Organically my Dad

Dad was an organic farmer before most people even knew what that was.

He could have sold his great organic produce at a farmers market if he wanted to be a merchant — but, he didn’t.

He could have been a master gardener if he’d taken the classes to get certified — but, he wouldn’t.

But point him at a pile of decomposing leaves and he was in heaven. Even though our yard features one of the biggest maple trees I’ve ever seen, that wasn’t enough leaf accumulation for Dad. He used to drive around and pick up other people’s bagged leaves. Because of that, more than 20 years later, his garden — now Mom’s garden — has the best soil I have ever experienced.

I can plant something in my garden and something in hers. Mine might fail but hers will flourish.

Dad was happiest when he was firmly planted in his garden. From tea roses to potatoes and rhubarb, Dad grew the best of everything. There were cut flowers on the dining room table and fresh-from-the-garden salads for supper.

I didn’t inherit Dad’s love of vegetables, but I did get the gardening bug. My style is a bit more free form — let those volunteer daisies, violets and coreopsis grow where they want to grow. This year, I had to curb the daisies a bit as there were more daisies than grass blades in the lawn. Dad would not have approved because he also kept a meticulous lawn.

I tugged the daisies but I let my spreading crop of creeping thyme take over one section of lawn. I have no love of grass and one day figure it will all be gone from yard.

What won’t be gone is Dad’s spirit. I’ve got one rose bush he planted still struggling to pop open a few buds 30 years after he planted it. And my lilac hedge is a testament to the saplings that came from his yard.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Mom and the kids miss you, but we’re still enjoying the fruits of your labors.




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