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My Gardening Story – Grandma Middleton

If there is one person in my life that has had a the most significant influence on my passion for gardening, it is the Grandma on my father’s side. For the 14 years of my life that she was alive, she embodied everything that I imagine when I think of a passionate gardener. I was very close with Grandma Middleton, spending a lot of time over at her house and therefore a lot of time in her garden.

Here are links to all other topics covered in the My Gardening Story series:
Summary and free ebook
The beginnings
Grandma Middleton
Grandma Tysoe
‘Nan’ Croxford
My Parents
My First Garden
Plants I grew up growing, Part 1
Plants I grew up growing, Part 2
Plants I grew up growing, Part 3
Growing Vegetables
Starting Aussie Green Thumb: Part 1 – The Business
Starting Aussie Green Thumb: Part 2 – Starting the Blog
How I Became Aussie Green Thumb

I learned how to trim plants by trimming her hibiscus hedge. I learned to deadhead flowers on her roses. I learned what plants were weeds and what were seedlings she had planted in her garden. In fact whenever I would stay over at her house, when I woke up at about 7 am, I would always find her outside pottering around in the garden: 10 minutes deadheading, 25 minutes watering, 10 minutes weeding. Just a rough approximation of how she started her day.

I learned from her that sweet pea’s need something to climb up. I learned how to make a soil mound around new plants to make sure that when they are watered, the water goes to the plant and does not run away. I even learned that a grandma can be quite sprightly when she discovers an unwanted cat in her garden!

A lot of my passion for gardening comes from the fact that I had so many good memories with my Grandma Middleton in the garden. I think, in a way, every time I am in the garden now, I almost feel like I am spending time with my Grandma, so it makes every gardening experience a special experience. And that is the thing about gardening. It is not just about what your garden looks like, but who you get to share it with. Anybody with a good garden wants to show it off to their closest friends and relatives because there is something special about sharing a nice garden with good people.

Another great aspect of my gardening experience with my Grandma is that she made it fun. It was not a chore to pull out weeds. It was not a chore to trim the hedges. Somehow, in spending the quality time in the garden with her, what many people see as annoying tasks became great little social occasions. Perhaps that has also had a great deal of influence over why I enjoy gardening so much! However you look at it, I owe a lot to my Grandma Middleton for instilling in me a sense of pride in gardening and a willingness to learn and grow new things.

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  • Your grandma sounded like a wonderful person 🙂 My mum is my influence. I don’t think she ever thought I would be a gardener though, I always hated getting dirty as a kid lol. What kid doesn’t like getting dirty? I was such a little weirdo. 😛

  • aussiegreenthumb

    I don’t know Kyna, I’ve met many kids afraid of dirt! Then I guess that has normally been more scared of what might be IN the dirt.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Meryl McCartney

    James, your recollections stir some of my own – as you Grandma Middleton’s eldest daughter, I also benefited from her love of gardening – your memories brought to mind how I and my brothers and sisters (probably before your Dad was born) used to all have our small vegetable garden, one plot beside the other, at the bottom of the large vegetable garden our mother used to cultivate. That experience engendered a connection with the earth and the rhythm of the seasons which continues to be strong to this day – we now have an English vegetable garden in the summer in our back yard – everything is just sprouting – wonderful.

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