Awarded first place by IPA (International Photography Awards) in the fine art category of self published book. A garden may have beautiful blood red poppies or simple marigolds or be filled with life sustaining vegetables or healing herbs and the spice of life. There will be belligerent weeds and even vicious thorns and rabbits will visit and snakes will slither amid the vegetation and stretch out to sun in the oasis between rows. The creation of a garden is no small feat, the land is tilled, earth turned under, the weeds removed, the plot is smoothed and leveled, the rows are laid and the seeds and starts are set. It is Mother Nature’s table. And then there is the daily watering and more hoeing and weed pulling and caring for the tender shoots as they enter the world. And slowly the small sprouts are hardened by the weather and living in the world. The rabbits, deer and array of creatures smell the invitation to dine and in a night’s time can finish off of a row of beans that were to be the gardener’s bounty. And then there is Mother Nature’s hand always at work, sometimes providing a gentle rain or kind temperatures but just as often she serves up blistering endless days of baking sun, an occasional hail storm or even a remorseless tornado. The garden pests are abundant with ambitious cutworms, stink bugs, beetles and caterpillars working at every turn to sully the gardener's efforts. Regardless of nature’s hand the gardener is a tenacious soul and tends the plot like a new baby. Early mornings and late afternoons are designated as garden tending bliss. Vegetables ready for eating and flowers at their peak are harvested and taken to the table. Growing a child is much like growing a garden and sometimes it is the job of a single gardener, sometimes there’s a family of gardeners and sometimes it is a community effort. This is a love song to the garden of my childhood, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Capital of the Five Civilized Tribes.