We had about a half acre of landscaping around our home. My brothers were more interested in mechanical activities so most of the regular gardening jobs such as lawn mowing soon gravitated to me. We had extensive hedges on two sides of our property, and the yearly hedge trimming was a joint project for my dad and me.
My sister was given an area where she grew a flower garden. She was eight years older than me, and I started helping her with the flower garden. When she left home, the flower garden became mine. My sister is still an avid gardener and this joint interest has created a strong bond between us.
My wife is also very interested in gardening. That mutual interest has strengthened our relationship. We enjoy visiting public gardens, nurseries and garden stores together.
It works best for us if we each take charge of one section of our landscape. We have agreed that we don’t make changes in the other’s section without asking.
I had mixed success in working with my own five children in the garden. I’m afraid I was too much of a perfectionist with my older children.
Then I remembered my own experience and gave my youngest daughter a section of the vegetable garden to plant any way she wanted. She promptly decided to plant flowers. We went to the nursery together to pick out flowers for her garden. She would ask me questions such as height, planting distance and shade tolerance as she selected her flowers. She has an artist’s sense of color and texture balance, so her garden was always the prettiest area in the landscape.
Allen Wilson is a Vancouver gardening specialist. [email protected]