• Junie Johnson Lowry

New Member Garden Memories

There are so many things that I love about gardening: trees, flowers, landscapes, growing vegetables - that it is impossible to imagine not having this passion and interest in my life. I think we are indeed very, very lucky to have been given this boundless gift of enjoyment. I am sure seeing my parents' working outdoors from the time I was born - landscaping non-stop at our lake property, planting trees, moving trees, trimming trees, the summer vegetable gardens, my mom planting Crepe Myrtles, Oklahoma Red Buds, a Mimosa Tree, and one precious Dogwood tree all around the property - was the foundation for this interest and joy. We always had something beautiful to look at, what a true gift! Growing up in Oklahoma with the up and down weather conditions, extreme heat, extreme cold and lots and lots of wind... I was absolutely astounded at the year round green and beauty in California when I moved here in my 20s. I could not believe that I could have a garden blooming flowers all year long. When I would go back to Oklahoma in the winter to visit, it seemed so bleak and drab, and I felt so badly for my parents to have to live through an entire winter of everything being brown.

So, I jumped into this new world of a year-round garden’s possibilities with gusto and set about to beautify my surroundings as much as I could wherever I was. I have planted gardens, trees, flowers, climbing roses in every apartment, rental house, condo, or house we have owned since I came here, and I have planted gardens on the Fox Lot, on the Universal Lot and on The Lot - where my office is currently in Hollywood. Anywhere there is a patch of dirt - I see a possible garden. And if there is no dirt, I am beginning to master the Container Garden scenario and had great fun this past year during quarantine turning our back driveway into a small oasis with a blooming vegetable garden, climbing roses and olive trees. I even had success for the first time ever with a purple clematis that is still alive and well. I remember how proud I was to show my mother my beautiful backyard of my first house, where I had an abundance of flowers - impatiens in particular - planted everywhere in full robust bloom (largely due to my overzealous relationship at that time with Miracle Grow), and her first comment when she looked out the back door was "You have so many flowers"! It wasn't negative or critical --- but one of surprise and bewilderment. And so happened the realization and the value of editing, choosing, and maybe even possibly planning! My gardening passion has always surpassed my gardening knowledge, and this is one reason I am so happy to be a part of the Garden Club. I am more interested now than ever in deepening my learning for both my enjoyment and my skills - for my California gardens but also for the hopeful gardens in my mind that I would like to plan, plant and have maintained at our Family Lake Property - or The Farm as we like to call it in Oklahoma. They are drastically different scenarios to garden in, but I want to do both. I am very excited that from the Garden Club Booklet on Propagation - I have successfully propagated two rose bushes from my beautiful climbing roses in my backyard. Crazy how exciting that was for me!

As far as Oklahoma - my hopes are a bit bigger. Besides planting more variety of trees on the property - I see in my mind fields of lavender and flowers growing and thriving. There are a lot of small flower farms springing up across the country and although I don't plan on going into the flower business - these are my hopes. I am presently taking a Flower Farming Course by Floret Flower Farm in Washington that is now an online course that I learned about last year from the owner of Los Poblanos Organic Lavender Farms in Albuquerque. She had taken the course a year earlier and after growing lavender for over 50 years - found the course illuminating and exciting and highly recommended it. She is well into her late 70s, has spent her life building her organic lavender farm and still interested in learning more. There has been a lot of 'growth' in my gardening life through the years and I guess this is one of the supreme gifts of this gardening journey we are on: there is always more growth.

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