While I wait for safe weather to install my vegetable garden, the plants in my yard are putting on a colorful show.
The view from any window is spectacular. First bloomed the daffodils in their buttercup yellow dresses. Then several trees burst into branches of white blooms resembling forever-waving pompoms. Now, pink dominates the landscape dotted throughout the neighborhood above kelly-green grass. In my yard, purple and yellow weeds keep popping up among the sparse blades. Whoever decided lawns should be devoid of such wildflowers should take a second look and enjoy the splashes of color. But like most, I’m doing my best to eliminate the weeds in my yard, blooming or not.
The grand finale will be stems of pink and red buds on my Knock-Out roses. I also have ordered flowers from the local Boy Scouts to strategically display in several flower beds and in decorative pots on the deck and front porch. My lone white azalea is full of blooms, and my blue hydrangea triplets show promise, too.
For gardening inspiration, I picked up a copy of Digging Deep by Fran Sorin to read outside on sunny days among all this natural beauty. She emphasizes the importance of bringing individual creativity to landscaping and gardens. I’m almost half way through the book, and she already has me thinking about my gardening style and purpose in growing flowers and vegetables.
I’ve spent many hours experimenting with different plants in my yard. I’ve endured poison ivy, thorn scratches, mosquito bites, dirt under my nails, sunburn, and blisters on my hands and feet to achieve a yard that has meaning. Although more ideas keep evolving, I enjoy spending time outdoors and am pleased with my home-grown surroundings.
Now Sorin has me thinking about my space at the community garden. For the past five years, my family blindly has been planting rows of vegetables with an emphasis on what tastes good – squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans, and cucumbers. We have planted okra, corn, watermelon, radishes, lettuce and zucchini, and added marigolds and zinnias for flare. Each year, the garden has been a success using this practical approach.
But I’m a creative person. I like the idea of planting many of the same vegetables, while adding an artistic touch. My ideal plot features more paisleys than stripes.
The basic duties required for a successful garden need constant attention. Planning, measuring, fencing; planting, watering, fertilizing; raking, weeding, staking; picking, cooking, freezing – all must get done, and according to Mother Nature’s schedule, not mine.
Each year viewing the plots around me, I notice which growers truly enjoy gardening and which ones see the hobby as a chore. I’ve always straddled the middle. This year, I’d like to quit waffling and move up to the happy gardeners’ row.
I have the chance to eat well and get creative by arranging textures and colors on earth’s canvas the way a quilter uses fabrics and patterns to make an interesting square. Let’s see what patchwork I can sow with a variety of healthy plants.