Thursday, July 19, 2007

I miss them....

This gentleman came in today to show us his carrot he grew from seed purchased from us. He was so proud of it, carrying it wrapped in a newspaper with a rubber band, holding it like a baby. Nearly 1 1/2 pounds! Now truth be told, the root was probably not very tasty, and had been left in the ground a little too long. But HE GREW IT! And so when I ran to get my camera he was more than happy to have his picture taken, and when I said I was going to put it on my blog! Well, I think that made his day (even though I'm sure he has no idea what a blog is.)

Upon my return to the nursery this year, after my 9 years away, I found most of these "ole guys" gone. They just weren't there. They used to come in every year and buy their Ace tomato plants, Blue Lake bean seeds, maybe some Straight 8 seed and Acorn squash. Their wives would maybe come along and get a few annuals. Mostly the would say they didn't need much because we landscaped their yard 40 years ago and they just grow a few vegetables now. Maybe we would hear from them on the phone later wondering if they could spray their old bottle of DDT that had been in the shed since 1970 on their tomatoes cause they thought they saw aphids. Some would come in in the fall for some onion bus, or a pack of broccoli. They might not have bought much but they came every year. And now they are almost all gone. One man in his 90s came in with his son, in his wheelchair, and with some difficulty picked out a tomato...."just thought he should have something growing"

I used to grumble because most of the time they would refuse to let me do anything but take their money, I couldn't tell them ANYTHING! They HAD to talk to the owner, so I would page him and he would come all the way up to the front and then the customer would ask him "Where are your tomatoes?" At 19 years old I really hated it when they would do that!
But I get it now. An I really miss them

I lost my own grandma in 2001 and grandpa is now in a nursing home, 97 years old. I owe my horticulture love to them in a couple of ways. When I was growing I spent a lot of time with them on their 1/2 acre, a few blocks from the nursery.
Being transplanted farmer from Nebraska, they were always growing stuff. Grandma had peonies she had brought all the way out here with her. And she was so proud of her redwood trees she dug up as seedlings from over by the coast.(eek!) But mostly we grew veggies, and lots of them. I learned to get over the earwigs falling out of the corn as we shucked them.....and grandma showed me out to cut out the bad parts of the apple, tomato, whatever and save the rest, no matter how tiny. She canned everything and we had tomato butter and pickles and green beans....and grandpa even grew popcorn and sold it in the neighborhood for years. We would spend our evenings picking through the corn kernels one by one, or cracking walnut....watching Lawrence Welk or Wild World of Animals. "sigh"

Well, one day when I was just 18 my grandma said they had been over at the nursery for the tomato plants and veggie seeds and the owners wife had mentioned needing a cashier...hint hint. I thought well, to make grandma happy I will check it out. So I did. At first the she said NOPE, not hiring. Then I said "ok, its just my grandma said she thought you needed someone" "Ok, start next Tuesday"

AND BAM! My real love affair began...but I digress....back to the man with the carrot. I bet he doesn't know a single Latin name....but HE is a gardener, and someday I will miss him too.....

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