Can you remember your first attempts at flower gardening?

Discussion in 'Flower Gardening' started by sewNsow, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Palustris

    Palustris Young Pine

    Jan 10, 2006
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    Our house had a long back yard, surfaced with tiles. These had been laid on a bed of foundry ash. Many of them were loose and fairly easily lifted. My father had just completed, with my help (getting in the way, he said) changing the old wash-house into a large kitchen. One of the things that we put in was a long picture window. That and the loose tiles gave me an idea. I now knew exactly where I was going to put my garden. I measured the new kitchen wall. There was enough room to make a bed 12 feet long and 3 feet wide. Only 36 square feet, but it was the best I was going to get.

    Somehow I had to prove that nobody would miss that part of the yard and that Mum could still hang out her washing. First of all I filled the area with my go-cart (wooden box, plank and pram wheels), bits of bicycle and lots of other things. None of it was quite rubbish, that would have been given to the binmen. The soil was another problem all together. One Saturday morning at the beginning of March, Stew, my best friend, came into the yard.
    "The Sycamore Avenue gang have challenged us to a game of Rugby on the Rec. field, are you fit?" He asked.

    I was always ready to play Rugby, except at school. "When?"

    "This afternoon," said Stew. "Simon's gone to call for everyone else."

    "We need more than seven, there's at least twenty of them." I said.

    "I know," replied Stew. "You and me have got to go and ask the Foster St. mob if they want to play."

    "OK! Mum, I'm off out." After my sledding troubles I had to keep her informed of my whereabouts.

    She came to the back door, "Where to?"

    "Down Foster Street to make up a Rugby team. Can I play this afternoon on the Rec field?" I was hopeful. I had been good....ish.
    She nodded, "Be careful."

    “OK, Mum. See you later."

    It did not take long to round up six bodies from Foster Street and after lunch we met the Sycamore Rd. Gang on the Recreation ground. This was an area of Rugby and Football pitches owned by the Council. They did not stop us using the pitches on Weekdays as long as we kept well away from the Cricket square and any mid week proper games, which we did. It was not far from home.
    Simon said. "I'll be captain."

    "No, you won't" said Noddy. "It's my ball so I'm captain."

    Simon muttered but had to agree.

    Noddy tossed up and won which was no surprise as he used his special coin. The game began. It lasted all of five minutes. While all the players stood in a circle arguing about the rules a man came out of one of the gardens of the houses that backed onto the field. He was pushing a wheelbarrow full of garden rubbish. This he tipped onto a mound of soil at the edge of the field. Obviously seeing and hearing the argument he left the barrow and came over to us.

    "Now then!" He said. "What's going on here?"

    The position was explained to him.

    "Right," he said. "Give me five minutes and I' ll referee for you."

    As promised, five minutes later he was back. He was wearing boots and had a whistle. The game began again. It was a grand afternoon. Not only did he control the game, but he also seemed to know everything about Rugby. He turned the game into an immensely enjoyable coaching session. We lost the game by a couple of points, but it did not seem to matter. We had enjoyed ourselves far too much to complain. I had not played that well though my mind was elsewhere, on a mound of soil to be exact.

    The man said, "Thank-you for an enjoyable afternoon." We were so surprised at him thanking us we almost forgot to thank him.

    Before he reached his garden I caught up with him.

    "Er. Mister."

    "Yes, son?"

    Thanks for refereeing, it was great."

    "My pleasure!" He smiled.

    "Er," I was a bit uncertain how to ask and the words came out in a rush. "Does this mound of soil belong to anyone?"

    "Not really, that I know of, its mainly garden rubbish that won't go on the compost heap. It's been thrown here for years. Probably good soil by now. Why?

    I answered with another question. "If someone came and took some of it away would anyone be, er,angry?"

    "I doubt it, why?"

    He looked like the kind of bloke you could trust. I told him. He did not laugh or tell me not to be silly instead he asked me a few questions about my plans and gave me some advice. He suggested standing the tiles upright around the garden to increase the depth of soil and to save a bit of digging.

