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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Excuse me, your hose is showing

I am blessed if not embarrassed to admit that our family is in the irrigation business. Now before you think
"oh, that's how she waters all those plants"... uuuhhh...your right, that is how I water all those plants.

Truth be known, if watering was left up to me by the method of having to drag hoses, I would have killed most of my garden by now.

Not to be one to rub salt in wounds, my pots are also watered by automatic misters. Did I hear a collective groan?

So, having "fessed up", I can get to the real point of this post.


With me, mulch is a real love/hate relationship. I LOVE that mulch makes every garden look 10 times better than before it was put down. I love that it conserves water and suppresses weeds.
But, I especially love that it hides my hose.

Soaker hose is so ugly when it shows. The hose I have is this ugly clay color. Why the company made it that color is beyond me. Unless your soil is that Carolina clay color,( which mine is not) it sticks out like a "Saww thumbb" said with a southern accent.

 Now we have all seen how the mulch market has been inundated with mulch choices. Black mulch, red mulch, brown mulch, gravels of every color including neon, pine bark chips, cedar chips, shredded wood of every variety, cocoa hulls ( that smell like chocolate...yumm) and on and on.

But I am a natural kinda girl, so I usually go for the" naturalest" kind.
No dyed or fancy colors for me.
But when the economy is low and belts need to be tightened, price prevails.

So, when a big box store puts their artificially enhanced black mulch on sale, this girl caved.
Yup, 80-2 cu. ft. bags of  "looks like your garden had a fire" black mulch.
What can I say?  It was $1.88 a bag !! and to make myself feel better I threw in some natural pine chips.
I just hope I wont hate it for too long.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

None other has ever known

Years ago, before there was a garden, there was a song.

I come to the garden alone
while the dew is still on the roses
and the voice I hear falling on my ear
the Son of God discloses...
and He walks with me
and He talks with me
and He tells me I am His own
and the joy we share as we tarry there
none other has ever known.

Happy Easter !

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wake me up, I don't want to miss a thing Part 3

Let me first say that I fully appreciate how important it is to keep a vegetable garden and grow ones own food. The benefits of organic produce, springing up from fertile soil that is enriched with small scale home made compost, growing only feet from ones kitchen door rather than hundreds of miles away cannot be overstated. Neither can the energy saved, money and vitamin content gained.

But no matter hard I try to imagine it, no matter what books proclaim, vegetable gardens are NOT pretty!

And I soon came to the realization...
I wanted a pretty garden.  I love pretty.
Fat, gorgeous flower bombs falling over with beauty from their own weight. Roses so heavy with scent they fill the air with perfume. Trailing vines climbing birdhouses with shocking color that make it appear even the birds would be partial to the location.
"Oh George, there is a house I saw the other day I really want you to see", Mrs. Robin would say.

And so the life of the veggie garden ended and the Perennial garden began. And that is the garden I have been joyfully slaving over ever since.
glimpses of glory

The change over starting, flowers and veggies together

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wake me up, I don't want to miss a thing Part 2

So for those first few years, I stayed with growing lots of plants that were easy and the seed was sown right in the ground. Talk about fast gratification! Those Sunflowers, pumpkins, Morning Glories ( don't you just love that name?) and Cockscomb nearly jumped from the ground with growth. The garden was beautiful and I was childishly happy.

But then I took the Master Gardeners course! Boy, did that start trouble...every Monday hanging out with 40 exuberant people passionate about their gardens, listening to what kind of "such and such" this one grew and "did I see the photos that so and so brought in to class?" I was all ears !
This was Heaven, and they were speaking my language!
So from all of this wonderful excitement, as my first community project, I accepted designing and installing an Heirloom Vegetable garden at a local Homestead museum circa 1860-1900.

Now, you have to know the women in my family to truly appreciate this. We are the "grow your own Summac, to dye the wool  from the sheep you raised, to knit the mittens to keep your hands warm in case it gets chilly" type of ladies.

So, the garden was to emulate a vegetable garden that a family from that period would raise, to help feed themselves. The seeds for the museum garden were selected from specialty catalogues and grown for us by a local grower with greenhouses. Also, donations were received from local Organic farms. The project was well underway.
Which started me thinking..."Why don't I turn MY garden into a vegetable garden? I could start my own flats of veggies"
"Great idea!"  Not thinking...."Wow, that is going to be a LOT of work!" Two large gardens....

5 kinds of lettuce,4 kinds of tomatoes, two of beets, two of carrots, three of peppers ,eggplants, Swiss chard..you get the idea...did I mention the herb circle? Did you know Bronze Fennel can get as tall as a bush?? But not to worry...any square stemmed (invasive) mints and such went into pots! Even I knew that much.

Everywhere I went I carried produce with me. My car always had baskets of herbs and veggies. I handed out food to perfect strangers.When I went to family occasions, a basket would greet guests at the door, (coming and going) "Take tomatoes" I would yell. I started making deals with people sitting across the isle from me at the local diner. "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear, I'll trade you beautiful heads of organic lettuce for that horse manure I heard you telling your friend about". That woman was so gracious she not only went for it, but became a wonderful friend!

One of the good things that did come from all of that produce was making the connection to a local food pantry. They were thrilled to receive lovely organic fresh produce. And I was more than glad to give it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wake me up, I don't want to miss a thing Part 1

The excitement of Spring! The first few days of early spring brings a different kind of light into my morning bedroom. Something feels different and I wake pre-dawn with an excitement that reminds me that winter is passed. The birds are chirping and I have a happy little feeling that soon the air will be warm and I will be in the garden again ! Ah, If only I could sleep in the potting shed...and garden in my p.j s.

My main garden has had three identities...only because I am such an indecisive person. The first garden was all about autumn, the second an heirloom organic vegetable garden and the third, which I presently slave over is a perennial garden which I love the best. They have all occupied the same space, the back 50 x 70 foot section of my yard.
Nine years ago we built a new house and boy was I EXCITED ! So with little planning, okay no planning, and before curtains went on the windows, that first garden was sown. A wonderful garden of Sunflowers, towering over our heads while full, lush, velvety red and pink crested Celosia (Cockscomb) planted much too close together performed amazingly well in spite of the error. A special bed was made for the Pumpkins. Nieces and nephews names were scratched into the green pumpkin flesh so that when scars formed, their names could be searched out by the owner of that pumpkin. That first garden was started in spring, but not fully enjoyed until fall.

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