In the dead cold of winter, during these short days, there is not much rushing about. It's a good time to read books, drink tea and wrap yourself in a warm blanket. In that spirit I would like to share a story. So pull up a chair, make yourself a cup of cocoa, sit by the fire and join me.
Some of my readers have been around for many months now and you've probably learned a little bit about me along the way. But you might still be wondering about some of the details. A part of my story has been missing until now. I talk a lot about gardening. What I'm digging up most recently and what I'd like to dig up in the future. But how is it that I came to be a gardener? Where did I learn what I know? In fact, what do I really know at all? So this is the start of a series of stories that will hopefully answer some of those questions.
I grew up in a small town called Dawson Creek in rural northern British Columbia. It is a cold place, a gardening zone of only 2. But during the summers thrives a farming community. You can see a glowing example of one of these farms at Melanie's blog, Northern Gardeners Almanac. At school my friends talked about riding horses, driving tractors, and 4H meetings. But I was a town kid. I lived in an apartment over top of an industrial building. How does a small child living in an apartment find out about flowers? Well, like so many other gardeners, my green thumb is hereditary. My mother is a farm girl raised in Saskatchewan. In that prairie province farms spread as far as the eye can see and my mother grew up raising animals and growing vegetables. She carried these skills with her to British Columbia to our small apartment. We didn't have room to grow our own food but every summer we went to u-pick farms and roadside stands and carried our purchases home to be pickled, canned and frozen. I learned to pick strawberries and shuck corn at an early age. Although these activities appeased my mother's need to feed her family she still had the urge to grow her own plants. And so she transformed our living room, crowding it with spider plants, lipstick plants, aloe, jade, ferns and pointsettias, it became as green and humid as any tropical jungle. As a small child the most coveted plant of all to me were the african violets. These fuzzy little plants bloomed almost constantly in shades of pink and purple. Soft to the touch and beautifully coloured they captured my heart. Sometimes, after dinner, when the last of the tea from the pot had cooled, I would be allowed to water the violets with it. Making sure none of the liquid touched their leaves. My lessons in plant care had begun.