June 2, 2010

The Joys of Gardening

I finally planted my garden yesterday, and I felt rather proud.  This year's garden is bigger than in the past - I didn't plant anything last year because we had new landscaping put in mid-June and I didn't know if they were going to leave a patch of earth.  But they did, so this year, instead of just tomatoes, I added green peppers, onions and cucumbers.  If all goes well, I'll have a tasty salsa - all for the price of some plants (about $10)!

I also designed a planter in our front yard (see above). We have deep plum shutters and much of our landscaping reflects that, so I wanted to continue the trend with the planter. My friend Jessie is an excellent flower gardener, so I looked to her for advice on what to do. I have to say, I'm happy with how it turned out!

This is probably a sentiment as old as time, but I think a garden is miraculous.  I mean, really - I bought some small plants that will grow larger and yield some stuff at the end that I can eat (it looks puny now, but I'll post another photo later in the growing season).  When you think about it, isn't that amazing?

I'm sure real farmers don't have time to look at their crops this way - or maybe they do.  I don't know.  I just think it's so cool that I have control over a small patch of land.  I can see why this gardening thing can become addictive - but I have to watch myself or I'll become overzealous and baby the plants.  Too much love is a bad thing when it comes to plants; I found that out a couple of years ago when I overwatered some tomatoes and they got all yellow and weird looking, and not very good to eat.

So tell me - is it just me, or do all you gardeners out there feel the same way when YOU plant?  I'd love to know.  Maybe I'm showing my garden newbie-ness, but....hooray for growing your own food!  :D


  1. I love that pot with the coleus!! Nope, it's not just you! Although my fascination was only for my flower garden... I had heavy, clay soil that wouldn't allow for vegetables. Every spring I would be out there, moving aside the mulch and the maple leaves, hoping for a peek at the crocus and snowdrops (usually I was way too early, and should have left them alone) and I would be itching for it to be warm enough to get out and work in my flowers and hostas. I think what I loved most about gardening (aside from the color, the textures, the flowers, the butterflies, and the birds...okay, I guess loved a lot about it) but mostly, I loved the connection to the past that gardening gives me. We always had a huge vegetable garden growing up, my Mom and Grandma flower gardened (some of my flowers even came from their gardens), and gardening just has a feeling of "continuity" and "history" about it to me for some reason. (perhaps left over from my pioneering, farming ancestors??) Weeding was actually meditative to me, although mowing the lawn was decidedly NOT meditative at all.

    Home-made salsa will be pretty cool, though, too!! :D

  2. and if you have a couple square inches of room in that pot, a lime-green trailing ornamental sweet potato would look great with the purples!! (I usually overplanted my pots, as if you couldn't tell...)

  3. YAY Jennifer! I'm so glad I'm not alone in my garden fascination! You referred to your gardening in the past tense - do you not garden in AZ? I suppose it's sorta difficult unless it's succulents? :D

    As a matter of fact, I DO have a spare inch or two in the pot! I'll have to go back to our garden center (which is about 3 minutes away by car) and see if they have any ornamental sweet potatoes - I've never heard of that before! :D

  4. I really miss my vegetable garden! With all the trees around the house I can't plant much more than hostas, begonias, impatiens and the like. I have a few spots with just enough sun to sustain some lilies and they make me happy!

    Then there is the wildlife to contend with... between the deer and the bunnies I have quite a battle to do every summer!

  5. Eileen, do they have a community garden space in Waupaca that you could use? Fondy's got a huge one and it's really well utilized.

    We've got bunnies too, but I'd be very surprised if I saw a deer in my backyard! I think the deer would be too! :D

  6. Eileen, you can do a lot with shade if you get creative with colors and textures, and there are even some shade-tolerant plants that flower. Astilbe have beautiful flowers and textural foliage; hostas come in every color, size and shape you can imagine; and there are lots of shade-loving plants that have variegated leaves and interesting textures. My backyard in Illinois was almost totally shaded, and I learned (slowly) to enjoy it. Don't get me wrong: it's a totally different way of gardening, but it can be satisfying in its own way.

    Mel, I've given up on Midwestern-type gardening here... the first spring we were here I bought geraniums, etc, planted them in pots, and put them on our west-facing patio, where they promptly got fried in a day and a half. I've since come to learn that winter/early spring is the time for flowering annuals here, but even then, I forget to water them and I end up killing them. Our yard is all cacti, drought-loving plants, and gravel. It's interesting, with all the different varieties available, and the cacti do have some spectacular flowers for a brief time in the spring, but it's no comparison at all to the cottage-style flowerbeds full of perennials I used to grow. We don't want to have to irrigate our yard, and we want it to be natural to the surroundings, so it's a totally different landscaping style that I've had to learn to embrace. Those cottage flowers didn't defend themselves like cacti do, either!! :D

  7. Wow Jennifer! I had no idea you were such a gardener in your "old" life! I had seen photos of your AZ landscaping on your blog, but really didn't know that the conditions were so harsh (makes sense, though) or that you'd actually have to irrigate! Midwesterners just don't have to worry about these things; what a change it must've been for you to move to the Southwest!

  8. :D it was a bit of a shock, to say the least!! I'll have to scan some of my pre-digital camera flower and yard photos... don't think I was an expert or anything like that, cause I wasn't-- I was more of an experimental gardener than an expert gardener!