After I arrived home from work tonight, I journeyed my away around the gardens. It is amazing how an early afternoon shower then warm sun can perk up the plants and stimulate new growth. As I made my away around each bed, I reflected joyfully on the stories of various flowers, vegetables and fruit–why I had chosen them, what they meant to me, why I cultivated them. It offered me more than a trip down memory lane–it connected me back to creation and back to my spirit.
Day lilies–growing up, my parents planted these down the long driveway from the large pine tree we used to climb all the way to the garden made of glass bricks from my great grandfather’s home. And while many folks call them “plain” or “common,” I never cease to be amazed by their rich fiery palette.
I had never intended to cultivate blueberries, but a sale rack at a local hardware store several years ago got me started on this fruit. Now, these go into my best-selling blueberry lemon lavender jam, but I leave a few on the bushes for the birds who come looking for a sweet treat now and again.
Doesn’t matter that I plant these yearly, I am always excited by the first tomato as it reminds me that summer is not far behind.
My love affair with growing garlic began by chance a few years ago when I buried a few cloves in the ground in November. I watched green shoots withstand winter snow and spring frost only to keel over dead in May. Upon pulling the wilted greens out of the ground, I found I had bulbs of garlic in hand. Since then, I plant garlic annually and continue to stand in awe each Spring harvest when I witness the magic of a single clove transformed into a full head.
I have tried and tried to grow Lacinato kale (or dinosaur kale) for three years. Yes, three years. And this year, wow! I have found the right spot, the right sun, and the right soil. There is something to be said about the joy found in succeeding at growing a vegetable that has never made it past sprout stage.
When I became pregnant, I began searching for children’s books to accompany my already full library that I’d established as a preschool teacher. In an antique store on a back shelf, I found the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. While it’s not an antique, it quickly became of the my daughter’s favorite books as a child. I have longed to grow lupine for just that reason, and after many attempts, succeeded by accident this past year with the luck of a butterfly seed mix. Lupine takes 2 years to flower–yes, that will be a “Lesson Learned” post at a later date!
I have never, I mean never, liked marigolds until this year. And with age, I guess, comes wisdom and an acquired taste. I have come to appreciate their potential for protecting tomatoes and their cheery warm blossoms.
Oh, sugar snaps, where to begin?! My childhood was spent in our own backyard garden eating these off the vine. These veggies inspired me to start a garden for my child, and sure enough, after a bit of coaxing, she came outside one day, tried one, and announced, “These are nothing like the ones in the store! They’re delicious.” And so began my love affair with organic gardening, homesteading, and creation care.