A lovely — really lovely — article about gardening from the CS Monitor:
Every spring, when the last patches of snow finally surrender to the
sun and buds begin swelling with new life, I think about an unusual
gift my two grandmothers passed along to their grandchildren. It was
the gift of gardening – or, to put it less elegantly, the gift of dirt
under our fingernails. In their separate ways, without realizing it,
they imparted a love of flowers, quietly teaching us the wonders of
seeds and bulbs, soil and water and light.
I got to thinking about who gave me this gift when I was a child: my Mom, who was and still is a wonderful gardener herself. I still remember when she helped me prepare and plant my first garden along the fence in the backyard. My dad would call me, "Mary Mary quite contrary", after the nursery rhyme, and every time I tended the little patch I’d stare hard at the plants and mutter under my breath, "grow! grow!" (note — I still do that). Eventually, the packet of seeds miraculously grew into great big green plants with beautiful flowers.
Then one day, the new minister of the United Church moved into the house on the other side of the fence. They had a little boy, named David, and a huge black Lab, named Goliath. I came out to water my flowers, and to my horror found my dog Rags nose to nose in a squabble with Goliath through the fence. They were fiercely barking and growling, hackles up and pawing and clawing the ground like bulls in the ring. Earth flew. Flowers flew. I yelled and cried and pounded Rags on the head with the watering can, but it was too late: My little patch of flowers was flattened. I cried and cried as little David looked at me in disgust through the fence, wondering why I had interrupted the show and was making such a fuss over flowers. Rags turned and gave me a big apologetic doggy smile, his tongue flapping up and down against the side of his face as I continued to yell at him through my tears. I was livid. Goliath slinked away
Mom came out and surveyed the scene with dismay. It took a while to comfort me while she gently explained that no, the flowers couldn’t be taped back together. In retrospect I think she was trying very hard not to smile.
That was my first garden.