The Inspiration Behind The Lilypad
My mother was a nurse, gardener, and loved to cook. She was a “city girl” who moved with my father to the country. They eventually built my childhood home deep in the woods on Dad’s family property in Andover, Connecticut. Mom became a lover of nature, and encouraged her children to enjoy the acres of forest, pond, and streams by our home – things that she did not have access to when she was growing up.
A special treat was when my mother and I would go to the famous Caprilands Herb Farm the next town over. Caprilands was run by Adelma Grenier Simmons, a noted herbalist. We would peruse the 42 acres of gardens, buy a plant or two in the greenhouse, and stop by the barn where I would beg her to buy me an herbal treat or gift.
I had the good fortune of landing my dream summer job at Caprilands after my freshman year of college. I spent that summer immersed in the peaceful magic of the estate. I worked in the greenhouse, weeded the gardens, collected herbs for the afternoon high teas, and learned the magic of herbs from two women who had each worked there over 20 years. While working in the greenhouse, I immersed myself in the library of books found on the dusty shelves behind the register. I loved learning about gardening and herbal medicine, and never wanted that summer to end.
My mother continued to support my love of gardening and herbal medicine – although she was a registered nurse she believed in a balance of both herbal and “western” practices. She kept up the extensive herb gardens we had created at home once I moved away to Colorado. She would dry herbs from the garden to use in her cooking, occasionally sending me some in the mail. Mom was always sending me books, news clippings, and folklore on herbs, gardening and healing. The LilyPad was created in honor and remembrance of my mother, Lillian Kandrak Gasper.