In Dad’s Garden

In Dad’s Garden

Yesterday, Tom and I went to visit my dad down in San Diego. One of the highlights, always, is the Garden Tour. Every time I’ve visited since I moved out thirty years ago, the first words (after initial greetings) from dad have been  – “How about a garden tour?”

The man has magic in his hands. About twenty years or so ago, he decided to dig up his lawn and plant. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins – you name it, he planted it. This section of used-to-be-lawn now regularly gets tilled (the old fashioned way – with a shovel) and prepared every February for planting.

These are his tomato plants. They make mine look puny. PUNY, I tell you! (Note the sunflowers facing away at the top of the photo!)

Dad's tomato plants

And take a look at his pumpkins. Mine got started about a month after his did, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that eventually they’ll really take off. Neither of mine are the gigantic pumpkins like his are, but still…aren’t those leaves pretty?

Dad's big punkin

This one is about 12 – 15 inches across.

Dad's punkin patch

The leaves are about knee high.

Then there are the sunflowers. Freaking gorgeous! When I told him about my spindly ones with lots of flowers, he said he’s always wanted to grow those. So…this fall, we shall have a sunflower seed exchange, lol. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to grow dinner plate beauties!


These stand about 17′ high.

Plus his apple trees, berry bushes, and the Meyer Lemon tree that started my fixation with all things lemon, a long time ago. I always make sure to pick as many lemons as I can, and stash them in the fridge to keep them as long as I can. I may actually have to learn how to preserve lemons!

(So far, my own little Meyer Lemon trees still have their lemons – and they’re getting to be a good size, too. So keep your fingers crossed for those trees!)

Here’s Dad’s Meyer Lemon tree…

Dad's Meyer Lemon tree

The tree that started it all…

And now, of course, a photo of my dad, resting in the garden.


Chet Cunningham

Though you can’t see it, behind the lemon tree to the left is the berry bush – beyond that is a pear tree.  You can see just a bit of the Grapefruit Tree that Ate the House on the right.

This is the yard I grew up in, missing only the swing and the above-ground pool (which used to stand where the tomatoes are now).

Now you know why I garden. Thanks, Daddy. Love you!


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