Spring is less than two weeks away. Although this has been a fairly mild winter everyone is always ready for spring this time of year.
One sure sign of the upcoming spring season is the arrival of seed and plant catalogs. We received over a dozen catalogs this year, many more than we usually do. We usually don’t receive flower and seed catalogs, mainly because we don’t order seeds or plants by mail.
Why all the catalogs this year? They were sent to my mom, but forwarded to our address. We are still getting mail intended for her.
My mom was an avid flower gardener. Actually, my dad enjoyed working in the yard as much as she did and they had a beautiful yard. They took a lot of pride in their yard and they spent many hours planting, grooming, and tending to it. It was one of their favorite pastimes and, as a result, their lot was always a show-place.
They once had a small vegetable garden and a few fruit trees in back but mainly my mom grew flowers. At one time she had over 100 rose bushes. Most of them were along the fence surrounding their yard and around the back lot but she also had a small rose garden east of the gazebo.
She definitely had a green thumb and she nurtured some of her plants all winter long. In the fall she would pull up her geraniums and winter them over in their sun porch, setting them in the room’s south window. In late winter the catalogs would arrive and she would pore over them, planning and making sketches of her intended flower bed plantings for that year. Then she would order the seeds and start them indoors. Those fragile little seedlings. Some would make it and some would not, but most did survive for her. There were a few years when she used a grow-light in the basement. The fragile little plants would arrive from the plant retailers later, at planting time.
Every spring my parents planted a lot of flowers. After all, there were a lot of beds to be planted in their yard. Most areas contained some perennials, around which they would fill in with annuals. There were several beds around the yard, the area around the house and around the gazebo, the planter attached to the house and the planters by the driveway, the area by the fence, the boardwalk going to the gazebo, and the rose garden and vegetable garden. It was a lot to plant and maintain! I remember one year they planted over 300 plants. Some were started from seed, others were mail-order, and the geraniums were the ones my mom had wintered over.
Both Grandma Miller and Grandma Schumm always had very nice vegetable gardens and Grandpa Schumm had massive hedges that once surrounded their house east of Willshire.
As the years went on it became more difficult for my parents to maintain all the flowers and plants. They took out the vegetable garden and the rose garden and cut down the fruit trees. Some of the roses died along the fence and my mom gave away some of the other roses.
My dad bought a Gator to get around the yard easier. He was so proud of that vehicle.
After my dad died my mom planted more perennials and fewer annuals. That was less work and she had fewer flowers, but her yard still always looked nice.
And the new owners continue in that same tradition.