The Imaginary Garden

17 October 2014

In our latest selection of books from the library, we happened to grab The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen.  I loved this book.  It was about Theodora and her grandpa.  When he sold his home and garden, they turned to painting an imaginary garden together to keep their love of the garden and connection to each other.  It is a beautiful book that reminds me of my Grandpa Gene.

As I mentioned in my last post about the Chocolate Zucchini Bread, my grandparents in Colorado had a backyard garden.  They carefully tended it long before it was fashionable to do so.  It was a thing of beauty.  I am sure that my grandpa remembers all of the work that went into every stage of it.  I am sure that he remembers what the sore back and stooped shoulders feel like after a long day in the garden.  I never knew those aspects of it.  I was more of a witness and tinkerer than a worker.

I remember one night as the family gathered, waiting for everyone to arrive, to go out to dinner together, my cousin and I sat in the row of peas and picked off pods, opening them, and devouring them by the dozens.

I remember thinking that the cottontail rabbits were adorable at they bellied up to the feast, while my grandpa tried ever thinner gauges of chicken wire to keep them out of his hard earned harvest.

I remember washing carrots in the wheelbarrow in ice cold hose water that lapped up my fuzzy sweater sleeves.

I remember the low white painted wooden incubating boxes that my grandpa built to help along the seedlings until they were ready for the earth.

I remember how expertly my grandpa wound the garden hose up at the end of the day (even our short one seems to manhandle me, more than I it).

I remember the tiered beds of strawberries that never seemed to get big enough before the birds got to them.

I remember lifting the broad leaves and finding enormous zucchinis hidden beneath their shade.

I remember the old metal milk box that he kept at the door to hold a shovel and pair of gloves, to keep them close at hand for a quick session out in the rows.

I remember picking spinach leaves that would be eaten in that night's dinner with warm bacon dressing.

I remember a lot of great things about that garden, and the time that I was fortunate enough to get to spend watching my grandpa create, tend, and harvest with his own hands.  Those moments with our grandparents, spent watching, learning (about much more than gardening), and just being close, do more for the soul than I can put into words.  Even the memories are felt very deeply within me.

I have said before that I get so much from discovering and reading these great books to my kiddos, and The Imaginary Garden is one such great book!

There are affiliate links within this post, but the content is wholly my own heartfelt recommendation. 
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