    Finally he said. "I'll not let anyone stop you from having some of that soil." He stopped and looked at me for a moment. "If you go ahead with this come and see me at Easter and I'll let you have some Sweet Pea plants."

    I could not thank him enough, but he just said, "You'd better hurry or your mates will go without you."
  2. Palustris

    Palustris Young Pine

    Jan 10, 2006
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    I went. When I got home I got changed and had a wash. Before tea I went into the yard and began tidying up my 'rubbish'. It did not take long to have the area clean.

    At tea that evening, when we were all round the table, I said, "I've been thinking."

    Dad said," I'll get the thermometer, he must be ill."

    Mary sniggered. I ignored the insults and pressed on. "That stuff of mine in the yard was not in your way was it Mum?

    "I didn't fall over it," she said. "But it was dreadfully untidy. Why?"

    "If I took up the tiles where that rubbish was, there would be enough room to make a little garden," I said.

    "You and your stupid gardening again," sneered Mary. "You can't make a garden in the yard it would be in Mum's way."

    I bit my tongue. I was determined not to get into a row with her. That would only make my parents annoyed. I looked across at my Dad. You could tell he was thinking because his forehead was wrinkled. He said nothing though. He usually waited for Mum to decide anything.

    "It would be nice to have a bit of colour in the yard." Mum said slowly. "But Mary's right, the yard is too small."

    "But you just said that all that stuff of mine wasn't in your way. It will only take up the same amount of room." I was sweating a bit.

    Mum and Dad exchanged glances. They did not seem to need to speak to know what the other was thinking. Funny that. "What about soil? It's only cinders under there and even I know nowt'll grow in that." Dad asked.

    I was ready for that one. I explained about the soil on the Rec. Field and about the man. I finished with, "He promised me some Sweet Pea plants, so I can't let him down can I?"

    “No, I suppose not," said Mum with a smile.

    I was winning.

    Mary said, "I think it's a daft idea."

    "Nobody asked for your opinion," said Dad, "You can go and wash the dishes while we talk about it."

    Mary went off in a huff. I did not let even the merest glimmer of a smirk cross my face. That would have been fatal. My parents wanted to know everything about 'the man' and whether the soil really was free to take. I really was sweating when Mum finally said, "Alright, your Dad will check if it is OK. to take the soil. If it is you can do it."

    I beamed.

    "But!" she went on, "You'll have to look after it when it is finished."

    "I will, I will, I promise!" I was so excited I flung my arms round her.

    "Get off, you daft clot. You'll spill my tea." she said, but I could see she was pleased.

    "I've got one question," said Dad. "Why Sweet Peas?"

    "Uncle Frank" I began.

    "'Nuff said," smiled Dad. The week went by agonisingly slowly until Dad came in from work on Friday evening. "I've been talking to your soil man. Did you not know who he is?" he asked.

    "No! Why?" I was puzzled, What did it matter who he was?

    "You are very lucky, his name is Joe Pickering," he went on.
    I was still puzzled.

    "He was one of the best Rugby referees I have ever seen. He retired a couple of seasons back," finished Dad.

    "What about the soil?" That's all I wanted to know about.

    "He says it is OK. You can take as much as you want as long as you leave the field tidy." said Dad with an even bigger grin on his face.

    I cheered.

    Mary sniffed. "I still think it's a daft idea. And he'll get fed up with it by next week. And someone else will have to clean up the mess. And I was going to keep my things there."

    Before I could say anything Dad gave her a hard look that sent her scurrying quickly upstairs.

    Next morning I was up at the crack of dawn, well half past eight. The tiles were easy to lift and I stacked them carefully out of the way. Then I began to dig out the cinders. We had no wheel barrow so I loaded them into a bucket lashed onto my go-cart.
    Opposite our house was an open space that we called Andy's Bank. It was about 50 yards square and already covered in cinders. All the children in the roads used it as a playground. Over the years it had been used as a sand pit by many generations of children. My cinders were just right for filling in the holes.

