Who influenced your green thumb ability?

My question is not really a typical HT question asking for suggestions or a solution to a how/to problem, rather I find myself interested in how members of the HT community came to their appreciation for gardens and gardening? Were you inspired by someone in your family, school or neighborhood? Did you see a garden that made you think, oh I want to do that too?
I am not sure where my interest began, but my dearly departed grandfather who was born on this day, May 19th (in 1903), did have flowers, shrubs and trees in his yard. He can be seen with one of his trees in this image.
If you'd like to read about how I feel he may have influenced my tendency in gardening I have a post on Blogger (@http://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2010/01/how-my-urban-garden-grows-highly.html).
Meanwhile, I'd love to know what or who influenced you, so please leave a comment. Thanks and may you always have a garden to tend or have access to one to appreciate.
who influenced your green thumb ability, flowers, gardening
  14 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 19, 2014
    My mom. Having grown up "working a large garden" in the 40s and 50s, I hated it. It was dirty, hot, back breaking work but I did not have a choice! Dad said, "you don't work, you don't eat". That sure gives one encouragement! Later on, flowers, etc.replaced beans and corn, so it took on a different meaning. And my Mom loved gardening...rooted, planted, tilled and loved it. I guess I just began to find an interest. I remember all of my past "farming ways" but just do not have a place to find out if I can feed myself from the soil.
  • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 19, 2014
    Much the same as you, it was my Grandmother. Even when we were very little and my mom would drop in to have coffee, we always found Grandma on the back "stoop" smoking and picking at her flowers. She would say "come see my Asteraceae Gazania Logiscapa" and we would follow her and look at her pretty flowers. She knew all the latin names and would even make up some of her own. Nasturtiums were "nasties" and so on. She loved her flowers and from that, my mother loved hers. We always had a garden growing up in FL and I still love plants today. Every time I see a Gazania or a Nasturtium, I think of my Grandmother. I still have jade plants that have grown from pieces she gave me after I was married in my twenties. I have shared pieces of that with friends and neighbors every where I have lived. I think of it as Grandma is traveling with her jade plants to teach everyone how to love gardening.
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    • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 20, 2014
      I haven't seen that movie but will make a point to look it up :) If I didn't have to work, I would garden and cook all day :)
  • Leona G Leona G on May 19, 2014
    My Dad, I started vegetable gardening as soon as I could walk. We also had fruit trees. Both of my grandparents also gardened. My Dad said "if you can't eat it there's no reason to grow it." But he did grow roses for my Mom. I still garden and also can some of my vegies when there are enough. I have citrus, which we are going to loose in FL., blackberries, figs and a whole bunch of flowers.
  • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 19, 2014
    And I would add that even when I don't grow my own, I will go pick the local produce or buy from the local farmer's market before going to the grocery store for produce. I just picked and shelled conch peas last week and blueberries on Friday. Nothing beats it fresh off the farm :)
    • TheLastLeafGardener TheLastLeafGardener on May 20, 2014
      @Leslie Long I agree with you about fresh off the farm, I live in NYC, but a number of Greenmarkets are available and in addition to nothing beating a farm fresh taste, I like to support my local growers.
  • Jane White Jane White on May 19, 2014
    My grandparents & my father. Grandpa had fruit & nut trees, a full blown vegetable garden, sugar cane, honey bees for honey & chickens for meat & eggs. I didn't know I lived in a big city! New Orleans was across the river. We lived in Algiers! Grandma had the flowers. When we moved to Pensacola, Fla, my Daddy had a vegetable garden & roses. I always buy from the local farmers what I don't grow myself.
    • TheLastLeafGardener TheLastLeafGardener on May 20, 2014
      @Jane White Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate your attention to tail in your descriptions and can picture as well a taste the edibles you described. I can understand your feelings about the city when it comes to access to freshly grown foods but I do know of an urban farmer in Seattle and I'm sure they are in other cities too!
