Blue Ribbon Gardens
Long ago, in the days when there were actual 5 and 10 cent stores, I searched the aisles for something worthy of the lone dime in my hand. While there were actually dozens of possibilities, my ten-year-old eyes lit on the garden seeds. I loved flowers! Why couldn’t I grow my own? Each seed pack cost a nickel so I bought two – pansies and parsley.
With the help of my grandpa, I planted my two little seed packets – the whole packets – in a walled space by the front door. Over the summer, in what I’m sure were the gardening angels smiling down on a somewhat tentative green thumb, my seeds grew and grew and grew. There were masses – literally – of pansies and parsley. All my family and friends were invited to “pick a handful” as they passed by. It was my first gardening success and it gave me a taste of the delights that were possible with a tiny seed meeting dirt.
I’d like to be able to say my first success led straight into a life-long passion for gardening, but that would be a lie. While I still loved the idea of gardening, our small yard didn’t offer a lot of room for a budding amateur. It wasn’t until many years later, when we’d moved out to a rural area, that the gardening bug bit me again. With over three acres to plant in, the possibilities were endless. So, too, were the demands of life. Oh, I planted a rose here, a bush there . . . but actual gardening wasn’t given top priority. Until I discovered the local fair . . .
Somewhere I picked up a booklet that showed how one could enter the County Fair. There were not only ribbons for the winners but actual cash prizes! Always looking for ways to earn a little extra, I pored over the booklet trying to find categories to enter. The Flower Show caught my eye. To my delight, that first year I won a blue ribbon with a rose!
As years went by, I won literally hundreds of ribbons and trophies. I passed along the thrill of competition to my many nieces and nephews, then great nieces and nephews. The Flower Show became an annual late summer event for many seasons.
Now that I’m able to spend more time puttering in my various flower gardens, they’ve taken on a different aspect. I no longer grow for competition – unless it’s against my last year’s garden. My gardens now are more for my enjoyment, to add beauty to my yard and neighborhood. The only prizes they win are in my eyes as being more beautiful each day.
About the Author:
Donna Alice Patton is a gardening enthusiast from the Midwest who has won numerous ribbons and trophies for her flowers and vegetables. In the winter when she can’t play in the dirt, she soothes her creativity by writing instead. One mid-grade series of mysteries features tales from different gardens. Find out more at: www.donnaalicepatton.com.