Sunday, March 2, 2014

Master Gardener and owner of Perennial Gardens

I have been blessed, in this life, to know some pretty remarkable women... Tonya is one of them. When I started this series "Women of a Certain Age" she immediately came to mind. We have known each other for more than 20 years but as I visited with her I was shocked at all I didn't know. I can more clearly see, not only, how she became a master gardener but how she has connected with the earth in such a way that everything she touches blooms.

With Tonya's permission I will tell her story...

Tonya's Guest House
At a very, very young age, Tonya's mother abandoned the family. Her father, overwhelmed by his circumstances put her and her two brothers into the foster care system. It fully lived up to its reputation. They remained in that situation until Tonya was four years old. Then one day she and her brothers were whisked away and placed for adoption.

She recalls being shown her room for the very first time. Not only was there a bed just for her, but a beautiful dresser filled with clothes she could call her own. To this day she loves the smell of the wood and cedar in a dresser drawer.

Then... her adopted parents divorced and once again her life turned upside down. She remained with her father but life was extremely difficult and harsh. She recalls wishing for "normal"

Tonya's one soft place to land was her Grandma Irene. This good woman taught her to garden and to love the earth and Tonya found peace and solace digging in the dirt. She even mowed lawns with a push lawnmover for 25 cents just so she could smell the grass. Gardening saved her soul and became her passion.
                                                                                                                    Tonya's Herb Barn

Moving to the country, Tonya has transformed her backyard, quite literally, into a botanical utopia. Around the Guest Cottage, the Herb Barn, and of course her Shop there are masses of blooms. As a master gardener, she knows every flower, herb, tree and weed under her care.

Guests come to dine under the arbor and many a lucky bride and groom have celebrated their special day in her "little piece of heaven"

She teaches gardening and herb classes, raises chickens and has just acquired some darling goats. Well known for her "tussie mussies" and her flavored oils she is "famous" for her Lemon Thyme cookies.

All that Tonya missed as a child she created as a adult. Encouraged by a loving husband and six lucky children she has transformed harshness into tranquility, loneliness into beauty and neglect into a gentle, forgiving nature.

"Standing in her garden feels
like coming home"

Join us Thursday and I will tell you about Tonya's adventures in raising chickens and share her famous recipe for...

Lemon Thyme Cookies