Summer is also for growing memories

Twenty-five, a quarter of a century, 3 weeks and 4 days. No matter how you spell, say it or think it, 25 is not a very large number. When it is referring to the number of days that you get to spend with your oldest daughter in one summer, it seems even smaller. Pathetically small. Those 25 days have to hold a lifetime of summer of 2017 memories.

I suppose though, each of our summers must be filled with special memories. Summers, with all of their spectacular beauty, can be almost magical. To see beauty, we must simply open the blinds and look outside. To experience it, we must simply breathe in the fresh air. To feel it we must simply step out and feel the sun shining on our skin.

In a recent column, I asked readers to write to me regarding their favorite memories associated with summertime and flowers. I appreciate the time those of you took to write. Listed below are two very special stories.

“In my mothers garden in the mid 1950s she had a large round flower bed — the outside she would plant geraniums — in the middle would be a mass planting of cannas. Every time I see cannas I think of her and that flower bed.” Fred Wilhelm

Judith Aronson-Brooke writes “I used to love the scent of yellow roses, but then they reminded me of funerals. I used to love white carnations – pure, simple, smelled lovely for days. Then I married a man whose father, Sven, was going to be interviewed by a news person for growing the largest sunflower in his backyard. But when the word got out about the interview, someone cut the huge headed sunflower down and Sven’s news report was cancelled. How sad I felt for his faded excitement. So, I became obsessed with sunflowers. I have filled my home with real ones, silk ones, photos, towels, cups & plates, wreaths, curtains, sofas, calendars, tissue boxes, magnets, tablecloths, umbrellas, lights around my patio door, bird houses, afghans, sweatshirts, greeting cards, Halloween costumes…Get the picture!? I never grew one, but I love how they face the sun and feed the birds. How cheerful, positive and sunny they are. Plus many varieties and names.” Thanks Judith!

My daughter and I have spent the last 3 of our 25 days together putting together a cook book. We are taking her back to Kansas State University tomorrow where she will be moving into her first apartment. This straight A, fiercely independent young woman is slightly intimidated by the fact that she will have to start making her own meals. This cookbook combines her favorite recipes from four generations of our family. Craft projects do bring so much joy to not only the people that do them, but if applicable, their recipients.

Gardening Craft projects are a great way to extend the summer. Here are a few ideas.

1. Take pictures of flowers in your yard and incorporate the picture into a greeting card. A picture of a single flower, taken close up, can be made into an absolutely gorgeous greeting card.

2. Make a dried potpourri out of flower petals.

3. Start a gardening journal. This is simply a series of notes and perhaps pictures of your yard as it progresses throughout the season.

4. Make a wine bottle bird feeder by mounting an empty wine bottle to a wooden board and filling with bird seed.

5. Collect and save seeds from your favorite flowers. Plant them next year or give them to friends.

6. Paint small rocks to use as plant markers in your garden.

7. Paint inspirational quotes on medium size rocks.

8. Capture handprints of younger gardeners with a concrete stepping stone kit.

9. Use branches from your shrubs to create a unique front porch display. Dried flowers, such as hydrangea, can be assembled into a beautiful wreath for your front door.

Kathleen Carr is the owner of The Growing Scene, Inc., a garden center and landscaping company. She can be reached by calling 815-923-7322 or Have a gardening question? Please contact her. She may address it in an upcoming column.

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