My mother had three flower gardens, and my dad cared for the vegetable garden when we lived in Laconia, New Hampshire. The garden between the sidewalk and the foundation of the house was approximately two feet wide and 15 feet long. Here mother planted annuals that she started from seeds on the sun porch using discarded egg cartons. As the seedlings grew she transplanted them into Dixie cups that she rescued from the trash bin following church dinners. Petunias were her favorite followed by zinnias and large marigolds.
A small garden snake frequented this area and made her scream every time she saw it. I enjoyed feeding the snake crickets and grasshoppers, but I was strictly forbidden to pick it up and bring it into the house.
Near the garage, mother maintained a perennial garden with a good collection of iris, delphiniums, hollyhocks and a scattering of hosta. Mother was very frugal, and I doubt if she ever bought any of the plants. She was constantly digging and trading with her friends and ladies at church. Her delphiniums produced tall spikes of various shades of blue. The spikes were frequently taller than I was, and I often had to tie them to the wall of the garage to keep them from falling over, especially after a rain. Her hollyhocks were also tall but could stand by themselves. The soil in that garden was very rich because dad had dumped several loads of well-rotted cow manure from my grandfather’s barn.
We lived in an area with very rocky soil. Mother’s third garden was a rock garden in the shape of an arrowhead and made using rocks from a nearby stonewall and from neighboring construction sites. It was 15 or so feet long and eight feet at its widest part. Again all of its plants must have come from friends. The garden was heavy with creeping phlox of all colors, hens and chicks, violets, silver-dust, iris, black-eyed Susan and many more. Annuals not used in the sidewalk garden were planted in an open area in this garden. I was given the responsibility of keeping it weeded, which I did not like because it was hard on the knees. This is probably why I did a considerable amount of research on the use of herbicides.
When we moved to Guilford, New Hampshire, during my high school years, she brought along samples of her collection of delphiniums, iris and hollyhocks. Her flower garden there was limited because I used one and a half acres for vegetables for my roadside stand.
I was born to the work I do.