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A Priceless Secret Garden Language

These days I spend every chance I get in the garden. My Mom instilled her love for growing in me. Her favorite is flowers, mine is vegetables. When she lived in Southern Pines her garden was highlight of my Summer visits; a source of endless delight with its enchantment of smells, colors, humming birds, sculptures, and busy cedar wax wings. When she retired garden was her new day job and work of love.

When I first moved into my home nine years ago, making a garden was a priority. My goal was to grow enough vegetables to feed us. There was my son and me, (well four) add two dogs. Together we built a series of raised gardens so I could grow vegetables - he lifted the heavy blocks of concrete and stone and positioned them. I ordered a truck full of dirt, shovelled it into the beds and filled them with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, okra plants. I canned the pickles, tomatoes and banana peppers and froze the okra. Certainly it was not enough to feed us year round. But, a girl can hope! Every year since, I've planted a vegetable garden, until this year.

Nine years later, my garden goals have changed. My son is no longer a teenager. He's 26 and living in Boston. My Mom, now 80, no longer lives in Southern Pines. She lives with me, my husband and four dogs.

Mom and I share a secret garden language of flower names, either their given names or the ones we give them. We study to understand how to grow each new plant and spend hours together in the garden; planning, digging, pruning and watching our visitors like the swallowtail butterfly in the picture. The farmers in this area grow our vegetables. Life is short, I'm glad to be growing flowers.

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