Guest Author - Carolann Stefanco
My grandparents organized and created a green garden before the term "green" was even coined. We all lived in a mulitgenerational household and the property was lovingly transformed into flower and vegetable gardens graced by many trees, shrubs and bushes of a multitude of color.
Walking through the garden gate gave a view of candy tuft and other perennials blooming along a white picket fence in early spring. Past the entrance grew two stately magnolia trees that were planted in the 1940's and graced the middle of the yard amongst berry bushes and a pathway. The pathway wound around through the back of the yard and in early summer stood Black-eyed Susans,and a section of red roses and blue hydrangea bushes.
Roaming through winding paths led to the tasting of kohlrabi, sweet peas, green beans, peppers, corn and tomatoes and there was the joy of picking a juicy pear or peach from the backyard trees in late summer.
Spearmint was grown and cuttings were saved and hung in the attic for future use for a warm cup of tea in winter. Glass canning jars filled with green and red peppers lined the shelves of an open cabinet in the cellar.
Many seeds were brought over from Europe which helped to create this wonderful yard of gardens. My grandparents toiled with a manual mower, and saved the grass clippings for the compost heap in the far back side of the yard. My grandfather turned the compost pile when it was ready, with a pitch fork. Soil was dug and plants were transplanted into new areas of the yard. Everything was recycled or reused. An old pickle barrel was placed aside the garage downspout to collect rain water for my grandparents to hand water, with an old metal watering can, the flowers in the yard. An old adirondack style chair was built of used wood for grandpa to sit on after a hard day working in the garden.
Grandma knew how to heal herself not only by enjoying the smells and sights of her gardens, but by knowing how to take care of a bee sting by placing a mud pack from the earth on the stinger to ease the pain and draw out the stinger.
At the end of the day, the gardens that appealed to all the senses, placed everyone who entered it into a relaxed emotional, mental, spiritual and physical state of well being. Grandma always loved the compliments of the passersby as they remarked to her of the well maintained and beautiful gardens. Little did my grandparents know at that time that the fruits of their labor were the "green" we all try to be today.