    Bob came to see what I was doing. Since there was nothing else to do, and he liked grubbing around in the dirt, he joined in. Next Grubby turned up with his go-cart. Noddy and Stew brought spades. Finally Peter and Simon arrived. The whole gang were happily filling buckets and tipping the spoil on the bank.

    I was very clever not one of them was asked to help. They all volunteered. Nor did I tell them why we were digging the trench. I gave them the impression that I was doing a job for my father.
    When I went in for a drink, Mum was in the front room looking out of the window. From there she had a good view of Andy's Bank. She was laughing.

    "What's tickling you?" I asked.

    "Just look at that," she gasped.

    I looked at her a bit worried. I had never heard her laughing like that before. Then I looked out of the Window. Stew, Grubby,

    Noddy and Bob appeared to be doing some sort of dance on the bank. They had their arms linked and they were shuffling round in a circle stamping their feet every now and then. They looked like something out of Zorba the Greek. I had to admit they did look funny.

    "Don't let them see you, Mum or they'll stop." I warned her.

    "What on earth are they doing?" she asked between giggles.
    I told her," They are flattening out the cinders from the back yard."

    "I see, Ah well, I suppose I'd better get on." She took a deep breath and went off upstairs.
  3. Palustris

    Palustris Young Pine

    Jan 10, 2006
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    With all of us working it did not take long to dig out the dirt to about 18 inches deep. The next step was to fetch the soil. I wanted the gang to help with that as well, but I did not think they would do it just as a favour for me. I did have a plan.
    "Did you hear what one of the Sycamore Avenue Gang found on the edge of the Rec. field?" I asked when we were all sat in our yard, drinking some of Noddy's Mums home made Ginger Beer
    They all shook their heads. "What?" asked Stew.
    "A real Roman coin." I said.
    "Rubbish!" Grubby snorted.
    "Honest!" I protested, with fingers crossed. "It was in a mound of soil at the top end. I'll bet there's more there."
    Noddy looked interested, "We could go and have a look.
    "We could be rich," said Simon
    "Come on lets go now," said Peter, jumping up
    "Hang on a bit," I said, "we don't want anyone knowing what we're doing. They'll only want a share. We should bring the soil back here, sieve it and then no-one but us will know when we find the treasure.
    "What do we sieve it through?" Bob asked.
    "Oh, that's no problem." I said airily, "Look at this." I went to the coal shed and brought out a garden riddle which I had borrowed from Uncle Fran
    "Great!" said Simo
    "ER, What are we going to do with the soil afterwards?" asked Noddy
    "Oh, I hadn't though of that," says I, looking around as if for inspiration. I managed a big grin. "I know, we'll put it in the trench.
    "Won't your Dad shout?" asked Bob
    "Not when he sees all the gold coins we'll find." I said. That settled it. Go carts were rounded up, mother's buckets lashed to the seats, a variety of digging implements acquired, with or without owner's consent and the Rec. Field Grand Treasure Hunt got under way
    On the field I showed the gang the mound of soil. They started digging while I took a message from my mother to Mr. Pickering
    "I've come for the soil," I told him
    "Do you need any help?" he asked
    "The gang have offered to move it," I said, "But don't say anything to them or they might get embarrassed and go home.
    His eyes twinkled. "What yarn have you spun them?" He asked
    He was too nice to lie to so I told him about the treasure. He laughed and laughed
    "You'd better make sure they find something, or they'll tear you to pieces." He could hardly speak
    "I'll think of something, I'll have to." My plan making had not got that far
    Still choking he said, "Let me know when you are on to the next to the last load and I'll see what I can do. Now buzz off before I laugh myself sick.
    I buzzed off
