When I am working in my vegetable garden, I can feel my Dad standing beside me, admiring the neatness of the raised beds. I'm sure, too, that he is pleased that I still stake my tomato plants, just like he used to.
When I see the asters blooming in the fall, I think of my aunt, who gave me the asters many years ago. She would enjoy seeing all the other flowers in my garden, too.
When I look at the snowball bush viburnum blooming in May, I am reminded of my maternal grandmother, who had a "snowball bush" in her garden. I think of her, too, when the lily of the valleys bloom and recall the many bouquets of these flowers that we picked for her when my siblings and I were little kids and visited her each Sunday.
When I pick that first 'German Johnson' tomato, I think of my paternal grandmother, a Johnson who married my grandfather, whose relatives all came from Germany. When I pick hot peppers, I remember this grandfather, who ate hot peppers at nearly every meal.
When I plant tulip bulbs in the fall, I recall stories of a great-grandfather who planted many tulips around his home, claiming them as a favorite flower.
And when the violets bloom, I think of my own mother, who loved the little purple violets, most especially those we picked for her. I could never rid my lawn or garden of violets - what would Mom say about that?
Yes, I may garden by myself, but I am never alone in my garden.