  • I was born with it. I remember in elementary school 40 years ago doing my science fair projects on growing plants or collecting and identifying rocks. I have always had a green thumb saving plants my mother would kill. My teenage years I had a Schefflera tree, ivy, a 20' philodendron and other assorted plants hanging/sitting in my no window room that grew with a 60 watt lightbulb because I was not allowed to use anything higher that would run up the electric bill. LOL when I moved out at 17 my green thumb grew stronger and I could never pass up a 25 cent markdown or someone gifting me a sick plant. Sure I had a mother and even a sister-and for many the only thing we shared was 'ditch digging' which I now know is wrong and illegal. Years later I know that my love for plants came from something within; and this ability I have does not stop with my yard...I go out and help others do this and have saved plants outside of my home and gardens. Even though my attempt was futile (to use my passion for plants to connect), I feel so alive when I am in nature and breathing in the freshness of life and the beauty that is... Now at 48, my green thumb produces plants that I trade or give away (because it is illegal to sell plants if you do not have a nursery license!) My sons and husband say I am a 'crazy plant lady' because I cannot stop my obsession with saving plants or trading plants with friends and strangers. My life revolves around my hubby, my 2 sons, 2 dogs, and now 3 cats. It does not matter what other people think or do not think of me or the way I live my life because when I step outside in my yard and take in the smells and sights of my gardens I cannot help but to feel BLESSED.
  • Ellen Selph Ellen Selph on May 19, 2014
    My mom loved growing things and I have inherited that love. But we both got the passion from my grandmother. I swear that woman had a green hand, not just a thumb. I have many plants and trees in my yard that came from her home. She loved sharing her plants as much as she loved tending them.
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on May 19, 2014
    i guess it would be me....watched too many plants get killed by my family so i became the plant doctor lol i really like plants i talk to them etc love dirt under my finger nails...love inside and out but outside are my favorite because i am "outside" xx
  • Silvan Johnson Silvan Johnson on May 19, 2014
    My mother tells me all the time that I have taken after my grandmother, who immigrated here from Italy. In addition to my grandfather's farm, my Nana always had a garden near the house in which she grew many veggies and fruits. My brother even has a grape vine in his yard that originated from the one in my grandmother's back yard. My mother, having grown up on the farm wanted nothing to do with growing anything, so although I never had gardens at my own house growing up, as soon as I moved into my own place with a yard I started gardening. My husband, however, has taught me many new things about gardening and preserving the produce we grow.
  • Annette C Annette C on May 19, 2014
    My grandma with out a question. favorite memory was the planting season right after Easter. My family hid the eggs the night before & the next morning only 1/2 the eggs could be found.... When we started tilling the garden we Found all the missing eggs, our dog had helped hide the eggs & she did a better job too.... We must have found flat of eggs berried in the garden....
  • Elisa Elisa on May 19, 2014
    My grandmother, who just passed in September, always had me in her yard whether I wanted to or not. Strangers would even pull into the driveway to find out "what is this" or "how can I get mine to look like that". Her gardens and yard was her greatest pride and joy I believe. She shared many tricks, including if you share your plantings, they will continue to flourish. Also, something my mother shared with me from her grandparents that held true: gardening while angry helps plants grow. Surprisingly, and inadverently, she was right. I miss her wisdom, but I've gain her green thumb. Only mine is lime-colored ;).
  • Julie Dever Julie Dever on May 19, 2014
    My Dad, but his efforts weren't very rewarding...he worked and only had evenings and weekends to garden...not enough. Mom and us 7 kids weren't interested and never helped! I regret that NOW. Most influential... Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening fame......Totally revolutionary success over poor soil conditions. Buy the book!
  • Sharon E. Hines Sharon E. Hines on May 19, 2014
    My Dad.
  • Silvan Johnson Silvan Johnson on May 20, 2014
    All four of my grandparents, actually, immigrated from Sicily....the Palermo region...but the one I was closest to was my Nana, who died when I was 18. All of them worked the land and one of my brothers and I definitely took after them, while my other two siblings don't care to play in the dirt like we do :) Funny how that works.....isn't it? My husband grew up in the country on a small working farm and has so much knowledge of the old ways of doing things....he was a perfect match for me :)
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    • Silvan Johnson Silvan Johnson on May 20, 2014
      @TheLastLeafGardener What a beautiful story! And thank you for your kind words....perhaps my Nana did send my hubby my way :) So nice to hear you found your soul mate :)