Father’s Day lands in the most luxurious time of the year.  The third Sunday in June – this year being the summer solstice – arrives with trees in full leaf but not yet damaged by tar spots or caterpillars; many shrubs are loaded with blossoms; vegetable gardens have begun to produce food; and weather and nature have not taken their toll, yet .

With this in mind, I started to think about men in the garden and what I remember about them.

The first garden that I can dig up in my memory bank, is one created by my Uncle Eldon, my Dad’s younger brother.  At the time he was a young married man, and I have heard that he was a fierce competitor in hockey and baseball. In my mind’s picture, he is wearing a white T- shirt, sporting a brush cut and leaning on the handle of a hoe. The garden border that he had created is alongside the gravel lane way on my grandparents’ farm.  It was a piece of beauty in a utilitarian landscape.  I remember most the Sedums, possibly Autumn Joy or some older variety.  I thought them exotic in their succulent roundness and still host these old time beauties in my garden.

My Dad has been a vegetable gardener for many years.I think his specialties have been potatoes, onions, tomatoes and peas.  In his early retirement years, the garden expanded and appeared to be better kept.  Sweet corn and squash, beets and radishes have thrived and we have all suffered through his Zucchini successes. He not only grew the produce, but was an important cog in the pickling and preserving process.  My Dad is now 86 years old and – I don’t think it is a secret – has had a tough time health wise this Spring.  With this knowledge, I was happy to hear my Mom tell me “Your Dad, planted the tomato plants, yesterday.”  He must be feeling better.

I think this shows that men and women together know the joy and hope and wellness that a garden brings.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Father’s Day in the Garden
I use Father’s Day each year as a guideline to pinch back the tops of sedums and chrysanthemums to encourage branching stems and less leafy growth.  It is also a great time to trim your evergreens as most of the new growth will have appeared.  While you have your trimmers out, you can also cut back shrubs that have finished blooming this spring.  You can give them just a little trim or cut back up to a third of the size of the shrub to keep it in check.  Don’t trim back your shrubs that haven’t bloomed as you will be removing this year’s flower buds.