Garden Dreams…


Who helped to plant your love of gardening?

Hi Friends!

It seems like just yesterday!

Those golden summer afternoons spent in the garden

while I was growing up are such sweet memories.


My mom was as happy as a lark

tending her beautiful rose garden

and all of the old-fashioned perennial beds

that lined our backyard.


I was as happy as a lark, too,

… sunbathing!

Mom gardened all around me,

while all of my attention was focused on

the latest issue of Seventeen magazine.

While she worked with her pruners, trowel, garden gloves, and flower basket,

my ‘garden tools’ were a beach towel, radio, Coppertone sunscreen, and sunglasses!

(Mind you, I wasn’t a princess! My outdoor chores included mowing the lawn, edging, shoveling snow,…)


When our afternoon work was finished,

Mom and I would sit together in the shade

sipping iced tea and chatting.


Oh, my…

If only I had been paying attention,

learning the names of all the plants and their special needs,

borrowing her tools and lending a hand…


Yet during all of those summer afternoons so long ago,

I was learning something


I saw the joy of gardening in my mom’s smiles

and the peaceful feelings found amongst her flowers!


Many years later,

after college, graduate school, and

teaching for several years,

 I finally saved enough money to buy

a home of my own.

It was a cozy little bungalow,

with a swing on the front porch,

and a large yard filled with garden beds.

(Oh no! Garden beds of my own?)


The previous homeowner had planted lovely perennial beds and colorful annual beds.  My yard was filled with day lilies, still blooming almost thirty years later!

So, I happily watered everything in my garden each day!

My parents would come each weekend

helping to make my dreams come true.

My dad and I would work on restoration projects

and my mom and I would garden together.

Each weekend, Mom would point out the weeds and the flowers.

There was so much to learn!!

(If only I had been helping in her garden while I was growing up!)

Mom was so patient,

  each weekend teaching me how to plant, prune,

and deadhead the spent blossoms.


With Mom’s tender guidance, I grew more passionate about gardening with each passing year!

Over the winter months,

my parents helped my dreams grow

as we worked together

on indoor projects,

like stripping the paint to reveal the beautiful woodwork,

one room at a time.

My little bungalow was slowly,

very slowly,

returning to the original charm of its 1922 roots.

DSCN5366My dreams were coming true,

with the love and help of my incredible parents.

I planted new perennial beds ~ a Friendship Garden and Cutting Garden.

My dad and I worked together one summer long ago, to build my Herb & Tea Garden and an arbor.

Over the winter months,

I brought home armloads of gardening books

from the library,

and read and read…

and dreamed garden dreams.

I reread the same gardening books each winter

for several years…


just like the plants in my garden!


When my parents retired,

it was time to make their new dreams come true,

in the Sonoran desert,

in Arizona!

Now my mom happily gardens with

cacti, succulents, and desert wildflowers.

When I visit her desert garden,

I love learning the names of her flowers,

 trees, and cacti.


When we hike in the desert or walk through the neighborhood, there is always so much to learn about the plants of the Southwest!

Each summer,

when my parents come back to visit us,

my mom always brings her

garden gloves.

She loves the lush green abundance

of the Midwest,

where she learned to garden

when I was very young.

So, my mom and I spend precious moments

working side by side,

in my garden together!


Playing in the garden together last week!

I feel so very


that my mom has shared

her love of gardening

and her gardening knowledge

with me over so many years!


Heartfelt thanks, Mom, for helping my garden dreams come true!

You taught me how to bloom!


Is there someone special in your life

who shared their love of gardening with you?


Thanks so much for stopping by today! I always enjoy our visits!

Sending sunshine!

♡ Dawn

36 thoughts on “Garden Dreams…

  1. How wonderful that you and your Mom have had such a lifetime of gardening together. That is certainly a blessing. 🙂 My Grandmother was the flower gardener and my Grandfather was the vegetable gardener, and I spent summers with them on their small dairy farm in the White Mountains of NH. I always enjoyed her arrangements for the Grange fair and the excitement when she won a ribbon. But, I wasn’t savvy enough to appreciate her gardening skills and to learn from her. My loss. But, I always think of her when I’m gardening and picture her smiling. 🙂

    • Oh, Judy! Your grandparents shared the best of both worlds! How lucky you were to spend summers on the farm with them! They taught you the most important thing… the pure joys of gardening!! Thank you for sharing your lovely memories of your grandparents, Judy! ♡

