This post is going to be about roots.  Specifically, my roots…

Last Sunday, we made a trip down to the city to see my Dad for Father’s Day.  After my mother passed  in 2003, Dad lived with us for a bit, and then a year and a half later, he bought himself a small bungalow, back in the city.  He kept himself busy, fixing the place up, and then, in the spring, he started working in the yard.  Pretty much all the lawn disappeared in the backyard, to be replaced with a patio (with a swinging, canopied bench), and the rest was garden and pathways.

This was not so surprising.  When I was growing up, we had huge vegetable gardens.  A Ukrainian family with 4 kids, living on a 10 acre parcel an hour north of Toronto needed a big garden.

The raspberry patch seemed to go on forever…and the strawberry patch was just as big!

I realized, not long ago, that the gardens were a great way to keep us kids busy, aside from providing us a year-round bounty of delicious food.  Garden chores were always completed before a dip in the modest above-ground pool we had.  Visits to a neighbouring friend were allowed after we had done our contribution, either with picking, weeding, cleaning or cooking.  Mom did have a clever way to help us pass the time while we were working.  Sitting around the table outside, shelling peas or cleaning beans, she would teach us Ukrainian folk songs, and our singing together always made the chores a bit more bearable 🙂

Mom, with the 4 of us. (I was the second-oldest)

The years went by, I got married, with a place of my own, out in the country.  The very first year, it was a given that we would have a garden, too.  Visits home meant coming back with seeds, or transplants, and even trees.  It looked like I was going to carry on the tradition!  Now that we have a market garden, and greenhouse, I really feel like I have come full circle.  Whether I am weeding the carrots, picking peas or watering, I truly feel like I have come “home”.

When we visited Dad on Sunday, I was pleased when he said to me, after lunch, “Shall we go outside to look at the garden?” Visits to my childhood home after I was married always started with a walking tour, no matter if it was hot or raining.  When Mom died, I really missed those meanderings through the gardens, stopping to admire an unusual variety, or just to see how everything was flourishing.  It was so great to be able to do it with Dad now.

The tomatoes (some of them are heirloom seedlings from me) get watered every day!

Cucumbers, getting trained to grow vertically on a trellis

I am so proud of Dad and his accomplishments…at 81 years of age, he would put many younger gardeners to shame with his enthusiasm and knowledge.

The definition of “root” is given as : “The usually underground portion of a plant that lacks buds, leaves, or nodes and serves as support, draws minerals and water from the surrounding soil, and sometimes stores food.”  The way I see it, my gardening roots were my parents, serving as support by giving me so many valuable teachings. I am so grateful that they passed down this legacy, this love of growing delicious, healthy food.  Thank you, Mom and Dad…


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Genevieve on June 22, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Wow. Gorgeous. This touched mt heart. It’s wonderful that your parents provided that for you.


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