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A few days ago, I recruited my grandson, eleven, and granddaughter, nine, to help clean out leaves from my garden, refill planters, and do other pre-season tasks. We have a courtyard effect behind our house, and two summers ago, our daughter and her children installed a brick walkway in the middle.


The area doesn’t look like much right now, but isn’t this what gardening is all about, sowing and weeding, waiting and watching?



Remembering the spectacular lilies and dahlias in last year’s photos urges me on and gives me hope. Those images, often taken by the grandkids, live in my memory, and thanks to them, also in my phone every time I open it up.



Last fall, we constructed the vegetable planter at the end of the garage, so this will be an experimental year for the tomatoes, beets, green beans and carrots in their new home. Last year, in space recently converted from plain old Iowa grass, they didn’t do so well.

The wheel rims back by the fence hold my herbs and spices, dill, spinach and kale, and were a Mother’s Day gift one year.




As you can see, these workers are happy to help. (It doesn’t hurt that they’re always saving for something or other!) And since I grew up on a farm, it does my heart good to have them out there with me, getting their hands dirty and being involved in an ongoing project. Getting back to the simple joys always refreshes me.


Our grandson Eli, a pretty techy guy, had fun analyzing water flow issues and digging pathways, while Cora filled the wheelbarrow umpteen times for the planter. Come summer, she picks her own salads for lunch, and especially enjoys the arugula and mesclun.



We still need to do more work around the red oak we planted last spring, right in the center of the courtyard. So, welcome to my dream world. Like many of you, I’m anticipating how this will all look, smell, and taste in a couple of months.


gailGardener/writer Gail Kittleson has been gardening just about everywhere she and her husband have lived, including Senegal, West Africa. Her favorite thing about gardening is the survival of plants over harsh Iowa winters, the anticipation of new growth, and eating fresh salads. When she’s not gardening she’s writing memoir and women’s historical fiction novels and teaching a creative writing class. You can learn more about her and her books at http://www.gailkittleson.com.