I have lived in Minnesota for most of my life, but I am originally from Iowa where most of my family members were gardeners. In fact, my Grandma Grace bought the lot next to my parents just so she could have a huge flower garden. Growing up I got to spend every warm day out by the gardens playing and talking with my grandma while she worked. Is it any wonder that I turned out to be a gardener?
I didn’t start gardening though until my daughter Angela was born. Angela was a colicky baby and was only happy when she was moving. As soon as she would start to fuss I would bundle her into a baby sack and take off for the backyard. After walking around the yard everyday for hours the gardening gene finally kicked in and I began to envision a new backyard full of flowers, retaining walls, pathways and gazebos. When my daughter grew out of her colic, I started working to make my vision a reality–and an avid gardener was born!
I soon found that the Minnesota winters dragged on for far too long for those of us who like to play in the dirt. I was bringing up my two children, but I needed something else to do for all those long cold months when I couldn’t be outside gardening. Writing about gardening seemed to be the perfect answer. I would learn a lot doing research, it would keep me from getting bored all winter and sometimes I might even get paid.
I was a member of the Minnesota Horticultural Society so I sat down and wrote my first article on water gardening for their magazine. After that I wrote several more articles for the Minnesota Horticulturist and eventually became the garden columnist for the Republican Eagle, our local newspaper, and also a regular columnist for the Northern Gardener magazine.
In 1997, I decided to go one step further and became a Minnesota Master Gardener. I felt it was a great way to make a real difference in my community and I have really enjoyed working with other Master Gardeners on volunteer projects. I am especially proud of our work on the new Colvill Discovery Garden. Master Gardeners were instrumental in designing and planting the garden and we are committed to keeping the garden a place where children of all ages and abilities can come to enjoy the sights, smells and the beauty of plants and nature.
One of my big disappointments in life; however, is that neither my daughter nor my son are gardeners. I haven’t given up hope though and I have one more chance now that I have a new granddaughter. I am excited to show her how wonderful gardening can be and hopefully she will be the one that inherits our family gardening gene. After all, “An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life!”
Terry L. Yockey