By Merilyn Cranford, Somervell County Master Gardener
Since I was a small child, I’ve always enjoyed watching plants grow. I come from a long line of farmers and gardeners. So I guess growing things is in my DNA. As a child I used to watch my great-grandmother till and plant her backyard, making it into a wonderland of vegetables, flowers and herbs. Of course, her son, my uncle, had the equipment for tilling, but she did all the grubbing, watering and planting. Thinking about how hard she worked just makes me tired. But I truly believe her garden kept her active even into her 80s at which time she had to give it up.
Along with the garden, she also planted fruit trees. During the summer months, my mother usually helped her can the fruit or make jellies. I was there watching all the activity and learning from what I saw. Grandmother passed her love of gardening on to my mother, but mother was mostly a flowerbed gardener. She had some of the most beautiful flowers blooming around our home from one season to the next. At my home today, I have some of her irises and when they bloom I always think of her and am so grateful for the blessing she passed on to me.
I can think of nothing better than leaving a legacy of gardening to the next generation. Of my three children, all have inherited the gardening DNA (if there is such a thing!) and we have such fun trying new varieties of this or that and sharing the results with each other.
I spent my childhood in the Dallas area and grew to understand what it takes to garden successfully in the blackland of Texas. But as the years passed I have found myself living in many areas of Texas, from the coastal plains to the areas that border west Texas. In each, I found a challenge that opened up new vistas of learning. I became what I call a “trial” gardener. Try growing something, if it produces, great! If it doesn’t, dig it up and try something else. Through this trial and error method, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. But it wasn’t until 2007 that I really began to learn what it means to know about gardening and put that knowledge into practice.
In the spring of 2007, my husband noticed an article about the next Master Gardeners Training to be held and mentioned it to me in case I might be interested. So I sprang into action and enrolled. How glad I am that I did! The training was interesting and enlightening and as a result I now don’t depend on my trusty “trial and error” method of gardening any more. Best of all, I met some of the most interesting people. People who were interested in gardening, just like me. I might also add that my sister-in-law, who lives in Tennessee, was also enrolled in the master gardeners training in her state. As a result, we have so much in common and so much to share. So the timing for the training was just right and I truly enjoyed all the different lecturers, field trips, and hands-on activities.
Of course, I’m not an authority, but feel like I have just begun learning to garden with a sense of confidence I didn’t have before. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I step back and survey what has been accomplished in a day’s time. I’m tired, yes, and sore as well. But the feeling is good. Why not try it yourself? And don’t forget our new training classes are scheduled to begin this spring. Come join us!