Wednesday, April 30, 2014


On this last day of April, the eve of my 70th birthday, I am reflecting on my life.

The first ten years of my life were traumatic - I lost my dear mother in my 4th year and for the next six I was in an orphanage .  My Dad, a farmer, took us to our first real home when my two sisters and I were old enough to take care of ourselves and help do chores.  Our brother Cecil had gone off to the Korean war.

My next decade was also very eventful - I finished high school and moved to the big city of Chicago where I met and married my husband Simon.  We celebrated our golden anniversary last year .  We have three children -two wonderful daughters and a son.

In my third decade I worked full time and raised a family.  We bought a great old American Foursquare home and starting rehabbing it ourselves.  What were we thinking ?  With 3 kids and a job we were the weekend warriors and it took us many years to achieve our goals but we managed to turn the tarnished old jewel into a grand old lady.   My hubby Simon, who left Korea right after high school to go to college here, missed his dear Mother and we decided to bring her to live with us so that our children could experience their only living grandparent.  It was a precious time that they will always treasure and she lived with us for 10 years before passing.

                                                    My Little Urban Paradise in Chicago

In my fourth decade home ownership made me realize how much I actually enjoyed gardening .  I had been avoiding it because of my childhood filled with daily work in the field and garden . I realized that gardening wasn't just about work but pleasure as well.

In my fifth decade I decided to quit my day job and take up the two things I loved most - gardening and art.  I painted during the winter and installed landscapes during the growing season.  I thrived in both pursuits and I'm so glad that I took the risk.  Being the middle child means having a lot of gumption.  Meanwhile our children pursued their own lives and got married.

In my sixth decade the most important event was the joyous arrival of our first grandchild - a girl named Lea.
Before her arrival I was settled into living the rest of my life in my wonderful home and garden, but circumstances beyond my control came into effect -my daughter moved to North Carolina for her job.  I had looked after Lea since she was 3 months old and not being able to see her when I wanted to was all I needed to return to my beloved South.  As much as I loved Chicago the long cold winters finally took their toll as well and the Southern breeze beckoned.

                                                      Raising the Next Generation of Gardeners

Now, how did this happen -I'm suddenly into my seventh decade which finds me in a new home and garden here in the great state of North Carolina.   Old age sure is sneaky.   Since I'm suppose to be older and wiser I leave you with these pearls of wisdom :


·        Time flies in a garden.

·        Gardening is a lot like relationships-both take hard work to succeed.

·        Gardening keeps you young.  You may have as many wrinkles as a Shar Pei but your body will look like Suzanne Sommers.

·        Gardening gives you a sense of humor.  When hubby says you don’t have room for one more plant you say watch this !

·        The birth of a grandchild is like watching your favorite flower blossom.  Having the chance to pass on your love of gardening to her ; priceless.

·        Gardening is the best therapy to relieve stress.  Those with teenagers will understand this the best. 

·        Gardening is a lifelong obsession from which there is no retirement .


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