Just a Hobby Gardener

“As is the gardener, so is the garden.” – Proverb

This proverb must surely be true, as my father’s gardens were always wonderful.

I found this photo while purging some folders this evening and was struck by the glove in the upper right corner which almost looks as though it is holding a garden tool. You’d realize the cruel irony of this if you knew that my Dad had had a stroke four years ago that left a permanent deficit in his right hand — the hand he used for gardening, painting, carving, and sculpting, the things he loved most.

My Dad never claimed to have a green thumb, but he certainly did. His gardens always overflowed with brilliant tumbles of color, Cut and Come Again zinnias and African marigolds being among his favorites. He started most of his annuals from seed in a tiny, glass hot house, fully equipped with exhaust fans and levered windows he had engineered for hot, sunny days and heat lamps for cold, spring nights. How I loved the steamy, earthy smell inside that little building!

My parents own a large property that has been wonderfully landscaped over the years. If you complimented my father on a particular planting, he would brush the praise away, stating as always that he was “just a hobby gardener”. Though he often feigned indifference, I remember many nights when he would quietly retreat to his hot house before going to bed, just to check the temperature inside. I would see him bend to sniff a colorful bloom at foggy dusk, a smile forming at the corner of his mouth. Or watch a frown crease his forehead as he examined a curled leaf. He was proud of his gardens, though he held no delusions of grandeur.

Much of my interest in nature, plants, and gardening comes from my father. And though he can no longer spend long hours with his hands in the dirt, you can still find him, at age 80, mowing their expansive lawns on his ride-on mower. In fact, he lives for it now more than ever.

As is the gardener, so is the garden, indeed.

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

19 thoughts on “Just a Hobby Gardener”

  1. Wonderful post. I learned my gardening stuff from our Daddy Jake, (Grandpa Mohr)It makes it all the sweeter knowing where we learned it.

  2. There is much wisdom and truth in this proverb, and much love in this tribute to your dad. My love of gardening came from my parents and grandparents. I often plant trees in their memory. Enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog, and will return often. Jon on 3-19-08 at http://mississippigarden.blogspot.com

  3. Dear Nancy, thank you so much for visiting my blog and for commenting on it. In your post I see we have many similar ideas refer to parents and gardens. If you like read my post from the: Lost garden (my mothers garden). In my blog I write in my head line the first german sentence: “the garden is always the mirror of the soul from the gardener.”
    I hope you understand my bad English, I sorry, hope to bee better soon.
    I wish you a great Easter
    Wurzerl

  4. nancy .. what a wonderful post for your dad ! .. and wow .. that glove really struck me too. My potting table and tools need TLC badly .. now I have a guilty conscience ! LOL
    My garden passion came from the erratic stressful life as a military spouse .. when things finally slowed down .. gardening was and still is a healing process for me. It is the love of my life now. I appreciate it immensely.
    Joy

  5. Nancy, this post really struck home. My Dad truly was just a hobby gardener, but he instilled such a love of the outdoors in me. Given a choice he never would choose to be inside. He passed away five years ago and I really miss walking my gardens with him.

  6. Beautiful picture and story. He is a real model of how to live. I love how he is still gardening in a different way. I’m just this year going to grow the State Fair Mix of zinnias.

  7. Nancy,

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. I love being at the age where I am truly able to appreciate the many gifts from my parents. There were many years I didn’t! My father was the gardener and although I didn’t know him, his love of the soil was passed onto his girls.

    Gail

  8. I really loved reading these thoughts about your dad. This was a warm, wonderful post to read. I’m glad you shared these memories.

  9. Thank you all for your very kind comments — I’m glad that this post touched you all in some way. :)

  10. I love your writing style. So eloquent. And I was so inspired by the photo of your grandson that I put my grandson on my blog as well. They’re both cuties!
    Brenda

  11. A beautiful tribute to your father, Nancy. How lucky he is to have a reflective daughter … I do believe, hobbies are passions. My mother first inspired me … then others walked through my life sharing treasured tidbits. My garden is a vignette of those I love.

  12. What a beautiful beautiful post Nancy. And yes, that glove in the photo really does look as though his hand is still within and grasping the tool.

    Thank you for sharing this treasure of a memory.

    Diane

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