Dad is in the garden

On a hot, sweaty day like today, I think of Dad.

I was planting some clearance-priced perennials ($1.24 at Shopko, can you believe it?) and I felt the urge to call Dad and talk about my scoop on plants. I guess he knows, anyway, so I called Mom instead.

Though Dad was many things, he was first and foremost a gardener. In another life, with other opportunities, he would have been a farmer. He composted before composting was cool. He drove around town picking up other people’s leaves because he didn’t think the giant maple in our yard was enough for his grandiose gardening schemes.

Every time I do an interview about a new gardening technique, I think of him. I’m sure he would have been straw bale gardening since that would have given him a couple extra weeks of fresh vegetables. He would have loved anything that extended the gardening season.

Though I came late to gardening — in my 30s when I bought my house — I took to it with fervor and enthusiasm. It amazed Dad to see what a diehard gardener I had become. He was used to seeing me sitting in front of a fan with a book and a glass of lemonade. Toiling in the soil seemed so not me.

One by one, most of his 10 kids took to some kind of gardening.  Some, like Tim and Mary Jo, do vegetables with the same fervor Dad did. Some like Therese and me stick mostly to flowers. But we all benefited from knowing the best gardener I ever met.

I’m sweaty from gardening, Dad, and I’ve got questions. Wish you were still here.

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