I have a small plaque in my yard which states: Time Began in a Garden.  For those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, this makes sense since this was where Adam and Eve made their entrance onto the world’s stage at a Garden in Eden.  Along with the snake.
All my life I have had an association with a garden first as an observer when my mother worked in hers and later as an adult with I practiced the art of cultivation, often badly, but then arguably there is almost as much pleasure derived in working in a garden and seeing it grow as there is enjoying from it the fruits of one’s labor.
I say I grew up on a farm and that is almost correct, but actually I grew up at a home what was the headquarters of a farming operation.  Everything was here, the equipment, tools, out buildings, blacksmith shop, grist mill, all kinds of live stock and a pony including quail and peacocks plus fruit trees and grape vines along with pecan and walnut trees. It was to me like Eden.
The vegetable garden was beside our home then located facing what is now Elkins Road.  Since the garden was adjacent to a wooded area, it was necessary to have a fence which my mother used to an advantage other than for animal protection. Because the rows could not be mule-plowed at the fence, she used that space to have her herb garden, used mostly for seasoning when pork was processed in the fall.  Ever a lover of flowers (she made time for this even with nine children) she used ‘unused’ space for plants mostly from seed she saved from the previous season.
What sticks in my mind was the view of the c. 25×50’ garden as seen from our dining room just a few feet to the east of the fence.  I will always remember that she had planted different colors of sweet peas along the 6’ high fence and during spring it was a glorious sight. To the north of the garden was part of the home’s yard which included one dogwood tree that was literally covered with a Wisteria vine, purple.  This tree held a special place in my heart since it was the final resting place for our pet, a terrier names Gypsy who ignored ‘don’t’ rules.  At an earlier time (the home was built in 1926) there was a Magnolia tree present but it proved to demand too much attention.
My first and only attempt to use a plow pulled by a mule was in our garden.  My Daddy showed me how it was done but somehow, the lesson did not take.  I even have a ‘garden’ this year.  It consists of one Parks’ Whopper tomato (in a container with a wire support: $9/99), one Bell pepper and one cucumber both waiting to be given an earthly home.
But there is always the Farmers’ Market.  And friends.
Bill Lee, PO Box 128,
Hamer, SC 29547

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