    • Oh, thank you, Carol! Now you will be able to share your stories about becoming a gardener and your own garden dreams. I’m so happy to share the joys of gardening with you! It’s always nice to share special days with dear friends! ♡

  2. Dawn, Your story brought tears to my eyes. My mom, now deceased, taught me the love of gardening and much like your story, when I finally owned a home, my mom and step dad would come over and help with painting and work inside and out. Many of the plants in the yard where we now live were bought and delivered to us from my mom. My maternal grandmother always told mom and I that we undoubtedly had gardening in our gene pool from her mother, my great grandmother.
    My mom and step dad moved to Sun City West outside of Phoenix, Arizona and we used to visit them. My mom managed to grow some very pretty roses and iris, not plants I would have expected to see in the desert climate, but they were beautiful.

    • What sweet, special memories of gardening with your mom, Karen! ♡ It’s so wonderful that you are caring for so many of your mom’s plants in your own garden today! I have my mom’s rhododendron, yucca, poppies, chives, and a few others in our garden now. Each one is so special to me!! (I probably sat next to them on my beach towel oh-so long ago, but didn’t even notice them! Now I am getting a second chance to enjoy them!)

      I remember that your mom also lived and gardened in Arizona. It’s amazing to learn to garden in a desert climate! I have been learning so much about about the plants in my mom’s desert garden. Over the years, I have collected seeds from her desert wildflowers, but have not been successful growing them in our Midwest garden. On a recent visit, I helped my mom wrap aluminum foil around each orange on their tree. It kept the woodpeckers from poking holes in every orange! I remember visiting Sun City West many years ago. It seems like such a great place to live and play!! Sending huge hugs, Karen! You are a wonderful kindred spirit and special friend! I think our moms might have been great gardening friends, too! ♡

    • Many thanks, Jodi! I love looking back on my gardening journey and remembering the valuable lessons learned. I count my blessings out loud every day for my amazing parents! Big hugs, Jodi! ♡

    • Oh, Anne! I think of you so often. How is your garden enduring the terrible, terrible drought? Wish we could send our rain to California! I have such sweet memories of your visits to our garden (and your snowy visits, too). This summer would be the perfect time to take out your watercolors and paint a garden filled with colorful blooms! Sending sprinkles across the miles, dear friend! ♡

  3. What a beautiful post, dear Dawn! It bought tears of joy to see you and your mother enjoying your garden dreams. You have all the tools to be a wonderful gardener. We don’t realize until we grow older all the wisdom that we can gain from our parents. My dear parents have been gone for a while now, but I have many wonderful memories of sharing gardening joys with them. I wouldn’t know a thing about gardening in the desert. How wonderful you and your mother can enjoy each others gardens. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us! ♥

    • Many thanks, Martha Ellen! I know how very blessed I am to share these special times with my parents {and I never take it for granted}! Sometimes we just have to grow into our BIG dreams… and it takes time and patience! Can you believe after my mom shared her Midwestern gardening wisdom, she is now sharing her Southwest desert gardening wisdom? I am fascinated by the lovely plants that grow in her garden, but still a bit leery of the desert creatures that crawl through her garden!! She has always been much braver than I am! We talk about our gardens on the phone, email photos, sometimes Skype from our gardens… but spending time in the garden together is the very best of all! We both cherish those moments! Thanks for always being here, dear Martha Ellen! ♡

  4. What a lovely post, Dawn, and a touching testimonial to your mom and your dad. When I look back at my early gardening experiences (or lack of), I recall my grandmother. I learned to love gardening from her, though I never planted with her. We learn, sometimes, in those things we observe, either consciously or unconsciously.
    How very rewarding to have had your parents help you as your gardened in your own home, and the turning of the clock as they learn a new way to garden. Life is grand.
    I hope your parents get to read this, especially your mom. 🙂

    • Oh, Penny! You made tears in my eyes! You are so very right. We really do learn by observing. In my teens, I could see that there was something very special about the way gardening made my mom feel! I remembered that feeling throughout my twenties. Then I felt the very strong pull to put down roots of my own ~ with a place to grow a garden of my own! My parents were always there (and still are) helping to make dreams come true! I’m still watching them… and learning so much about life, love, and dreams! Mom and Dad do read my blog, so I think they will be surprised!! 🙂 Huge hugs, dear Penny! ♡

  5. What a sweet story. You have an incredible family. I love your photos, and find the one of you and your mom endearing. My dad was the gardener. Though he died when I was still young, I learned a lot through observation, soaking up his love of plants, flowers, and garden design. I recently framed six of his landscape drawings and have them displayed in our living area and entry way. I always feel close to my dad when I garden.

