The 2010 Census counted everyone in my house but not the people living in my garden. There are at least 15.
Many of these people are no longer in this world, but live on in the flowers, trees, vegetables and shrubs they gave me and my family. Let me see…there are daylilies from Anne Miller, my first-grade teacher; daffodils and a yucca from Mom-ma Robinson; a Japanese maple given by a professor when I graduated from college; a fountain-like plumbago from my allergist; Egyptian walking onions from an uncle; ‘Aloha’, a 1949 hybrid tea rose from an aunt; English boxwoods from Uncle Bob Keever, the great-uncle who taught me how to root cuttings of shrubs; sunflowers and rose campion from Hettie and Luther Yarborough, my “adopted” grandparents next door; ferns, trilliums and red spider lilies from Tony Clack, my friend and favorite Cabbagetown neighbor; and others from friends and relatives.
There is a maxim I have heard all my life: “I’ve never met a stingy gardener.” Whether it is watermelons and tomatoes from the vegetable garden or a start of a flower or shrub, gardeners always share. The people who gave me plants, cuttings and seeds did so because they wanted to share a favorite plant with someone who was interested. They gave me something more valuable than the plants, though, especially those who shared plants with me as a young person. They gave me the joy of gardening and of sharing. They gave me a sense of importance and confidence – that I was worthy of their attention and worthy of taking care of a valued plant. They also gave me a garden composed of memories as much as of trees and flowers. When I walk through it, I see faces and hear voices; I never garden alone.
Create a more beautiful world and a living legacy by sharing the joy of gardening. I may never get a statue or be honored on a postage stamp, but I’ll be more than happy with the memorial of someone saying, “Arty gave me that; every time it blooms I think of him.”
-- Arty Gordon Schronce