Granny’s Birthday Garden

by Stefani on 5-April-2009

During the days leading up to my Granny's birthday I wondered… what on earth do you get for a 75 year old? How do you mark an occasion like that? What could you possibly wrap up that would say enough, mean enough? 

I had tried on at least a dozen gift ideas and not one of them felt right. And then it finally hit me. We would do something for her, something that she's told me that she's "been meaning to do" for a long long time. We'd help her put in a vegetable garden. 

I knew that if we could get her started, my aunts would help her tend it. And it would be good for her to have a reason to get outside and work some each day. Plus, with a little luck, a garden will give all of us lots of yummy things to eat. 

So with big plans, we made the long drive to Granny's house. 

Just as soon as we got there, we got to work. We dug and dug. We had blisters on our hands and dirt under our nails. We drank tea in the shade when we could dig no more and then we headed to town for the plants. 

In the end, we put in a 12X12 ft. plot. We filled it with 18 tomato plants, 9 squash, 9 zucchini, 3 kinds of peppers, some herbs and a boatload of onions. 

But the numbers don't really do it justice. 

How can I begin to tell you what it meant to work, side by side, four generations – my granny, my aunts, me and my boys? 

We all told stories. We remembered other gardens, other springs. We taught my boys how to properly use a hoe, how to make rows, and we gave the littlest a job that once was mine – walking the trenches to tamp them down. 

Rows and Toes

We joked that if the garden grows and the economy keeps on this downward slide, we could set up a roadside vegetable stand. Cute kid faces can sell lemonade, why not produce? 

My granny was so moved by our gift. My boys were so proud. And me – I was just filled up. I was glad to be there with aching hands and stiff legs and the knowledge that one day my men will turn over a spade of dirt and the smell of it will take them right back to this day. All over again they will be boys, red dirt between their toes and pines towering overhead, surrounded by love. 

Under the Pines

I don't know if our garden will grow. I hope so. I hope that we'll be sitting on Granny's porch eating tomato sandwiches soon. 

But even if those plants don't produce any veggies at all… we have harvested so much. 

Feets of Farming

Michaela April 6, 2009 at 4:09 am

Beautiful gift! I was doing the same at my own house. Blisters and all. Have a great weekend.

SewLiberated April 6, 2009 at 4:21 am

So, so sweet. If only I lived on the same side of the country as my grandparents …

tara April 6, 2009 at 4:23 am

I can’t think of a better gift or a better way to spend the day.

Mama Urchin April 6, 2009 at 5:39 am

In these times planting a garden just seems the right thing to do, don’t you think?

Butzeballchen April 6, 2009 at 5:50 am

That is a great gift! It is so important for kids to understand and participate in the whole food process, your boys obviously loved it 🙂

Kerry April 6, 2009 at 6:17 am

What an inspired idea.. and a special gift for all of you! Happy Birthday Granny!

Lucia April 6, 2009 at 6:40 am

Can’t think of a better gift for your grandma and the rest of you, too.

Denise April 6, 2009 at 7:01 am

the gift of time spent with people we love is the gift that keeps on giving ~ regardless if anything grows in the garden or not.

nytesong April 6, 2009 at 7:19 am

Such a thoughtful gift. =)

Anne April 6, 2009 at 7:40 am

A perfect gift…I have a feeling you are going to see a bounty of tomatoes this year!

Sarah Jackson April 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

So great, Stef!! There’s really nothing better than giving of your own time and hands. nothing at all.

Miko's Girl April 6, 2009 at 8:02 am

What a fabulous gift…You are also making a great gardening memory for the boys. That’s how my obsession started was with family memories.

Stefani April 6, 2009 at 8:19 am

I had no idea my hands were so fragile! It felt good though in that sore muscle kind of way.

Stefani April 6, 2009 at 8:22 am

Oh! I can’t imagine! I live 4 hours from mine and it seems WAY too far away!

Stefani April 6, 2009 at 8:26 am

You know it really does. It felt like the best thing to do.. far better than anything I could have bought.

Stefani April 6, 2009 at 8:27 am


Stefani April 6, 2009 at 8:28 am

I’m a little scared that we’re going to have more than we can handle. I guess that means we’ll have lots to share though 🙂

Fiona April 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

A wonderful present.

debbieR April 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

Such a special time and wonderful gift! My littlest want to grow a garden and I really want to nurture that desire..we started with a rock and treasure garden. That began the curiosity now he wants to grow carrots and other vegetables, so I will kindly and open heartedly oblige! We have lots of herbs, such as BASIL lots and lots of it even different kinds, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, two different kinds of mint,etc. Incidentally his rock and treasure garden is right in the midst of all the herbs maybe that was part of it. He loves to eat the fresh herbs right off of the plant. Oh and much to our delight we found that we have tiny little wild strawberries growing all over our backyard..we don’t know how or why, we don’t ask…just delight in their beauty. However, I don’t know if we are supposed to eat them or not. hmmm
Have a beautiful day!

Amber April 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

That’s wonderful! I’m sure that the garden will grow, it has to.

And I continue to be jealous of your early spring. It won’t be planting time here for at least a month. Perhaps it’s time to move to Texas. 🙂

Sam April 6, 2009 at 10:00 am

That is the most beautiful gift anyone could give. Wow.

Kayla April 6, 2009 at 10:02 am

This is so sweet, what a great experience for your boys! They will remember this forever.

miss chris April 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

How thoughtful, Stefani. I’m sure the boys will enjoy that memory forever.

Em April 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

That’s so awesome! I hope you’re able to harvest veggies together this summer too. I remember the garden my Grandfather had in his backyard, and helping to pull weeds around the tomatoes and watering the plants while barefooted with mud squishing between my toes. I know he misses having a garden… I wish I could bring one to him – but he doesn’t have a place where he and my Grandmother live now.

Cassandra April 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm

What a gorgeous gift, a gorgeous sentiment, and a gorgeous memory! I absolutely LOVE that last photo.

Dawn April 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Wonderful gift…
My grandmother was a gardener… best memories ever… in her garden!

Vintage Chica April 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm

My papaw’s been saying he wishes he could put some tomatoes in this year. Sure wish I could gift him a garden. Wonderful memories all around!

Sarah April 6, 2009 at 8:18 pm

fantastic! she is going to have a lot of zucchini! let me know if you want my zuke chocolate cake recipe! 🙂

we are getting snow right now- no gardening for us for a while!

Ansley April 6, 2009 at 8:59 pm

S, that is such a wonderful gift to give someone! I know my grandmother would love this….I’ll have to remember this!

Relyn April 7, 2009 at 10:06 am

This is wonderful for all the reasons you’ve listed. Plus, you’ve taught your boys how to give the best gifts. Selflessly, from the heart, and exactly what the other person wants and needs.

Colleen April 8, 2009 at 11:39 am

What a WONDERFUL gift for your granny and what a wonderful gift you have given me with this lovely post. thank you.

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