My grandparents grew almost everything they consumed, vegetables in the garden, wheat ground for flour, raised chickens both for eggs, and the meat, as well as pigs and a dairy herd which provided milk and beef at slaughter time. I recall sides of beef and pork hanging in an unheated room in the house. I remember when they first got indoor plumbing and could dispose of the use of chamber pots and the outhouse!
In addition to all this, my grandmother had an extensive flower garden that she tended, and there were always fresh flowers on the table in the summer. I especially loved her gladiolas, canna lilies and zinnias.
I spent most of my adult life on Long Island where I raised my four children, but for some reason it never really felt like home. I started creating flower beds at my house and later when I moved to a condo.
Once I retired and moved to New Hampshire, I felt like I had come home. The house I bought had few flower beds, but lots of large pine trees that were causing a variety of problems. After securing permission to have many of them removed, I got to work.
The back “yard” rose in elevation and was a carpet of creeping juniper, which I hated. I tried many ways to remove it unsuccessfully, and finally had to have it excavated and rolled up like carpeting, which was then dumped in my woods to decompose. Tristin Gilson was fantastic in helping decide how to transform the area. He terraced it, creating stone wall dividers, and steps going to the top, all using rocks that he would unearth on the property. Then he brought in topsoil and I started planting. I favor perennials and friends donated a lot of them to get me going, but the first few years needed a lot of annuals to fill in.
I have added what I refer to as my garden “junk”, an antique hand water pump, an old bicycle, antique watering cans and shutters. My latest addition is an antique iron baby crib. I have to resist overdoing it though. Today, the perennials keep multiplying so I share with my two daughters as well as many friends. The garden keeps evolving as it matures, and each season is a new wonder.