I did nothing to get them to love gardening besides accepting their help. Yet, each of them went on to build gardens in their own houses, transforming arid stretches of Southern California into beautiful landscape, for food growing, for beauty, for recreation.
My daughter Pia came late to gardening. She preferred to spend any home time she had (she was busy with lots of hobbies) playing piano, dancing, reading... It was in her adult years when she saw how easy it all happened when a few plants of tomatoes began to branch out and produce bowlful of delicious stuff. Now, even with deer climbing into her patio, she grows a few pots of lettuce, peas, arugula, and of course tomatoes.
When I visit them, or when they visit me, pots of something growing, basil, oregano, sage travel along. For a few months, herbs create a Mediterranean smell in their kitchen in no time. Later, the pots move outdoors, plants move to a sunny place or to a bigger pot on a sunny porch.
Even after I moved to Oregon, even during our rainy season, we have protected sunny spots to grow herbs and other perennials through winter months. Parsley does extremely well, as do sage, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme. I have managed to grow and keep my herbs around until they go to seed, then snip, dry and use them in my recipes the rest of the year. The seeds go into a special envelope and get replanted for a new season.
Like a visual and sensual autobiography a garden relates us to our past, to our wishes and hopes, to the memories we build together. Wherever I go, a fig tree or two get planted, perhaps an olive tree also. Then, lots of herbs, enough for everyday use and to give out as gifts. I may be far from all I love, but our love of gardening keep us close. Our use of certain herbal remedies, like lemon and honey on days when a sore throat is threatening, will keep us together as well.