Who Was Your Garden Mentor?

For a week I have pondered this question. I must have the worst memory because I can’t recall any particular one person that inspired me to start gardening. My mom and grandmother always had a few flowers but were so busy raising children that little time was spent outside. Over the last few days I have been looking through old photo albums to see how my gardens were way back when.

I bought my first home in the late 1970s and remember building a small rock garden in the backyard and having a row of Sweet William to grace the path leading to our front door. Then children and working full time got in the way for a while.

backyard 1980


Its wasn’t really until 1987 when I purchased a home on my own that a real garden started to develop. It’s funny to look back now at what I planted then. My gardens were full of the usual Marigolds, Alyssum  and Sweet Peas with a few perennials thrown in. One thing that did inspire me during these years was the fact that I signed up for a subscription to Gardens West magazine. I would read them from cover to cover and learn more and more about gardening. This magazine was just right for a new gardener.

backyard 1980 1

As I learned more, my garden grew, I used different plants and three years later I decided to take a master gardener course at VanDusen Botanical Gardens. What was I thinking!? Not that the course isn’t wonderful with speakers from all over to teach you about gardening but now I could diagnose every pest in the garden. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I was out noticing everything that was going wrong in the garden instead of enjoying it.

backyard 1980 2

Obviously I must have been outside a lot. Her my daughter, Julie, was already starting to help. She now has her own garden and grows on a condo balcony, bless her.

After doing the course to become a master gardener, I found it wasn’t enough. I decided to  go to university and get my diploma in horticulture. Of course, I did it the hard way through distance learning from University of Guelph while working and raising four children. The professors I had really inspired me in my studies. They were always open to any questions I had.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day- May Flowers 2012

Life has evolved a lot since then. I have moved twice and now garden on half an acre. I  garden organically and the birds take care of my pests. I don’t stress if a plant dies.That just means it didn’t pay the rent and I can buy a new one. I no longer subscribe to garden magazines. I enjoy learning from design experts by attending seminars at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I joined a local garden club and they have mentored me. So it isn’t just one person that has been my inspiration, its been many. From the books, gardening friends and gurus, they have shaped my garden world.

Today I am writing as a link to the Grow Write Guild over at You Grow Girl. Thank you Gayla for initiating the prompts. Its fun to look back.

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