Recently I was wandering at my local mega home improvement store. The minions of happy workers were like bumble bees, unloading multiple pallets of lawn seeds, mulch and fertilizers. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, which is not an unusual occurrence for me at this particular fine establishment. I always wear my expensive hiking shoes when I go there to lessen the chance of developing blisters from marching up and down aisles, looking high and low for my items.

This time I found an employee who made noises like he might know where to find my desired loot. We wandered together for a few aisles before giving up. He admitted they didn’t yet have the party lights I was hoping to string up in the backyard. Spring has come very early to Iowa and the store wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of customers eager to dig in the dirt and set out lawn chairs.

That got me thinking about the garden I should be pondering but haven’t yet gotten to because I have priorities higher than vegetables picked in the fall.

When I was a child my adoptive Mormon family had the world’s largest garden. My dad rototilled up most of the expansive backyard and we six kids were put to work. It was explained to me that the church prophet wanted us to grow vegetables in the backyard and flowers in the front. I assumed the prophet believed in child labor chain gangs also, because in my new adopted home, kids did all the heavy lifting so we could learn something called a ‘work ethic’.

For years I have been amused to watch new converts in the church as they struggled with the concepts of food storage and gardening. Some take to it easily and others are more like me, finding it lovely in theory and completely annoying in real life.

Is putting in gardens and flowers, making our yards the best on the block, as big of a deal as it used to be? My adoptive dad said that President Kimball wanted people to drive by our house and identify us as Mormon based on how lovely our yard looked. It was a lot of pressure for an eight year-old girl who was just sprung from the foster care system.

Having struggled for 20 plus years as a grown up trying to put in, maintain and harvest a veggie garden, does this rule still stand in force or am I finally released from the 7th ring of hell I like to call the garden center store?