Valley Reporter staff called local growers and purveyors of flowers and veggie starts this week to get the lay of the land now that longtime nursery and greenhouse owners Tobi and Sally von Trapp have retired.


Rest assured readers, we’ll be in good hands this year as others are stepping up to fill the void. Talking about tomatoes and geraniums and hanging baskets and onion sets and pansies this week invoked the smell of tomato plants, the smell of geraniums, the patience needed for untangling onion starts.

For vegetable gardeners, the garden is always a compelling place; it’s the first thing we check in the morning and at the end of the day, looking for tomato flowers, beans to germinate, the first frail hairs that will become the carrot greens and the cucumbers and summer squash sprawling past their allotted territories.

For flower gardeners (many of us are both!) watching the progression from spring ephemerals to daffodils and pansies and the full spectrum of beauty that follows through the end of the asters in the fall offers a long slow unfolding of beauty. It’s so gratifying to be able to cut the flowers that beautify the outside of the house and fill the inside with them.

And sure, gardens are work, but they’re also meditative and require using our hands which means our phones and their inherent distractions, get left behind. That alone justifies the effort!

And later in the season, it is so nice to eat or make salsa or marinara sauce with your own tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and herbs. How amazing to grow so many onions that you end up learning how to make and pressure can French onion soup! What a treat to end up with too much summer squash and carrots and be able to give them to friends and the food pantry.

Many are familiar with this verse from a poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney, called “God’s Garden.”

“The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on Earth.”

Regardless of one’s definition of a supreme being, Dorothy Frances Gurney nailed it with this verse.