Through The Garden Gate: A Simpler Time

To pass through the garden gate, I must pass by my peonies in bloom.

The peonies remind me of a simpler time, when all I knew of “pennies” was that they grew in a bed on the garage side of our house. My peonies are those same peonies, transplanted from that simpler time and place to my own garden.

I remember how my Dad taught us to how to pinch out the side buds and leave the main flower buds so the blooms would be bigger. I don’t do that myself, but sometimes think that I should, just to remember how big those blooms could get.

My Dad often cut the peony blooms early in the morning and gave us bunches of them to give to our teachers. Or sometimes he would cut them and place them in jars of water to take with us on a visit to my grandparents on Memorial Day weekend. Once we arrived at their house, we would spend half the day driving from one little cemetery to another, leaving a few peonies on the graves of great, great-great, and even great-great-great grandparents, learning our family history along the way.

Those were simpler times, when daisies were used to determine “he loves me, he loves me not” or make some other important decision of childhood.
It was a time when I was happy to plant anything, digging in the dirt with a kitchen spoon, dreaming of what my own garden might be like some day.

It was a time when driving out to a nearby woods to hunt for morel mushrooms meant we would return with bags of wild violets to plant, because we knew those were Mom’s favorite flowers.
I want those simpler times in my own garden, to always have a few peonies, a clump or two of daisies, and violets interspersed amongst the flowers. I want to go through my garden gate and be happy with my garden…

And I am.

(Visit My Corner of Katy to see what she and others have going on through their garden gates today.)


Janet Rudolph said…
What a lovely post. Yes, simpler times. Beautiful photos and wwriting
Anonymous said…
What a nice post and nice memories. Much stays the same.
Anonymous said…
It sounds like your father was quite the gardener. It's cool that you've got the same peonies in your own garden. I've read that peony plants can last for decades. And of course daisies and violets definitely have their simplistic charms, don't they?
Those peonies seem like lovely old romantic flower. Can't believe you had a frost last night, although both day and night temps dropped 20 degrees (from 76/96 to 56/76) in Austin. Here, though, it was a heavenly respite.
What a wonderful post! How lovely to have those same peonies in your garden to remind you of that simplier time. I always think of my grandmother when I see peonies, and I can hear her in my head saying, "Pee-o-nies". I think I garden to continue a tradition--a connection to my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.
Town Mouse said…
Yes, I often think of my mother when I plant something new, or see a newly-opened bud... and cherish the memories.
Unknown said…
What a precious post! Simpler times, sigh....Daisies were a great help in solving lifes big questions!
Carol said…
Very Very touching! So true too! Walking through the garden gate... no twitter except the varied songs of birds. Lovely memory of your father... thanks so for sharing and reminding of simpler times we can still cultivate in our gardens and lives.
Kathy said…
I think it's great that you could visit so many of your ancestor's graves and learn your family history as you decorated them. We uproot ourselves so often in the U.S. we hardly realize what we miss by not staying in one place for a long time.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Carol, thanks for joining me in looking through the garden gate! A garden is so many things to each of us: living memories are one of the best, I think. Here's to your dad, who obviously had a great deal to do with your becoming a gardener.
Carol, that was one of the sweetest posts I think you've ever written. I loved hearing about your dad and your family. I have violets all over my woods. Would your mom like some?~~Dee
Nan said…
Wonderful post. I love the memories, and I love the idea of a simple garden. I enjoy 'working' in a garden, but mostly I like to sit and look at the beauty.
Memories are such an important part of gardening. You are lucky to have the heirloom Peonies from your dad's garden. They are lovely, and I bet they smell wonderful too. I learned a trick for cutting Peony flowers from Roy Klehm: cut the flowers when the bud is just showing color. That way you can get the ants off, and the flower will open in the house.
What a sweet nostalgic post Carol. I love garden gates. They are an intrigue. I always want to see what is behind those gates.
So many touching images here, thank you!
Nicole said…
What lovely sentiments and childhood garden memories.
Rebecca said…
I, too, associate peonies with Memorial Day. Occasionally my grandmother would pick them and store in the bottom drawer of refrigerator to keep them until "Decoration Day"....
Your post brought back similar memories. My grandmother did not garden, but I grew up loving violets because she had them in her lawn at one of her places. I have some in my veggie garden that I have to keep in check.

Daisies were one of the first kind of flowers I grew, and I still grow them.

I am fortunate to still have 3 of the peony bushes my mother-in-law planted here.

Thanks for sharing what's behind your garden gate.