The Gift of Generational Gardening

Shannon Hathaway
Shannon is a horticulturist, turfgrass expert, and sales consultant at Super-Sod of Cary, North Carolina. Shannon is the creative type and stays busy with many talents - from landscape design, to knitting, writing, and being a mom and grandmother. She ran her own award-winning landscaping company before selling it and joining the Super-Sod team. We got lucky! She takes her passion for plants home with her and gardens on the weekends too. Look for more blogs from Shannon here and on our sister website,
December 8, 2020 2 minute read

My most vibrant childhood memories are set in the gardens of my grandmother and my mother. As a toddler, I walked with my grandmother through rows and rows of vegetables and sunflowers that towered over my head, pulling eggs warm from the chicken coop, and stuffing my face with fresh fruits. My grandparents were dairy farmers, and my grandmother grew and canned over 500 quarts of vegetables a year!

My grandmother at center. My father far left.

As I grew older, I helped my mother lay out and maintain her 18th century style herb garden at our historic home, delighting in the fragrance of the thyme, lemon balm, and lavender.

I scavenged in the vegetable garden, picking fresh tomatoes to eat immediately with my best friend, my mother always asking, “Where is the salt shaker?” (We had left it in the garden.)

My mother took me picking blueberries and strawberries from local Pick-Your-Own farms, and elderberries from secret swampland. We canned and preserved tasty jams. My mother made the richest, most delicious grape juice. Her crabapple tree was ancient and spectacular.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

A Growing Family in My Own Garden

My sons grew up much the same, helping me in my gardens, and enjoying the fruits and vegetables of their labor. I would ask them what they wanted to grow, and when they were young they asked for blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe. As they grew older, they requested hops – so we grew four varieties.

My youngest has now moved to Brooklyn where he has no land to grow, but my eldest and his wife grow wonderful peppers, herbs, and tomatoes in raised beds he built. Their front yard is home to two healthy fig trees.

Tim's Raised Beds for vegetable gardening
My eldest son’s garden.

Putting Down Roots - Again

I am in my third, and hopefully last, home in Chatham County, NC. I have a 1600 square foot vegetable garden and orchard with tall deer fencing covered in hops and grapes.

My eldest son helped me dig the small retention pond, build the raised beds, and fill each bed with pure Soil³ humus compost. My father lends his experience, advice, and expertise. My grandsons plant the potatoes and help with the harvest – especially the blueberries!

Finn with blueberries

My grandson with his harvest.

The unfenced perennial beds, top-dressed annually with Soil³, are bordered by onions, garlic, lavender, and rosemary to keep the deer at bay. Every summer I can salsa, tomato sauce, fiery hot pepper jelly, and candied hot peppers. The hops are picked, dried, and sent to my youngest son in Brooklyn for home brewing. Neighbors and friends stop by for the extra zucchini, butternut squash, peppers, and tomatoes. Dad’s cats patrol the gardens and keep rodents away.

galvanized tubs or troughs for raised bed vegetable gardening
Baby on garden patrol.

With my roots firmly planted in rich soil, it is no accident that I pursued a career in horticulture. I happily do my hobby for a living. I treasure the fact that I have been gifted with experiencing five generations of gardening. In 1998 we lost my grandmother at age 90. In March of this year we lost my mother at age 75. My sons knew them both. My grandsons knew my mother and have so far experienced four generations of gardening as well.Carrots

Share gardening with your family and enjoy the delicious rewards.

Start Gardening Together with Your Family

This holiday season, I encourage you to give the gift of generational gardening. Dig in the dirt with your children and grandchildren. Teach them the science, art, and nature of gardening. Let them get their hands dirty and experience the joy of watching a seed they plant make its progression to the table. They will experience success and failure and they will learn from both. Together you will form a stronger bond, promote a healthier life, and create memories.

At Super-Sod, we have put together the perfect gift to get you started – The Soil³ Mini Garden Kit. Stop by our stores to pick one up and start the tradition of gardening with your loved ones.Soil3 Mini Garden Kit

Start a gardening tradition with the Soil³ Mini Garden Kit

Family photos by Shannon Hathaway.

The Gift of Generational gardening


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