I was thinking about my garden the other day, and out of a sudden a memory of the garden in my childhood home popped to my mind.
When I was little, my parents, both young teachers just a couple of years out of university, got jobs in a primary school and a preschool in a small village (pictured above) not far from where I was born. The jobs came with a house: a very old, neglected, pre-WWII house typical for that part of the country, which had been German up until the end of the war. The house was attached to the primary school; in the picture below the school building can be seen on the left, the house is in the middle, and the building on the right is a barn.
I spend most of my childhood there, from the age of 5 to 18.
|Source: an old German postcard|
There was a really big garden there, probably four times the size of the garden I have now. We had a huge strawberry patch, with probably about 100 plants; several black, red and white currant bushes (white was my favourite!), a large Japanese quince bush, five or six peach trees, a very old and huge pear tree, loads of tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers (all out in the garden, no greenhouse!), wild strawberry bushes dotted all over the place and probably many other things I can no longer remember. The gate was guarded by a giant mulberry tree, very popular with all the school kids. Behind the garden, there was a large and old orchard, a real jungle after many years of neglect. We had apple and plum trees there. I remember sitting high up on a branch and eating apples straight from the tree!
Being a kid, my only job in that garden was weeding (and harvesting - but that was pure pleasure!). I didn't realise it at the time, but my parents must have put an awful lot of work into it - the soil was very poor and sandy (the opposite of the heavy clay I have now); I remember them making buckets of nettle 'tea' and getting bags of manure from the nearby farm to improve it. In addition, the hot and dry summers meant long hours of expensive watering. My parents were both raised in cities, without much gardening knowledge or experience, so they learnt everything on the go. It is only now that I have my own garden that I can fully comprehend the importance of all the hard work they did - and I can sort of understand why, when my parents moved to the house they live in now, my mum decided not to grow any more vegetables and only keeps ornamentals now.
It's a very fond memory, as are all my memories from that time. I don't think I fully appreciated it when I was a kid, but it was a truly great place to live, and I think deep inside that was the reason I always wanted to move back to the countryside. I am so happy that dream has now come true!