1950's - The Garden
From the days when frugality was a way of life
I've said in the frugal pages that, really, it's not clever to be frugal; to our Grandparents (of my age group), it was something that was natural and in many ways essential due to two world conflicts in their time - 'Dig for Victory' was the motto and rose beds became cabbage patches and backyards were for chickens, if you were lucky.
Both my grandfathers served in WW1 and were 'keeping the home fires burning in WW2.
So, it would come as no surprise that much of my learning came from them. It's just that it took 40 years or so for me to get around to it!
I even use some of their garden hand tools which have found their way down to me.
Grandpa & Grandma Amas (my mothers side) had the true garden of the 40's and 50's.
The front was of lawn and neat / square borders full of annuals during the summer and cut grass during the off seasons.
The garage had the wonderful mixed smells of car with leather upholstery, engine oil, wooden tools and stored vegetables, something which remains with me to this day.
Immediately beyond the french doors in the sitting room lay the first half of the back garden, similar to the front, very square patterns and high wooden fencing. At the end of this was a high hedge with a narrow gap to the left which took you into yet another world .......the Vegetable and Fruit Garden.
The immediate memory of this is the regimental planting of the veg.
In true Percy Thrower fashion, Grandpa would do his digging with shirt and tie stopping only rarely to curse some weed which wasn't there the night before.
This part must have been about 60 feet long by 20 feet wide, but a child would always see it bigger. I know the potatoes and runner beans were the main feature.
At the end of this was yet another gate which led to a couple of steps going down. In here he had a couple of hives, loads of compost heaps and more the wilder plants like rhubarb etc.
Strangely, behind that were Allotments ! Regret to say, the allotment is now South West College !
So, this was a natural way of life for them. Grow your own and reap your labour.
It brings me back down to earth when I think of them.
The Cannons reverted to pre-war garden not long after it ended. They had a smaller garden which had a path meandering up to a small fish pond at the top.
My Grandmother attracted cats and the kitchen would be a day long smell of fish boiling and cats on every window sill !
Grandpa liked his roses and would get quite grumpy if you dared to venture near them. Grandma loved her herbs and lavendar plants - again, the smell of memory !
In the summer, she would, along with Grandpa, pop down the road to pick hops with some London friends. It's odd, because she didn't need the money, but she was motivated by people and would giggle a lot, mainly at Grandpa because of his grumpiness !!
I went along a few times.
Again, it was that sense of 'you get what you work for' which came accross in them all. I guess it being a left over from hardships in conflict.
So, for a good decent basic no thrills guide to gardening, find the Home Front sites.. Look at those and you'll learn about frugal and a load more to count.
I'm so lucky I saw what I saw and learnt what I've learnt - my only regret is that they are not here to see my efforts in copying them
See also the Down the Lane 'Wartime Home Front Garden' page