    • You are so thoughtful, Alys! Your kind words have truly touched my heart. I remember that your dad was your gardening inspiration from the time you were so young. It’s so lovely to carry on his passion for growing and gardening! It’s wonderful that you have framed his landscape designs and display them where they can continue to inspire you! You are still learning from him. What a blessing to feel this strong gardening connection with your dad, Alys! You will always be close in your garden. Thanks so much for being here! ♡

  6. Dearest Dawn ~~~ what a beautiful post! I think people such as you and me are privileged that we both had someone to guide us into this world of magic and wonder. We could have been thrown in at the deep end! Oh! My! It does not bear thinking about.
    Just yesterday, peeking over the gardens of The Shire from the end of my drive, I could see the bright pink rambling rose planted in the garden of the house where I used to live. It was planted many decades ago by my Great Grandfather ~~~ and has spread all along the boundary hedge! Such a sight. Such a tribute!
    Such a beautiful photograph of you and your Mom too ~~~ a real treasure in many ways!
    ~~~Waving from Wales~~~ Deb xoxo

    • We are truly privileged, Deb! We were both given the gift of gardening ~ a gift that will bring us lifelong joy! You took an interest in gardening at such a young age, Deb. Your expertise continues to grow and flourish! I am trying to pass along the gift of gardening to my sweet, six-year-old neighbor, Karla. We planted seeds together last summer. This summer, she comes to ‘help’ me in the garden and is learning the names of some of the flowers (especially the purple ones!). Your long, wonderful family history in the village holds is amazing! Oh, the stories! The gardening legacy of your Great Grandfather continues to bloom in you ~ just like his gorgeous rambling rose! What a gift! It must fill your heart with joy every time you see it! I’m so glad that my brother snapped the photo! It was a small moment in the garden, captured forever! Waving back Across the Pond, dear Deb! ♡

  7. I think of my mom more as the inspiration of the vegetable garden and my dad for the flowers. My mom had a vegetable garden at the retirement community until she was 93. She died the next year at age 94 almost making it to 95.

    • Marcia, how lovely to have two gardeners in your family! No wonder you love your garden so much! It is filled with love and so many memories of your parents. Your mom has taught us the valuable health benefits of gardening, too. Feeling responsible for the care of a garden bed gives us a reason to stay young and active ~ at any age! I just love your story, Marcia! Thanks so much for being here! ♡

  8. That is the sweetest photo of you and your mother, that it caused me to just burst into tears.

    My mother did not garden, and like in so many things I do alone now, she didn’t teach me the love of gardening; I had to find it and cultivate it myself. I am in the process of dredging up memories for some memoir writings, and my mother’s influence was the strongest in the most unlikely places…..but how WONDERFUL to have her still, to be able to say, “My mother taught me this….” – gardening is indeed a joy, a grand privilege to interact with the earth! I love that quiet and the results of our labors. Have a sensational day, Dawn! Anita

    • Oh, Anita! I’m so grateful that my brother snapped the photo of Mom and I last week in the garden. When I look at the photo, so many years of gardening memories and lessons learned come flooding right back to me. My mom and I are so blessed to share this special love of gardening! It is just one of the joys she has shared with me over the years…

      ‘Cultivate’ is the perfect word, Anita! You have such a way with words! It must be such a powerful feeling to unearth forgotten stories as you focus on memoir writing. Photographs hold so many precious, small moments that often turn out to be the BIG moments in our lives! (No one knows the power of a photograph and a well-chosen word more than you, dear Anita!) It must be so wonderful pour yourself into the process of memoir writing, making wonderful discoveries along the way! The pieces of our life seem to come together in our stories!

