"It's Who I Am": My Garden Hat Inspiration

This story began when I went back into the exhibit building at our county fair to quickly shoot a picture of a champion ribbon.  I posted pictures from our county fair here.

I chose this ribbon because it was awarded to some Cypress Flowers which I thought were so beautiful! I didn't get a picture of the flowers...

As I was snapping a couple of pictures someone behind me to my left started talking about planting seeds for 50 years and on...it took me quite a few seconds to realize that the voice was addressing me.  I turned and it clicked that this woman was the owner of the flowers (and the ribbon) and was telling me about the flowers.

She got the seeds from her grandmother 50 years ago and had planted them every year since.  So they are heirloom flowers.  She even moved 7 times in those years!  She offered to send me some seeds.

Of course I jumped on the offer and scrounged to beg a pen and paper from someone to give her my name and address. 

She continued to talk about the miracle of what can grow from a tiny seed.  Her eyes beamed with her excitement about gardening and other wonders that she talked about.  I thought I had found a kindred soul, and then she turned to gather her other entries in the fair and was gone. I was left with the thrill of the brief encounter and the prospect of growing these flowers myself.

A week or so later she called and left a message that she had many volunteers of the Cypress so if I wanted to come to her garden, I could get plants along with seeds.  The Cypress is a biennial so then I wouldn't have to wait two years to get blooms.  I was so excited to get to talk with this woman again!

It actually worked out for me to drive up to her place one morning.  I was thrilled to not only get flowers, but to tour around her flower beds!  She is a Master Gardener, that is an earned classification that you can read about here.  I'm not sure if all states have such a program.  

She is 86 and so just "retired" from her volunteer position as a Master Gardener.  

She spoke of all the nuances of each plant and I loved every minute of our conversation!  She hates weeds and there were none in sight.  I asked if she has a lot of butterflies in the garden...she said didn't know as she was too busy looking down at the flowers and weeding!

She told me the reason she continues to enter flowers at the fairs is to inspire people to garden.  She has a suitcase full of ribbons and doesn't need/want any more.  She inspired me for sure!

Oh, to have that much knowledge and physical ability to still garden at 86....and her passion about the flowers...very inspiring.  I will probably always be more tolerant of weeds though, ha! I've had too many for too long!

She took me into an old barn on her farm and here is what she showed me, two old refrigerators that she keeps plugged in to store the flowers she picks.  She takes them to nursing homes and churches!

This woman delights in her flowers and in sharing them!

I didn't take a lot of pictures as I was engrossed in what she all was telling me and at the end I asked if I could take her picture.  She said, "Like this?" indicating her gardening clothes.  I said, "Of course!"  

To which she replied,

 "It's who I am."

Kim Klassen dot Com


  1. Smiling.....what a wonderful woman!

  2. Thank you Jill! What a beautiful story! She reminds me of my Babki. (great-grandma in Polish) She was a wonderful gardener among many other things.

  3. How special you are to notice a treasure when you see one...hear one <3

  4. Excellent story and what a treasure of a lady!

  5. I just LOVE her! :) What a wonderful story ! :) Luckily she too found a kindred spirit in you!

  6. I just LOVE her! :) What a wonderful story ! :) Luckily she too found a kindred spirit in you!

  7. When I grow up, I hope to have as much energy as this 86 year old Master Gardener. Thank you for sharing her delightful story!

  8. love that: it's who I am. I want to be able to say that with conviction just like her! What a wonderful story - thank you so much for sharing :)

  9. Such inspiration! Love her gardening outfit and her passion for gardening to inspire others. Thanks for sharing the story.

  10. Thank YOU Jill for delighting us by sharing this lovely and talented lady with us.
    What a special and magical encounter...
    when your flowers bloom you will always think of her too I am sure!

  11. I just love this post, Jill...what an inspiring woman! Love your header, too!

  12. what a great story - and truly inspiring! inspiring to get out there and talk to more people and find out about them - this woman is a gem :)


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