Nature has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

My father celebrated spring by gathering the first wild violets from the backyard in our home in Madison (Nashville), Tennessee for my mother. She put them into an old pimento cheese jar in the kitchen window. Do you remember those jars? They were glass and rather small.

Although my mother couldn’t stand getting her hands dirty, she planted zinnias with me most summers. I suppose they were almost fool-proof for a child to grow.

But the joy of nature came to me through my paternal line. My father was the youngest child, so he spent much time with his mother in her flower and vegetable gardens. According to him and my cousins, she enjoyed growing and tending her flowers. I remember African violets inside her house. Flowers growing indoors fascinated the blooming nature-child within me.

My father, uncles, and neighbors had vegetable gardens in their backyards every summer during my growing up years – enough for the family and even more to share. Looking back, the one common food among them was tomatoes, which they exchanged with pride. Each grew different varieties and experimented, so that the exchange became somewhat of a contest. Who grew the biggest, the best tasting, the most yield?

My affinity for nature grew from these experiences.


Here’s a link to my book about traditional meaning of flowers, trees, and herbs. It’s a product that evolved from those nature-loving times.


Information and photos used on this site belong to Brenda Jenkins Kleager, or have been found in public domain.