      Have you been following Susan Branch, as she finishes up her memoir? This week, she is putting the final watercolor brushstrokes on the first volume of her story ~ her early years growing up in California. Oh my! I can hardly wait to read ‘The Fairy Tale Girl’ in just a few more weeks!! I think her memoir might be just your ‘cup of tea,’ too! May you grow and bloom again today, Anita, just like the magnificent flowers in your garden! Your friendship brings me such joy! ♡

    • Such sweet words, Cynthia! Thank you. I know that you and I both share our love of family, flowers, and ‘home sweet home.’The lessons we learn are true gifts of the heart! Thank you so much for being here and sharing! Have fun in the garden today, Cynthia! ♡

  9. Dawn, I could have written this post. My story is so much the same. Although my sweet mother has passed, I know that she’s in heaven looking down on me gardening and smiling. Not only was she an amazing gardener, but a fabulous seamstress as well. There were 3 of us girls in high school at the same time. Me being the youngest. We would choose a dress out of the Seventeen magazine and mom would cut her own pattern and make one that looked identical. My sis won an award in high school for best dressed. I didn’t work in the garden a lot because I was so busy with school activities and working, but I love mowing the lawn. The smell of cut grass is still one of my favorite smells to this day. But somehow I retained the names of plants. My sis that is just a year older than me always wonders why I know the names and she doesn’t. lol! Can’t really say other than I always had a good memory. Not quite what it use to be now days. Love the photo of you and your dear mother. Precious times to enjoy together!!

    • Kindred spirits, Jann! I think our moms could have been friends, too! My mom loved to sew. She always made clothes for us when we were young. By high school age, Mom taught me to make some of my own clothes. She also taught me how to embroider. I would stitch all over my clothes. We were a great wallpapering team, too! I just wasn’t interested in learning gardening skills until much later on. I did love houseplants, though. So, my love of gardening was beginning to ‘grow.’ In fact, the tiny Ficus plant that grew on my bedroom window sill during high school is now a big Ficus tree in our living room! Just imagine the rings in that tree! I know that your dear mom is so proud of all of your creativity and your amazing garden, Jann! Such sweet memories from our happy childhoods! Many thanks! ♡

  10. Hi Dawn! What a wonderful tribute to the special relationship that you and your mom share! You are so blessed to have such wonderful parents! It’s no wonder you’re as sweet as you are! I haven’t had a mentor or inspiration in my life for my love of plants and gardening but my hubby and I have learned together along the way through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. And I find so much inspiration now online from wonderful friends like you and Deborah O. Thanks for sharing! xo

    • Karen, your sweet words really touch my heart! Thank you so much. I do count my blessings out loud every day! It was lovely to have my parents in town for a few weeks for a nice, summer visit. We made lots of nice family memories together! It’s such fun that you have learned to garden together! It’s kind of like ‘Morning Science!’ Your garden always looks so green and lovely! I feel the same way. Reading blogs is like having gardening friends right next door!. Thanks for being here, Karen! You’ve been here right from the start! ♡

  11. Oh Dawn how blessed you are to have your mother by your side in the garden all these years! My mother and grandmother showed me the love of flowers. It’s hard now since my MS has worsen. But I found a lady who has planted flowers in our pots, which now adorn the front porch.


    • Gert, it’s always a treat when you come to visit! Thanks for your sweet words. Learning to garden from your mother and grandmother was truly a gift! I’m happy to hear that you are still able to grow pretty flowers in containers. I’m sure your porch looks so colorful! Some day, I know that I will garden with pots of flowers and herbs. It will be easy to manage and still bring me such joy! Sending big hugs, Gert! Have a good week. ♡

  12. What a truly beautiful post, Dawn—and a wonderful photo of you and your mom! It’s such a special feeling to know that our parents love us and want to help us achieve our dreams, and especially if we can help them achieve some of their dreams as well. Hopefully one day I will have a little bungalow of my own somewhere with a garden as gorgeous as yours. When that day comes, you will surely have to pay a visit!

    • Awwww, thank you, Chris! It’s so true. Families share one another’s dreams and help to make them come true! It feels so good to help make dreams come true! It would be such fun to visit your little bungalow with a big garden someday, Chris. I would even bring my garden gloves along! 🙂 It’s so exciting to watch your dreams grow and flourish! Cherish each day! ♡

  13. That is SO special. I wish someone in my family could have passed down a wealth of gardening, cooking, and housekeeping tips and tricks to me, but my family had other interests, so I have been reading and researching ever since first setting up my own apartment years and years ago, and now I’m looking forward to sharing everything I’ve learned with my children and grandchildren!

    • Heartfelt thanks, Ericka! My parents are such blessings in my life!! Soon it will be my honor to help them to make their lives easier. We have always been a great team. 🙂 It’s so lovely that you can now begin to pass along all of the wonderful things you have learned to your children, and some day your grandchildren! Oh, the wonderful lessons they will learn from you! They are already learning… just by watching and soaking it all in! So happy that you stopped by today, Ericka! Sending big hugs! ♡

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