When I was born, I went to live with my grandparents Jasper & Bertha Ward on their farm/tree nursery with my other siblings, after they had raised 12 children of their own. This was not their first farm, they originally had a dairy farm in another county.
When Jasper retired from farming in the early 1950’s, he slowly converted part of the acreage into a tree nursery, along with beautiful gardens. And, from what my great aunt Molly Noe (Jasper’s sister) told me, his father, Joseph Ward, also was a gardener (he had done gardening for the Lily family on Meridian Street in Indianapolis).
My siblings & I grew up in this beautiful environment and it must have rubbed off on at least 2 of us, as my brother also is quite the gardener too. Jasper passed his love of farming and gardening on to the next generations. He had many grandchildren and some of them are now farmers and gardeners too.
Life on the farm/tree nursery was idyllic to a little youngster, plenty of room to run free and explore. Jasper had planted beautiful peony gardens for Bertha, gardens filled with perennials, bulbs like tulips and lilies and a big vegetable garden, which kept us fed year round. There was an orchard, with a little creek running by the back side of it and plenty of trees to climb and build forts in and two big barns to explore. There were cherry trees and pear trees, raspberries, walnut trees and pecan trees. There were even gooseberry shrubs. He tried his hand at grafting fruit trees and was quite good at it. When we were little tykes like in the above photo, there were chickens and sheep (baby lambs), as well as hogs.
I like to think I got an early start …..