Bees and Roses is my blog about the things in life I love: my family, life, and gardening. First of all, I have always had a deep love for my parents. I owe them so much, and Bees and Roses has been a great way to honor them. After all, they taught me to love life and gardening. Bees because they are hard workers and they prove that something so small can have such a great impact (And Dad and I are deathly allergic to them.) Roses in honor of the flower used at my parents’ wedding and for the beauty my mom saw in life despite the ‘thorns.’
To understand how my love of gardening was rooted, it is important to note where I grew up. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our home was on the border of Sugar House and Millcreek about 30 blocks from downtown. Our yard wasn’t big, but typical for a city parcel. Our house was a tiny brick bungalow. Inside, we grew lots of love and outside we grew lots of vegetables. Both of my parents come from farming backgrounds, and it didn’t matter to them how big our yard was. A portion of our yard space would always be set aside for gardening.
Our house faced south which was good for sun exposure in the front, but our garden was in the back and our yard had large pine trees on the west side that could block the much needed afternoon sun from the west. Dad and Mom decided that the area adjacent to the garage would be the garden. It is important to note that SLC is known as a mountain desert area. That means we deal with extreme dry heat in the summer and long, cold winters with snow. Our house was located at an elevation of 4600 ft. As you can imagine, this makes the growing season a difficult task and one that requires dedication and lots of work. My parents weren’t slackers so this wasn’t a big deal.
I grew up with two brothers. One older and one younger. That makes me the middle child. I loved having brothers. We all had chores and it didn’t matter that I was a girl. If you lived at the house, you had to contribute. I had both inside and outside chores. I loved working inside with my mom, but the outside chores were my favorite. I was Dad’s little buddy. As far back as I can remember, I was raking, shoveling, planting, pruning, and cutting the lawn. Dad bought plastic rakes and tools for us to use when we were young and the real tools were too heavy. This made us feel important and part of the team. The value of hard work was also instilled in us. My brothers always did their chores but I was the one who really took to yard work. I enjoyed the “before and after” of trimming the shrubs, the beauty that was brought from planting flowers, and the reward from planting seeds that grew into delicious and nutritious food for our family. Being a tomboy, I also loved the chore of catching grasshoppers.
During the summer of 1979, when I was 11, I was helping Dad with the garden. We needed some supplies and Dad offered to take me along to Lindgrens Nursery. I loved that place, so naturally I wanted to go. It was like being in a candy store. They had just about everything you could ever want or need for your vegetable and flower gardens. Dad needed a few bags of fertilizer. After he paid, I picked up a bag to carry it to the car. I was very small for my age and Mr. Lindgren was surprised that I didn’t hesitate to help. He told me I was the kind of person he wanted working for him. I told him I was available for hire. I loved to work and the idea of working at the “Candy Store” and getting paid for it seemed too good to be true. Believe it or not, Mr. Lindgren had an opening just for me. Dad said he would need to discuss the idea with my mom since I was so young. I’m not sure what convinced my parents to let me work, but I will always be so grateful that they said yes. I was to begin the following Saturday.
Saturday came around and I couldn’t have cared less about the cartoons that had previously been so important. I had a job! That was way more important! Mom packed my lunch, told me to work hard, and do my best. I was so excited to work. My job was in the greenhouses. I was to pull any weed that I saw. The greenhouses were big. To an 11 year- old they looked almost as long as a football field. This didn’t discourage my excitement. As with most jobs, my first day had some hiccups. I was too small to reach the back rows of plants. I was discouraged, but found some old crates to stand on. The problem was solved and I was able to do my job.
You may be wondering what my compensation was back in the day. Let’s just say I make a little bit more now than the $1.00/hour pay in 1979. I didn’t care. In my mind, I was rich. My job would last through the fall until the winter set in. My elementary school was located about seven blocks from the nursery. I only worked two days during the week for a few hours after school. On the days I worked, I would patiently wait for the bell to ring. I would throw my backpack on and happily run to work.
To this day I still love playing in the dirt, pulling weeds, planting flowers, trimming shrubs, helping others with their gardens, and seeing the beauty that I can create. I am now a certified Master Gardener and owe it all to my parents and the values they taught me.
My parents have been gone for years, but through this website I can share with you the love that they rooted in me. I hope to share with you some tips and tricks that can help you grow into the person you want to be.
Thanks for reading and let’s get digging.