Different people see different things when they look at a garden. Some might see a mess or chaos or laziness or weeds. But when you fall in love with plants, you can see a garden the way you see someone you love. Continue reading “What do you see?”
I came home from work, pulled into the carport and intended to go straight indoors to crash. As I got out of the car though, I thought “Maybe I’ll just peak at the garden first”. There are three steps that lead down into the back yard. The ground felt soft from the recent rains, and then it hit me, an intoxicating fragrance, but what? I have a small backcyard garden with mostly dadelions and violets right now, and we have no flowering trees. What could it be, some flowering vine or strange tree flowers up above me? I closed my eyes to focus on the scent and then I knew. It had to be lilac! Over the fence, in the neighbor’s front yard, there was an old motherly lilac bush, reaching out to touch my mind. Do flowers ever do that to you too?
For my new backyard garden, I tried two ways to make new garden beds. First I stripped the sod and did double digging. On another part of the garden I covered the soil with newspapers and straw.
When I was a child, I spent a lot of time sitting behind our garage, because just over the back fence was Frank Atwell’s most amazing garden. It filled his whole back yard and inspired garden lust in me the rest of my life. Fast forward to 2013, and I now have my own back yard garden. Yes, I live in a rental, but the landlord said as long as we take the fence down when I leave, I could have free reign over the lawn! The summer of 2012, I participated in a community garden on Maple Street. There, I was introduced to John Jeavons’ Grow biointensive gardening and I wanted to continue to experiment with this. Over the next few days, I’ll show you how I turned a 20 X 20 foot piece of lawn into a little piece of paradise with just my spade, some newspaper and straw.
Sometimes, when you have a passion for something, you are tempted to want more and more of it. A passion for flowers can lead to….well….too much money spent at the gardening center…for one thing! In this past summer’s garden, I tried to exercise some restraint. I planted only a couple different kinds of flowers and I didn’t bring large bouquets into the house. In fact, sometimes….I only brought in one. This is one of my pink zinnias, floated in a little Chinese sauce dish. One is nice, don’t you think? I can learn to be happy with one. 🙂
In cleaning out some of my old posts, I realized I deleted this rather popular photo of my brick and board shelves at the old apartment. My brother and sister made versions of these in their first apartments back in the 60’s. I decided to replace some of the bricks with storage. The bottom plastic boxes obviously don’t get opened very often since you have to remove the upper shelves to get to them, but the middle plastic drawers worked nicely. My rattan boxes were slightly shorter so could be slid off the shelves when needed. The red “bricks” were concrete blocks that came from the lumber yard which I painted with two coats of red. Since making the transition to apartment life in 2001, my motto has been “keep it small, easy to move and light enough for me to carry myself”!
Soon after the gardening season got under way in the spring, I was watering the potatoes when I heard a very loud, hysterical squeal! What the………..I had my guesses… so I got a long stick and started poking around in the straw. Sure enough…bunny nest! Well, I worried over the bunnies for several days, kept poking open the nest and half hoping it would cause the mother to move them away to a safer place. I lay awake at night thinking of this year’s garden philosophy, working WITH nature, not against it. And then I would dream about what wonderful compost bunnies might turn into…circle of life and all that! Finally I decided to just deal with it and let them alone. I had visions of the whole family setting up their dining room in our garden, but one day I picked a couple of the little guys up and held them, and they jumped out of my hand and ran away. The others followed, and I didn’t see them again! Now the deer…..umm, that’s another story!
It’s been years since I’ve tried to grow cantaloup, but this year, my motto was: “Try everything!” I bought some plants at Early May and wound up with a few melons that looked like this (and a few that looked oddly shaped and never made it past the golf ball size). I can’t even begin to describe the thrill of seeing YOUR OWN MELONS growing right there before your eyes! I had to really discipline myself to wait until I thought the first one might be ripe (Who knew it would be so hard to know when the thing was ripe?). Turns out I could have waited a few more days on that first one, but it was still sheer bliss when I cut it open and saw the orange firm flesh and tons of little seeds……a “real” melon, grown from my own fingertips (and Earl May!).
This particular variety was not very sweet (don’t remember the name and I didn’t write it down…ooops), even when it was quite ripe. Do any of you have a favorite variety of melon you’ve grown? What’s the sweetest musk melon you’ve ever tasted?