Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Along the Border

A mound. A border. Bark dust. Ground cover. Cactus. Palm fronds. Different strokes for different parts of the country.

One of the first things I noticed when we moved to Oregon were the front yards. Front yards were landscaped with native plants and rocks. Unusual plants and flowers seemed randomly placed but were indeed planned. It is easy to look away from the norm where you live, and fascinating to look back at what was so common during those growing up years.

Margaret Stager had a row of gladiolas across the back of the house where the lawn was separated from the field. Mother had a similar row between the yard and the field, but her row consisted of irises. Mom Johnson had hosta along the house. Mom and Dad also planted zinnias and marigolds to deter garden pests. When I return to Ohio, I notice that the tradition continues. A lovely tradition.

When we received tulips from our friends from The Netherlands, Mom and Dad planted them in a row between the yard and garden outside of the kitchen window. Years later the garden would move to the back of the barn and the yard expanded. The tulips were mostly gone and other perennials had taken their place. The row of flowers that make the farm all that much more lovely.

I love to think that flowers had been shared with neighbors when the bulbs and tubulars were separated. Seeds shared friend to friend. Generation after generation possibly enjoyed blooms from those early plants.

Flowers often sat in our kitchen, but more times the flowers gave a beautiful landscape to look upon. A place for butterflies, bees and the noses of little girls.

In July, I will return to once more see the rows of flowers along lot lines, fence rows, lawns. I didn't really see them when I lived on that farm back Neff Road. Yet in my heart I see them still.

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