Garden Wrecker

Having been a part of a family that moves around like a pack of nomads through the years, I have had multiple different encounters and grown relationships with neighboring families. There have been little kids I was able to befriend and even some elders that I could always count on for some homemade cookies or hard candies whenever a visit was scheduled. Almost every single one of these relationships has flourished into friendly connections. All but one.

There was a lonely old man that lived on the very end of my poorly paved cul de sac growing up, his name was Stanley, I vaguely remember my parents referring to him as “Old Man Stan” from time to time. He was a very secluded man that lived in a quaint little brown house, not much to look at…until you entered the backyard. He was a master in disguise when it came to gardening. Stanleys’ backyard seemed to proliferate every single day, a new bloom of vibrant colors and scents always adding character to his artwork of a garden. With no kids or a wife this seemed to be his one passion, a sort of prized possession his garden was.

One scorching summer day I decided to take my energetic puppy Tucker for a walk down the street, the air conditioned rooms in my house not really cutting it, so I thought that some fresh air and a nice breeze would do us some good. Tucker was big for his age, growing rapidly each day as a black Labrador usually does. My stature as an eleven year old was not exactly sturdy enough to tame the wild beast. Walking past Stanleys’ house I noticed a bunny peeking from the beautiful backyard of Stanleys’ house. Immediately I panicked knowing Tucker well enough to know that if he sees this Bunny he will most definitely try and pounce.

Tucker waiting to go on his eventful walk.

Before I could even take a breath my hand was abandoned by Tuckers black leash, looking up I saw it flapping through the air, his panther like body sprinting towards the poor bunny. No matter how fast I ran I knew the outcome of this chase would end terribly. By the time I caught up with tucker he had made his way around the whole garden, his massive paws leaving indents in the once perfectly laid out soil. The hydrangeas that were once standing up towards the sun now smushed to a pulp in the dirt. Tucker sat knowing what he had done, with his face down buried in his paws. Before Stanley could make it outside I grabbed Tucker and we made it back home thinking that we were in the clear. That is until my mom got a call about a ruined flower plot and the paw prints that were left behind as evidence.

Mom’s Project

Growing up, I lived in an enormous house that my dad built with his own two hands. Both the back and front yard had a tremendous amount of freshly mowed grass to play on and a playground in the back, that was greatly appreciated by my three siblings and I. We lived a life that was strictly based on outdoor activities. No matter what the climate consisted of, we bundled up in the snow and we slapped on sunscreen during the hotter days.

My older sister Maggie and I playing on our playground.

I remember one beautiful spring day my siblings and I were playing whiffle ball in our back yard when my mom came marching down the back deck stairs, a bin overflowing with various gardening instruments nuzzled in her arms. She headed towards a patch of dirt in the corner of the yard and yelled for all of us to come to her. We circled around the patch of dirt and she said, “We are going to get our hands dirty and plant some flowers, whether you all like it or not.” That’s when we got to work.

Every day after school my siblings and I were allowed to watch a half hour of television including a snack, then we were told to report to the backyard to help my mom on the flower garden. I would always wear these pastel pink gardening gloves that ended up molding to my small hands by the time the garden was finished. Most of the time I would play with the worms and dig holes in unnecessary places, my mom was more lenient with my gardening duties, seeing as I was the youngest.

A few months had passed and our job was done, we had cleaned up a dusty old corner in our gigantic backyard and devoted it to this colorful canvas of flora. There were tulips, bleeding hearts, daises etc. exploding with beauty. I think that one of the best moments that came out of that garden was seeing how happy my mom was after accomplishing such a tedious and time consuming task, bringing her children together to create something so undeniably gorgeous.

My sister Maggie and I posing in front of our garden.