Weigela ‘Minuet’

I grew up in the Mt. Washington section of Baltimore City in a nice, Dutch colonial house. Access to the front was a steep set of stairs and the landscaping was minimal although I do remember a Weigela tree that bloomed every spring (I suspect it was a shrub that became a tree because no one ever pruned it). That was the extent of my gardening knowledge. Access to the back was through the alley. The back yard was bordered by some landscape beds but there wasn’t much in them until my younger brother Lee discovered gardening.

Iris germanica

We would walk to Mt. Washington Elementary School or take the streetcar. Frequently, on our way home from school, we passed the home of a man who was passionate about bearded iris. Lee eventually struck up a conversation with the gentleman who was happy to teach my brother about gardening. Eventually, this neighbor gave Lee some divisions and he brought them home and planted them in our non-descript “garden”. I thought they were pretty but at that time, the outdoors did not tempt me; I would rather be reading.

Iris sibirica ‘Welcome Returns’

While I love iris, I have concentrated on planting Siberian iris because they are not nearly as much work as the bearded but the flowers are larger and the color range is much wider.

Who could have guessed that I would make gardening and landscape design a profession while Lee went on to become a dynamite salesman and regional manager for a large electronics company? As we grew older, we sadly grew apart but our love of gardening was always a common bond. Even sadder is the fact Lee died this past week. Younger siblings are not supposed to die first.

Life has many twists and turns and one never knows where we’ll end up or what we’ll be doing.