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  • July 21st, 2009 | 12:02 AM
Happy Birthday to Me - It's a Garden Party

Today is my birthday. I plan to spend the day doing pretty much whatever I want. I think that will be working on the photos to get my garden blog launched and online. So to get me in the mood, and in keeping with my fairly new tradition of asking for what I want, I am asking those of you who stop by to share a garden or nature memory with me. Either from childhood or from now...but I'd love to know what you love about the garden or plants or something that surprised you in a garden once.

Here's one of mine. I remember very vividly planting nasturtiums in an egg carton in a class at school I don't know what grade, maybe 1st or 2nd. And I remember bringing them home and my grandmother really not wanting them in her garden for some reason or another. Still she gave me a little patch of dirt and I tore apart those egg carton sections and planted those little seedlings in the ground. Year after year when they continued to spread and bloom I would get happy just looking at their smiling faces.

And even though nasturtiums aren't a California native plant, I am tempting to plant a pot of them just for old time's sake.

Thanks in advance for helping my memory garden grow.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 83 comments — Leave comment )
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July 21st, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
I don't have garden memories from my childhood, on account of my mother having a black thumb and our house being on the side of a hill. But I remember how proud I was the first year my veggie garden actually produced something that we could eat. The way that first tomato off the vine tasted like salty sunshine bursting in my mouth when I bit into it. Finding that zucchini that eluded detection until it was the size of a Louisville slugger. Realizing that fresh eggplant tastes like a pale apple if you eat it right away. Yum, now I'm hungry.
July 24th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
I love this memory even though the thought of eating those veggies leaves me, well, not happy. :)
July 21st, 2009 07:32 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday- I didn't forget all the way from Aus- Luckily you are not relying on birthday flowers from my garden because absolutely nothing grows except for the weeds and a few bottle brush which are native of course but fairly boring unless they are out in full bloom.
So anyway have a nice day and all I can send you is my good wishes xxx

- Anne McKenna
July 24th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for the good wishes, Anne. I didn't know that bottle brush was native to you.
July 21st, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
Google said it was Ernest's BDay and...
...I said I know who else!

It's the only drawing I've done (so far) of Ernie....

July 21st, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Google said it was Ernest's BDay and...
Nice! Did you know that Hemingway's cats in Key West all have six toes?
July 21st, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
happy birthday!

Growing up, my next door neighbor was a landscape architect who created outdoor spaces with ground covers and shrubs, not flowers-- for our house he designed a blue slate patio in front, surrounded by dogwoods, and a low wooden bench that my dad built.

Every summer my mother planted a big planter full of petunias and geraniums and our "gardening" meant keeping her flowers watered and poking dandelions out of the green grass yard. We also had the job of stomping down anthills that formed in the sand between the slate slabs.

I'm a July birthday too, and birthdays meant all the neighbor kids sitting lined up on the wooden bench on the patio with ice cream cones ...
July 24th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
I love that garden birthday memory. Thank you for sharing. Didn't the ants climb all over you when you stomped on the anthills?
July 21st, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
You share a birthday with my eldest (she's fifteen today, how did that happen?!)!

However, garden memory:

My grandmother loved roses. She loved lots of roses. Most people said her roses were some of the best they'd ever seen, but she never entered any contests, that I can remember.

After she died, when I was seven, I remember spending summers with my grandfather. He used to get up early in the morning, and go out and start chores. If he had help (usually my brothers) then he went fishing. Anything he caught, whether we could eat it or not, he brought back. We'd spend part of the afternoon digging careful holes around the bases of all the roses. We had to be sure not to dig in the same spot two times in a row.

And then, we'd put the fish remains into the holes. My grandfather said that just like the memory of my grandmother, we had to feed the roses to keep them alive, and that she would never, truly, be gone as long as we remembered.
July 24th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
I so love the image of you burying fish parts with your grandfather. He was such a special man in your life. Thanks for sharing.
July 21st, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday, Susan! It's also my mom's birthday (she's 85)!

