After a year in the Frozen North, I transferred to the state university down south in the City of the Crosses. My grandparents live there and maintain a large garden that occupies the lot next to their home. I learned a great deal in that garden, while taking weekend breaks from my studies.
The section nearest the road is occupied by a rock garden. A few pine trees form a permeable barrier between the garden and the rest of the world. Behind this is a small lawn, surrounded by flowers, where my grandparents hosted picnics and barbecues. Lastly, at the back of the lot, are raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, and a compost pile.
I got my first taste of vertical gardening from the wall that frequently has small melons and pumpkins growing up it. I also got my first look at the ingenuity of the gardener from the row covers and rabbit guards my grandpa devised to keep the brutal heat and rabbits away from his vegetable beds. I gained an appreciation for mixed wildflowers from the sandy bed they let reseed itself.
More importantly, I began to learn the art of pruning (as opposed the simple necessity of pruning instilled in me by my parents) from helping my aunt tame the roses and fruit trees every spring. I got a feel for drip irrigation from helping my grandpa repair his. I began to think about the placement of gardens here, how it affects the garden, the gardener, and the community, as my grandparents garden was neither fenced off nor concealed behind a house.
If my parents' garden planted the seed of gardening in me, it didn't really germinate till I spent time in my grandparents' garden. Here, my ideas of gardening morphed beyond simply mixing soil, water, and seed. If I enjoy pruning a rosebush or planning out gardens in my notebook, it can be traced back to my grandparent's garden.