    We worked hard until darkness, digging, wheeling and sieving. The small amount of stones, roots and other rubbish I took back myself. The soil went in to the trench. We found no Roman coins, but Simon found a penny so the day was not entirely wasted. When it was time to stop the trench was full
    Next morning I used the tiles to build a wall round the garden. Mum was very nice, mainly because I had very carefully cleaned up the yard and had a bath without groaning. She said, "For once you can miss Church, you'll want to get that finished while the weather's nice.
    The gang were all Catholics and went to early Mass. They turned up still full of enthusiasm for the Hunt. By lunch time though, with no treasure they were beginning to get fed up. I reckoned one more load would do it
    I nipped into Mr. Pickering's garden and told him, "We'll be back for one more lot.
    "Righto," he said. "Just make sure you dig in the same place next time.
    Mystified I nodded. The last trip was the most successful. It was Bob who caused it. Digging away half-heartedly with his mother's coal shovel he suddenly gave a yell and started scrabbling with his hands. Seconds later he was on his feet dancing around clutching something. When we finally caught up with him he displayed a beautiful golden coin. That did it. Every one started digging feverishly, filling the buckets until the carts creaked.
    Except me, I was not as gold struck as the others. My eyes kept straying to Mr Pickering's hedge where I could hear rustling.
    Back at home the soil was sieved and a further thirteen coins uncovered. Six very excited and one worried boys gathered round to share out the spoils. While they had been frantically sieving I had taken a look at the coins. It struck me as odd that Roman coins should have the head of Queen Elizabeth II on them. Even I knew she was not that old
    It was Grubby who discovered that the outer gold covering came off, revealing, not more gold, but chocolate. "It's a swizz!" He shouted "A dirty con trick
    "Don't look at me!" I protested. "I didn't put them there." That was true
    They were all annoyed
    "Well I'm sorry" I said. "Oh heck!" I looked grim."How am I going to explain filling up the trench to me Dad?
    They began to collect up their spades and things
    "I'll bet me Dad makes us take it back." I went on
    They began to back out of the yard
    "Aw come on lads you wouldn't leave me to do it all on my own, would you?" I begged
    "Oh yes we will," said Simon.
    "You miserable lot!" I shouted
    That brought my mother out. "What's going on here then, who's fighting?
    That was enough for the gang, they left in a hurry
    "What’s up with them then?" She asked
    "Nothing!" I was all innocence
    "You got you soil then, I see. Any bother?
    "No!" I said grinning" Easy as ...............eating chocolate." There's only this one load of rubbish to take back.
    "Brush up the yard when you come back and dinner will be ready." She said as she went in
    I was happy to do it
    At Easter my Dad gave me the choice of Easter eggs or money. I took the money and bought three rose bushes, some seeds and canes for the Sweetness. Grandad Acock gave me a trowel and Granny Jones a bag of fertiliser. On the first day of the Easter holiday I went to see Mr. Pickering
    "Come for your plants? "he smiled
    "Yes please if that is all right with you?
    "It is a pleasure," he said. "I haven't laughed so much for years. Are your mates speaking to you yet?
    "Yeah, they saw the funny side of it in the end, and they did get some chocolate." I said
    In his garden frame was a box of Sweet Pea plants. They were even labelled with my name I could only say "Thank-you" in a very small voice
    Planting was easy and then it was only a question of waiting. Those plants were the most cared for, cosseted, loved plants ever. They grew and they flowered, huge sweet smelling blooms on long straight stems. The crowning glory came when Uncle Frank did as he had boasted and won first prize at the local flower show with his Sweet Peas. He offered Grandad Jones a bunch for Granny Jones. Grandad looked at them and said, "No thanks our Billy's are better than those."
    Uncle Frank came rushing round. His face when he saw my blooms made all the effort worthwhile.
    Mr. Pickering had done me proud.

