Some of my best childhood memories happened in my Grandpa's greenhouse. His collection of lush tropical plants created the perfect backdrop for my imaginary adventures with my three feline friends: Tiger, Whitey and Clarence.
I imagined Tiger and Whitey were hunting in the wilds of Africa, when they were stalking mice under the cement planter boxes or warily moving between the rows of flowerpots searching for moles.
Clarence was the Cat King. He preferred to spend his day draped over the cast-iron radiator. He did his best hunting at night. With his wide double-padded paws he could bring down larger vermin, like possum or groundhog.
Everyday when I opened the greenhouse door my loyal band of hunters greeted me with purring smiles and small dissected-tokens of their affection.
When I wasn't petting my cats or making up stories, I was learning a few things about growing plants from my Grandpa. As his young apprentice he had my undivided attention, something that was almost never given to my schoolteachers. Grandpa and I were like peas and carrots and the only thing that ever spoiled our fun was being called in for supper.
After my Grandpa passed away, I watched the greenhouse I so loved, slowly fall into disrepair. The coal furnace broke down, the glass panes cracked one by one and eventually, even the wooden rafters rotted away.
That's the Greenhouse's past, now for the present...
This Christmas I opened a small box from my husband and sons. It contained a pair of garden gloves, a few packs of seeds, an old photo and the promise of many hours of their labor and dedication to rebuild my Grandpa's greenhouse.
Here are a few photos from the project.
The Greenhouse Future
When the greenhouse is restored, I will invite children young and old, to come in and enjoy the magic!
In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban