Love Blossoms In Community Garden

Newly married Tracy and Mike Fransen gaze at each other between her children.

Newly married Tracy and Mike Fransen gaze at each other between her children. Photo by Michele Nelson. |

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Their love started in the garden.

The garden nurtured it.

And on Saturday, Michael Fransen (aka Tractor Mike) and Tracy Sekandari walked down the aisle to celebrate the bounty of their love.

It all started last year when Tracy’s son, Ilyas, purchased a garden plot as a Mother’s Day gift to his mom.

“We’d gardened a bit before,” he said, but they were not master gardeners.

As it happened, Tractor Mike had the plot next door. Most Community Gardeners know Mike by his tractor. He putts around delivering wood chips and soil and tilling plots on request. Basically, his little machine does all the heavy lifting.

Tracy said work kept her on the road while her son planted, so she did not meet Mike until Ilyas had spent some time with him.

“When we finally had dinner together, my son kept saying, ‘You’ve got to come to the garden and meet Tractor Mike,’ and then it was Tractor Mike this and Tractor Mike that,” she said.

Mike said when he did finally meet Tracy, she at first walked by him to the back of the garden by the plots of soil and compost and then came back up to him and said, “Hi! I’m Tracy and I’m single.”

Ilyas said within two weeks of the couple meeting he knew something was up.

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Minister Jared Tenney officiated at his first wedding. The bride and groom are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

During the ceremony, Jared Tenney, his first time officiating at a wedding, told the assembled gardeners how their love blossomed over pizza.

Mike explained the Boy Scouts grew the pumpkin patch as a project. Because Ilyas was in the Scouts at the time, his mom treated everyone with pizza.

“As we sat talking, I could tell she just has a wonderful sense of humor,” he said.

During the ceremony, the two had an easy banter and clearly cared deeply for each other. After Mike spoke his vows, he leaned over to kiss Tracy — before Tenney had declared them husband and wife.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to kiss me yet,” giggled Tracy.

She also chuckled when she told the story of how Mike proposed to her.

“He wanted to ask me in the garden, but he forgot his keys,” she said, “So he had to ask me outside next to the port-a-potty.”

The wedding was just as much a community affair as the garden. Glen McCombs, owner of Plant Fair Nursery in Star Valley and a regular source of information for gardeners, loaned topiaries and potted plants to spruce up the hay bales used as seating for guests.

Roger Kreimeyer, garden organizer, sent out an e-mail invite to the wedding to gardeners.

The bride ordered a carrot cake, raspberry lemonade, peach and apple pie bites from Kendra’s Country Bakery as treats for attendees. And guests got a little jar of homemade jam as a treat to take home.

In the ceremony, Tracy alluded to the garden in her vows, “Our love will be a lot like this garden,” she said, “We’ll plant seeds and nurture them, but there will always be weeds along the way.”

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