    I kept that little garden going until we moved house when I was sixteen, then exams and university and work got in the way until we bought our first house when I started again. And guess what I grew first!
    Jerry Sullivan likes this.
  4. Zoey

    Zoey New Seed

    Dec 28, 2018
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    I can. I was about 6 and my mother had everything ready as she was a gardener. I pushed in bulbs under her sharp eye and covered them with soil. I diligently watered them and when they flowered I was real happy, but she was farm more happy. Over the years she slowly realized that her daughter enjoyed gardens but not gardening! But when the grand-daughter came along and the same experiment was repeated, she took to it like duck takes to water. They spend a lot of time together in the garden. My mother takes her to nurseries where she's introduced to a bunch of things. My daughter's contribution used to be to take notes of things my mother wanted to recall later. She had a little book she did this in. As my daughter grew up she developed an interest in reading essays on gardening! Now she's seriously contemplating a career involving English writing. She wants to teach English; it's going to be intriguing to see what she might study in college!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2018

  5. Catdaddy6676

    Catdaddy6676 In Flower

    Aug 29, 2018
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    Lugoff, SC
    Absolutely! My mom found a flat of half dead annuals one day at the recycling center and brought them to my house. We planted them and they all lived...

    You know, Miracle Max said it best... "Mostly dead is partly alive!"
    Jewell likes this.
  6. Ruth Bopearachchi

    Ruth Bopearachchi New Seed

    Dec 31, 2020
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  7. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

    Aug 23, 2010
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    Central Texas, zone 8
    Ruth, we're not going to let you off with a mere "Hi"! Tell us about your gardening experience, where you are in the world, and what you hope to do in your garden.
    We are curious, helpful, and eager to meet new Stew friends. So, join in on the conversations and also let us know a bit about you!
    Sjoerd and Jewell like this.
  8. Kildale

    Kildale Nature's Window

    Mar 30, 2009
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    British Columbia
    Many, many years ago I was probably about 7, I was in a field and saw some neat yellow flowers (Cowslips) didn't know what they were at that time. The following spring I spotted some yellow flowers in our garde so I wanted them in my garden. So I dug them up and planted them at the bottom of the garden. I got into trouble because they were Primroses not Cowslips. I had forgotten what the Cowslips looked like, I remembered they were Yellow.
    Cayuga Morning and Jewell like this.
  9. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

    Jun 15, 2011
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    New England
    Cute Kildale, but poor you. Just enjoying your cowslips/primroses. They are almost the same.
  10. Clay_22

    Clay_22 In Flower

    Jun 4, 2010
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    Wallkill,NY 6b
    My first experience was in grade school class project, grew a flower (can't remember what) out of a small milk carton.
  11. Muhammad Zain

    Muhammad Zain New Seed

    Jan 14, 2022
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    Yes surely, I know that beautiful day of 2016 when I planted the first flowers through my hands and did a lot of care. after that in 2020, I started the study in agriculture and gained a lot of knowledge and now I own a blog about gardening.
  12. PamPlants

    PamPlants New Seed

    Mar 31, 2022
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    My first attempts were tragic, I didn't know anything and I ended up requiring help from experts - - they explained that the first thing to understand is the type of soil and all the choices you make in terms of plants and flowers depend on it.
    Logan likes this.
  13. Logan

    Logan Hardy Maple

    Dec 9, 2018
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    Redditch Worcestershire UK
    I was about 6 when I planted some summer bulbs, can't remember what they were and some pansy and nasturtium seeds outside. Didn't do a lot though, I remember there were some calendula plants dotted around and some cosmos, I made a flower bed with the calendula around the edges and the cosmos in the middle, that was before I was 11.Dad always grew potatoes and cabbage in the back garden and he had some plants of lupins in the front that I was interested in.
    Droopy and Daniel W like this.
  14. Daniel W

    Daniel W Young Pine

    Nov 18, 2021
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    Southwest Washington State USA
    Like @Logan, I was probably about five or six. I helped in the kitchen garden and also planted marigolds and zinnias. I've had dirt under my fingernails for 60 years :)
    Droopy and Logan like this.
  15. Lillium_Lover

    Lillium_Lover Seedling

    Jul 9, 2022
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    Missouri Zone 6a
    I was young. I always helped my dad in his vegie garden. My 1st official time trying to grow flowers from seed was a disaster. I had no idea what I was doing. They sprouted, but I put them outside way to early, and they all died. 20170326_141325.jpg

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