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#1 My First Plant:
My actual first plant was likely some big leafy green monstrosity that I bought when I moved out on my own at eighteen and we did have a family vegetable garden when I was a kid, but I think my metaphorical “first plant”, the inspirational trigger of my garden addiction today was likely my maternal grandmother’s back garden. It wasn’t a large garden, the yard itself, which started at the bottom of a concrete stoop from out the back door of the kitchen, was probably only eight feet wide and twenty feet back with a narrow lawn running up the middle between two outer strips of garden. It was fairly shady from the large trees except over the lunch hour. On one side it shared a ratty wire fence with neglectful neighbours that usually grew only weeds up between rusty broken bicycles of the wretched kids who lived there and on the other the shared buckling and cracked driveway that ran up between the houses and met the garage that fully shaded the back of the yard. My grandmother’s garden was not particularly beautiful or lush and she never grew fruit or vegetables, which is what I enjoy most now. The lawn wasn’t perfectly manicured and the soil was a hard rocky clay that you wouldn’t think plants would be able to survive in. But I remember sweat peas, snowballs, daisies, asters, snap dragons, Chinese lanterns and a bunch of other flowers I wish I could now remember. A plant that she called the silver dollar plant was my favourite because you peeled away the brown paper-like outer wrappers to reveal the beautiful light silvery shimmery inside and we hung them upside down to dry so we could enjoy them all winter long. I remember her teaching me about seed saving in the fall and thinking about how magic seeds are then and again the spring when I helped her sow seeds and watched the plants sprout. I still feel that way about seeds and now I realize that came from her.