port was the dinning room window and the large double formal living room window and under the dinning window and my Aunts big bathroom window were, thee cherry tomatoes! Some red some green and some yellow... they stood in their pots and cages in a row to the end of the house which was a mini van (My mom's car) and a pick up truck (My uncles vehicle) or an rx7 (my Dad's) length of drive way, my Grandmother had a station wagon and Moe had an old cherry red slug bug. Where the second vehicle started towards the side of the car port away from the house was the base of a big tree and a little past that was the big rhubarb plant. Off the car port beams and side of the house were more hanging baskets.

Now for the last... The grass sloped up towards the house from the street but a 3rd of the way there was a raised bed full of all kinds of flowers and I think more chicks nothing seemed of be organized it was seemed to be mashed together splashed of bright vivid color.. blues purples pinks yellows orange I think the orange was a Lilly! And the blue an iris but not a bearded type... The last thing I remember of the yard was a tree I think it was a very young cherry blossom because I think it had pink flowers.

Oh I forgot!!! There was a pine tree with whitish green needles that I had gotten from school on arbor day when I was 4! We'd planted it in a pot and when she moved to her new place across the street from us she gave it to me but before we could plant it some one came in our fenced yard in the night and stole it away. Stuff like that tree disappearing is part of why I'm worried about people wanting to take the veggies I grow getting stolen...

I wish I knew the names of a lot of those flowers to paint a better picture!!! There is another one I know Gramma Doe had but I don't remember where it lived... I think it was somewhere near the holly tree, I think there was this one in Maddie's album that I said my grandmother had given me when I was sick that was purple blue and turned white, hydrangea? I know I am missing a lot of stuff I can't recall... The place was packed with plants everywhere!

I'm going to have to pick this up tomorrow to write more as promised =]

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