When the world ceases to inspire there is always the garden.”

     The first time I stepped my foot onto our property it was not a pretty sight, but there was a spirit here that kept this little half acre in the back of my mind. I came on a recommendation to attend a garage sale and noticed the house was for sale. I inquired of the owner and he agreed that I could take a look through the house. It was anything but desirable, in fact I walked in one room and turned around, thanking the owner and walked out. Our future house sat vacant for another year before my husband walked in one room and said “we’ll take it”. 

I almost cried thinking of the work involved to make this house into a home for our family. In fact I remember two of our children did cry and say we can’t live there. We were transplants from one of the most beautiful areas of Oregon, Lake Oswego, and our new home was not a pretty sight but one that had a spirit that only those with vision could appreciate and see the potential.

In 1983 our country experienced the same economic down turn we see today and that is what brought our family to Utah. We were thankful to have a job as many are today because of the challenges in the job market. BYU hired my husband so it required our family to leave loved ones and dear friends and come to Utah. I attended BYU many years prior but never with the thoughts of calling Utah my home.
When we began to prepare our home for our family it took the efforts of many. My husband would work well into the night everyday after work for six weeks. My father came from Oregon and stayed with us for that time to demolish, move walls and paint and replace every piece of flooring. Even neighbors gave a helping hand not only in labor but countless meals were brought over to the workers. There was a great deal of generosity given, our carpet layer charged us 10 cents for his labor which was truly a blessing to us and one that will never be forgotten.

Amid all the generosity given to us during that time of rebuilding the spirit of our home we have felt such a desire to give back. Our house that became a home has always been one of welcome to young and old and to those inquiring of the gardens. On countless occasions we would be eating on the deck and strangers would ask to see the gardens and we always felt the joy of sharing the spirit of the gardens with anyone who inquired.

As we raised our children a small business developed out of a passion of gardening. It allowed me to be a stay at home mom and do what I loved to do. Time went on; we grew too big for the neighborhood and expanded to State Street in Orem. After a year and a half of the “big time” I sold the business and moved on thinking I would never look back. But so many people I meet or see that were old customers when we had the business in the back yard ask to have the gardens open again. Well, “were back” but with a much different approach.

We are back to the basics with a “simpler life for you at Perennial Gardens”. With the encouragement and youthful push of a neighbor, Shelley Perry, we are opening the gardens again to tour and to provide the knowledge about a more simpler life, the basic fundamentals we have strayed so far from. I am once again stepping my foot onto new soil and feeling of the spirit that I left behind about ten years ago. 

Our main emphasis will be to educate the public about anything. If you have an idea let us know and we will find some one. Our first class will of course be basic herb gardening, we have bee-keeping, chicken tending, seed saving, goat keeping, basic bread making….it goes on and on. If you want to learn we will find an instructor. 

What seemed to be a run down unwanted piece of ground so many years ago has once again taken a re-birth and a new life. We hope to create with each skill a kinship with those men and women of times past. Every home, townhouse, or apartment has a prevailing spirit but in some cases it is so strong it infuses all those with in its boundaries. This is our purpose to give back to you what was given so generously to us.

See you in the garden…..soon 
~ Tonya
 This article was written for the Timpanogos Times: Edition: Thursday March 18, 2010, p.2.
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