“My Grandmother’s Garden Series” – Mildred’s Garden

Today is the last of this series. I would love to hear stories about your experience with your grandparents gardens. Please tell me more!

When I was a little girl, I lived in a rural area in central Indiana. I grew up within a “Yours, Mine and Ours” family (which is the common family type these days) and therefore had three Grandmothers. All were unique in attitude and mindset and all had there own garden at one point or another.

= = = = = =Maudie and Grandpa Joe 1995

Grandma Mildred was a very intelligent woman. She lived well into her 90’s and was very cultured, well-spoken and strong-minded. All the grandchildren called her “Maudie” and were thrilled to spend time with her and learn from her. She lived in a beautiful brick farm house in Central Indiana with her farmer husband, Grandpa Joe. Before retirement she worked at a courthouse demonstrating her hard-edged progressive belief that “women can do ANYTHING men can do!”

Maudie’s garden extended to her entire property. The family grew corn, beans and wheat on the farm and she planted a nut orchard back by the wooded section of her property. Her stalwart insistence on being an arborist helped the family have quite a beautiful display of unusual trees and bushes from all over the country. Maudie had several gardens. There were perennial beds placed in specific locations to produce beautiful views and strategically placed lilac bushes and apple trees.

Yellow Cherry TomMy personal favorite was her vegetable garden. Half the garden was filled with the most incredible tomatoes I have ever tasted. My favorite story comes from the yellow cherry tomatoes she had grown for 20 years or more (and I ate straight out of the garden for my entire youth). She had snatched a tomato from a college test garden one year and threw it in the ground. The tomatoes came up voluntarily in her garden even though she never “replanted” them again – the seeds being most prolific. At the end of her large rectangular shaped vegetable garden was the first cutting garden I had ever seen. Among other flowers, she planted Zinnias and Gladiolus in tall straight rows. The vibrant flowers were always on her table, entryway or even in buckets on her front porch. Having never seen someone use cut flowers regularly, it brought a special touch to the home and all our lives.

Zinnia BedWhite Cat

Maudie was always surrounded by cats and dogs (preferably Airedale Terriers). She did not allow them in the house, but kept them as a working part of the farm. An old horse trough was used as a goldfish  pond. I remember a particular white cat named Rosemary, who would strike gorgeous poses sitting by each of the gardens. It was as if Maudie had planned the animals to be a part of the scenery.

For me, Maudie has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration. She taught me that women can be strong, determined and opinionated. She also lived her life with beauty and grace surrounding her. She once told me the old adage, “everything worth having is hard work.” I believe that and live my life by those words. Hard work produces a more satisfying life. My garden is filled with the rewards of the hard work I have put into it. I hope your garden is too.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!

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  • Reply
    February 5, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Your Grandmother was a wonderful gardener if the pics you show are from her garden. I had a Grandma just like yours and thank you for the memories…..

  • Reply
    February 6, 2009 at 12:06 am

    They are not from her garden, but could have been – exact duplicates. She was great with perennial beds and had lovely ones filled with hostas and all sorts of flowering annuals and perennials in a wild mix. One of my favorites she grew was Chinese Lanterns. Remember those? Just gorgeous.


  • Reply
    February 6, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Great series! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I can still smell the green grapes growing on the trellis!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    How inspiring! I would love to have a stand of zinnias like- so maybe I will this year 🙂

    I might take you up on writing a piece on my grandfather’s garden- maybe you have started a “meme”…?

  • Reply
    February 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Great Article Shawna. I too had gardening grandparents. I remember picking the beans and husking the corn and we loved going to the back of the garden to pick rhubarb to eat with sugar….many wonderful memories. It's beautiful that you can carry on where she left off and inspire so many others. I love reading your posts. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    February 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks Lori – I SO loved it too. 🙂


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