My Grandparent’s had a large yard – double the size of today’s standards, and as a result, partook in gardening on a somewhat grand scale in comparison to my postage stamp sized property. I’m vividly remembering the early Seventies, when the garden was filled with beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, beets, potatoes. carrots – the staple vegetables that were grown to ensure that food costs were kept low. I remember the summer I decided the beets [there must have been two rows, each one at least ten feet long] were ready for picking [My Grandmother made the BEST pickled beets EVER!] and proceeded to uproot a virtual mountain of under-developed produce, most no bigger than a golf ball. Sensing that I’d done something prematurely, I blamed it on a roaring tornado that swept through the garden while they were away! We made do with pickled beans that winter!
This is a photo from the same time period and shows a red brick building with a green awning. This was Gardiner’s Feed and Seed store, located on Victoria Street in Sarnia. It was run by the Green’s – Walter, Betty and Gordon, and was filled with every imaginable seed available. I remember bins similar to the ones that housed the inventory card catalogues at the library, each filled with seed both alien and familiar at the same time. A giant fern grew in the spacious, sun filled window, and Walter and Gordon seemed to live there twenty four seven! I can still smell the grass seed mingling with the dutch set onions, and remember the large scale that sat on one end of the wooden desk. Squeeky wooden floors, and a dog – I want to say a Golden Retriever. The rustling of brown paper bags.
Sadly building and tenants have faded into memory, but how refreshing to suddenly remember that indeed horticulture was a part of my childhood, and the proverbial seed, so similar to those sold at Gardiner’s, was in fact sown into my subconscious mind where it germinated and set root, waiting patiently for me to act upon it. I feel closer to my Grandmother thanks to this recollection.