Just so happens she's the green thumb in the family, and my childhood is full of memories of her tending her orchid plants. She also knew lots of plant species and could identify almost anything wherever she went.

As for me, I posted today my ultimate garden memory: http://jamarattigan.livejournal.com/304604.html.

May your life and writing continue to bloom always. ♥
July 21st, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
I think it's so cool that you posted about Secret Garden on Susan's birthday, just when she's contemplating gardens, Jama!
(no subject) - susanwrites - July 24th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
July 21st, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday!!
And I do kind of think you need to plant those nasturtiums! They sound totally happiness-spreading.

I, too, remember first grade, when we brought in broken eggshells and the teacher provided dirt to fill them and seeds. Once beans sprouted, we brought them home. I stuck them beside the house, but was never given instructions, or, more likely, failed to heed them -- it was pretty rocky -- I doubt I could tell a plant from a weed -- and nothing grew. But I can well remember the hope. And going out by the house and staring.
July 24th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday!!
I think I need to plant them too! As soon as I put the courtyard back together after the roof episode.

Yes, it's that hope that I remember too! Thank you for the birthday wishes.
July 21st, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday to you!
July 24th, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jenny!
July 21st, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
I think I invented baby carrots

My garden memory --

One year, when I was 12 I think, I planted my own garden where our above ground pool used to be -- I planted everything from seeds -- beautiful zinnias, delicious green beans

and very small radishes and carrots . . . . because I didn't dig up the earth very much -- so the poor carrots and radishes had a hard time growing to their full potential.

July 24th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Re: I think I invented baby carrots
What a fun memory. Thank you for sharing it and thanks for the birthday wishes.
July 21st, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!

One nifty garden surprise I got the year after we moved into our current house was the columbines along the front steps. I'd never seen columbines before! As you can see from my user icon, they were quite pretty.

Haven't seen them this year, which is a shame, but they were beautiful while they lasted.
July 24th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Oh I love columbines! I had bought some of my native ones to plant in the backyard where I had the perfect spot only I had forgotten they were poisonous so I couldn't plant them where Cassie might eat them. I planted them in the front and they promptly died. sigh.

Thank you for sharing.
July 21st, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)

My fondest garden memories are picking veggies with my dad when I was little. He was an amazing gardener.


July 24th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Aw, daddy memories are the best! Thank you for sharing it and thanks for the birthday wishes.
July 21st, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
The memory that springs to mind is my first medicinal garden. We made a trip to a local nursery and bought everything that even remotely pertained, including catnip. After we planted those, we still had space, so we back and bought cooking herbs.

My cat at that time (a feral stray who became my best bud,) LOVED my garden and would spend his days rolling on the catnip and brushing up against lemon balm, thyme, dill, rosemary, oregano...then he would come sleep with me at night. I still remember how totally wonderful he smelled.
July 24th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
What an absolutely perfect memory of your cat. I love it! Thank you for sharing it and thanks for the birthday wishes.
July 21st, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)

I love to garden, too.

My mother was never a gardener, but she always planted gladiolus. I loved them as a child and whenever I see them, they remind me of childhood.

My first husband's mother was very stiff and stuffy and I never connected with her. I have no idea how the subject of gladiolus came up, but one time she said she didn't like them because they are so "funereal."

I hate that word to describe them.

And I hated that she said that.

Now, when I see gladiolus, I think of my mother and I think of the word "funereal."
July 24th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Oh boy, I hate that you have that gladiolus memory. Ick.
July 21st, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, wait, I forgot another important garden memory: my grandfather had a HUGE vegetable garden and grew peanuts. My grandmother always kept a pot of peanuts boiling on the back of the stove. (A Southern speciality: boiled peanuts)
July 24th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
I like this memory a lot better. LOL. Does it take a lot of room to grow peanuts? Thanks for sharing these.
July 21st, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! Are you scheduling any more social networking classes.
July 24th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
Watch the classes page on my website for more info:

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( 83 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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