Make This Year's Garden the Best Yet

Although overgrown in this photo, this garden holds special memories.
Many gardeners can often attribute another person for getting them into gardening, such as a father, mother or grandparent. This is also true for me.

Growing up as a child, I never noticed if weeds were growing in the borders of my grandfather's garden. Instead, I discovered secret hiding places in the privet hedge where my best friend Tricia and I would pretend we were Native American Indians living in the woods. I'd lay in the sunshine among the tomato and cucumber plants, a portion of his garden that bordered Metro North railroad tracks. My skin would get scratched as I looked for warm, juicy raspberries that often didn't make it into the house for eating.

I think many of us lose sight of what gardens should be. Gardens should not be regimented, distinct borders of ugly shrubbery and great expanses of lawn. If it doesn't look like a spot you would be comfortable spending time in, then something might be wrong.

Gardens should be a retreat. This can have different meanings depending on who you ask. Maybe it's a spot to observe and enjoy wildlife. Maybe it's a spot where you can entertain friends and family. Maybe it's as simple as having a special chair to read a book in.

By no means was my grandfather's garden perfect. His garage would often get infestations of carpenter bees - large, scary carpenter bees. He would never have won a design prize or have been featured in a gardening magazine. His garden was functional yet a respite at the same time. There was seating so family could spend time outdoors. There was a small, grassy area where we could play catch. He grew his own food, and not just vegetables. He had large sour cherry trees and grapes which he used to make wine. He would even feed birds in the winter.

And even though his garden was practically on top of the railroad tracks which shuttled Long Islanders into the city, the roar of train tracks and the occasional train horn faded into the background. In Queens, New York, his garden offered a place to enjoy the fresh air. His garden was welcoming, and that made all the difference.

As we embark on another spring in our gardens, make this the year where your garden becomes the restful spot you desire, crave and deserve.

Click here for another way my grandfather's garden influenced my own.


  1. Happy Spring - Looking forward to gardening with you!


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