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What brought me here

February 1, 2010

There is a joke in my family that I, the oldest child, was destined to love plants from the moment my parents met – which was in a place called “Gardener’s Island”. Later, they came to the part of the country where I grew up through a guy they met at a horticultural show. Bought a house in a street with the word “garden” in its name. I could, if I wanted to, also make a connection to my first name.

15 months old

15 months old and already clutching the watering can.

Whether they’re omens or funny coincidences, plants and gardens were certainly one of my biggest passions early on. My first memories are of herbs drying on the attic, climbing a storm-damaged tree, eating chives in the garden. Toddler pictures show me with watering cans and fistfuls of weeds. The first Christmas present I remember was a wooden tractor with a working seed drill.

Letters and words came into my life around the same time houseplants began to feature more prominently. I remember the plants in my room at that time more clearly than the furniture, I remember playing among the larger potted plants in the other rooms. I remember learning to read, to write, picking up the first English words from two neighbour girls and their mother, I remember making up my first secret alphabet…

My mother claims there was a time when I didn’t like to read, but I don’t remember it. If I didn’t like to read in primary school, why would I have read my first plant book and started to criticize my parents for constantly confusing bindweed and vetch (which have similar names in German)?

By the time I was a teenager, Letters and Leaves had me firmly in their clutches. The Letters filled up my bookcase in the form of the books I gobbled up, and my notebooks in the form of stories, languages and alphabets I made up, my head with English, Latin and Spanish. The Leaves filled my extra-broad windowsill with double rows of houseplants, the garden with vegetables as I worked alongside my father, and my head with the tentative idea of doing something like this for a living.

But it took me years to take that step. I went on to school, much longer that I’d have liked, collecting more books, stories, languages, more plants, both indoors and out. I even went on to university, but after a few months there, I decided I’d had enough of sitting on my butt and studying. I dropped out and started looking for an apprenticeship.

Four years later, I’m a journeywoman horticulturist, owner of hundred houseplants and four hundred books, working on more stories than I care to count, setting up a blog so I’ll have a place to ramble about my passions.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 23:00

    Hello! I found you via PATSP. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your entries, and I’ll be back to read more.

    My wonderful landlord is from Vienna. He’s not a gardner, but he’ll be glad to know that I’m reading an Austrian blog!

  2. October 13, 2012 16:52

    Thank you for sharing the story of your growing up with letters and leaves. 🙂

    I hope that more letters and leaves will continue to dazzle you and fill your home with even more beautiful times and your mind with beautiful memories.

    • October 14, 2012 11:01

      They’re both here to stay, the Letters and the Leaves – I don’t think I could get rid of them if I wanted to!

  3. April 24, 2013 22:43

    Hi Ivy, I’m really curious to know where and how you learned to write English so well. I was born in Hungary, but grew up in an English speaking country.

    • April 24, 2013 23:08

      I’ve been reading a lot of English books since I was fourteen, and started writing in English for fun around the same time. And I guess I have a bit of a talent for languages (I just wish I had learned more when I was younger.)

      • April 25, 2013 02:33

        lol – ‘bit of a talent for languages’ is an understatement! The only language I can read and write /properly/ is English. -sigh-

    • April 25, 2013 06:58

      Hehe, yeah, I use English and German pretty interchangeably now. Forgot most of my Latin and Spanish, though, and I kind of gave up on learning Dutch.

      • April 25, 2013 09:56

        -grin- You could always moonlight as a translator!

        • April 25, 2013 19:28

          I actually used to translate the Harry Potter books for my family – I think I did a better job than the official translator!

          • April 26, 2013 02:25

            Wow, now that is impressive. If I ever get to the point of having Vokhtah in other languages I am going to remember you. 😀

  4. August 11, 2015 16:30

    Ich schreib jetzt einfach mal auf deutsch, wo du es doch verstehst. Wow, bist du mir sympathisch. 🙂 Ich habe vor kurzem eine Gärtnerausbildung begonnen und war auf der Suche nach Pflanzenbildern – dabei stieß ich auf deine Website. Sieht wirklich wunderschön aus, was bei dir so alles wächst! Bücher liebe ich auch.
    Ganz liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

    • August 12, 2015 18:58

      Hallo Bettina! Viel Glück für deine Ausbildung!
      Dein Kommentar hat mich sehr gefreut! Dein Blog sieht auch interessant aus, da werde ich sicher ab und zu reinschauen.

  5. October 12, 2016 16:23

    Deinen Blog zu finden war wirklich ein Glücksfall. Ich bin Siebenbürgerin, 12 Jahre in O.Ö. in einem Flüchtlingslager, mit 17 nach Süd Dakota, USA. Traf und nach 5 Jahren heiratete einen Deutschen, auch Einwanderer. Unsere Kinder durften nur Deutsch reden im Haus. Die Enkeltochter spricht auch Deutsch, besucht eine Immersion School für Spanisch. Zum Glück liebt sie Pflanzen und Bücher genau so wie ich. Sie ist 9 Jahre alt. Sie wird sich freuen wenn ich ihr diesen Blog zeige.

    • October 15, 2016 10:47

      Danke für deine Kommentare, ich hab mich sehr darüber gefreut! Ich finde es immer total spannend, zu erfahren, wer die Leute sind, die meinen Blog lesen! Ich wünsche dir und deiner Enkelin noch viel Spaß beim Lesen!

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