Choo-Choo Hosta

My friends know that I am into gardens. I have a page dedicated to my Garden hobby. I often show photos of flowers and my garden in my posts. During the winter, I write about my indoor garden.

This weekend, I had occasion to scour through a couple of thousand old photos. I came across some that I had forgotten about. They are of my first real garden adventure. Prestwick is the neighborhood I lived in during another lifetime. The properties were large and there was room to make some nice things happen. There were trees, shrubs, lawn, and flower beds too. Previous to Prestwick, I didn’t really get into gardening, but Barb did. She was the master planter and color coordinator. I helped her with shovel work. When we moved to Prestwick, I got the bug, not for the horticultural aspect but for an aqua-scape. I fell in love with the idea of a pond. I told people that I always wanted to own lakefront property, but couldn’t afford it, so I built my own lake in the back yard. The idea became a reality and the rest developed from there.

I told a fellow engineer at work about my ideas for the pond while we were on a twenty hour flight to Singapore. A few months later he asked me  when I would get started. “Soon,”I replied.

“How soon?”  he asked.

He basically chided me to “s_ _ _  or get off the pot.”

“I can be there tonight with a backhoe.”

“Okay.”

I got home from work at my usual six-thirty and had supper with Barb. In the middle of our dinner the dishes began to shake on the table. “What is that?” she asked.

“It is probably Delmar coming to dig the hole.”  Just as I finished those words a blue tractor with a back hoe stopped at the end of our drive.

“What is going on?”

“We are digging the hole for the pond.”

“When were you going to tell me?”

“Now.”

That was the beginning of my love affair with the garden. It took several years to develop a pond and the surrounding landscape. Each year, we changed it to make it look better. I had a new vision of what it should look like after I finished the last one. Of course, each vision built on the last.

During the first five years I installed a little pond with a waterfall spilling into the big pond,. That wasn’t enough, I added a second  waterfall to spill into the little pond. After that, I was unhappy with the water clarity, so I designed a filter. A pump moved pond-water underground to the filter-aerator.  Clean oxygenated water returned  via a stream to the big pond. A little complicated, but it all worked pretty good, and it looked okay too. The fish were very happy and growing along with a variety of bog, and water plants. There was the sound of trickling,and splashing water to soothe the soul.

All the time I was playing hydro-engineer, Barb continued to plant a variety of perennials. She mixed annuals in between to add color and textures. The garden was shady, so she learned to plant only those things that grew well in shade like hosta and Impatiens.

We went to the Farmer’s market in town and discovered a vendor who specialized in hostas. He gave me a history of all the possibilities and varieties of hosta plants. Before long there was a collection of sixty different hosta varieties.

One year we were on a vacation trip to Michigan, We loved to stop in small towns and look at the shops. Out of a hundred shops, maybe one turned me on. This time, we found a shop that sold G-Scale Trains made by the Kalamazoo Toy Train Factory. These trains are commonly used in garden railways.  I never heard of a garden railroad before, but the idea was intriguing. Barb let me buy an 1850’s steam locomotive with a tender, a passenger car and a flatbed. It was on display around our christmas tree for the first few years before I got the bug to add a new feature to the pond;  add the train as an item of interest in the garden. What that translates into is track, and a train. No buildings, or people, just track, plants, and trains. The garden became animated.

It took a complete year to develop the 100 foot road bed with trestle, a bridge, and a tunnel.  The effort was worth it.

Here are some of the photos that started this long-winded piece of personal history.

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