September 4, 2009

My Gardenia Now

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The Tale of Gardenia

I'd like to tell you about the tale of Gardenia. First, let's go back to about 1978 in a hot Chrysler Chevrolet with the windows rolled down. It was 100 degrees and we were on the flat plains of Northwestern Minnesota coming home from our 2 week family vacation at Grandma's house. I don't know why we were told this tale of Gardenia. Maybe my parents were tired of us asking, "Are we there yet." All I know is that my dad told us that if we were good(meaning no fighting and stay silent for the next 3 days)we would go to Gardenia when we got back to our home in Washington State. Oh boy, Gardenia! My parents wouldn't tell us where it was and I remember us kids guessing the whole way home. Maybe it's in California! Maybe it's an amusement park! We were so excited that after spending 2 weeks visiting with old relatives on farms we were finally going to go somewhere cool. We were perfect the rest of the drive home so we could make sure that we could go to Gardenia. The sad end to this story is that we were TRICKED!! When we got back home the truth of Gardenia's location was told. Gardenia, the place of our dreams, was really a trip to the garden to pull weeds. From that moment on I vowed never to have a garden. Gardens were stupid! They were lots of work and meant no fun all summer till I weeded the corn or whatever crop needed weeding that week. I would never willingly look at a garden again!

Fast forward 31 years later and gardening is one of the great joys in my life. I guess it was in my genes,although pretty regressive. I didn't have any interest in gardening until I was almost 30. My parents were visiting my home in Illinois and somehow we ended up planting a very tiny garden in the backyard. Those 3 tomato plants and 2 peppers didn't do all that well as I recall but it did get me started on this obsession. Now, when I look back on Gardenia, I'm grateful that it wasn't an amusement park after all but a life long lesson in nurturing, patience and the joy of gardening.