Wednesday, September 14, 2011

are better than dead spaces, right?

it's a long time coming that I begin my blog. I've processed the idea time and again but never acted upon it. It was today that I came home from work, once again thinking I need to get it done. After a few encouraging words from my extraordinary mom (who watches my children while I work and has been an avid blogger for months) and stumbling across a friend's blog, I became inspired. I intend to write about my experiences as a gardener. My most recent passion in life (but not to be confused with the passion and commitment I hold toward my family). After all, I know I have inherited this talent and feel if I don't take action now I will be wasting good genes. My mother has a green thumb, my aunts, my grandmother, and probably her mother if I knew better. In fact, there runs a very creative gene in this side of the family and I can't say that I've been lucky enough to have it all,  but I have been able to tap into that which I find joy and pleasure--growing plants.

My husband and I moved into this house 5 years ago. When our son was 8 months old and we had been married exactly one year (don't do the math. that deserves an entirely different blog spot starting with "I was 6 months pregnant and had no idea."). First time homeowners. We were elated. It needed some work, inside and out, but to us, was an investment. The front landscape was dated, trees were dying in some places, a small pond in the backyard surprised us with tiny black fish when we were draining it and the remains of a vegetable garden existed near the shed. Oh, don't let me forget that the deck was deteriorating and if that wasn't bad enough there was a 20 year old hot tub sunken into the deck which never worked for us except to serve as a death trap for dogs, kids, and a wife that had too many glasses of wine.

In time, we've slowly updated the front to fit our style. A work in progress but it was out with the ground cover and thorn bushes and in with flowering perennials, a bird bath, and azalea plants. This isn't complete but I'd like to stop spending money on annuals and focus as much time and attention to both color and plants that will return year after year.

In our backyard--a decent 100'x150' piece of land--my amazing and wonderful husband has rebuilt the deck (no hot tub but plenty of room for seating and my herbs). In lieu of the mud that existed between the deck and pond because we have two 60lb boxers that need to run and a maple tree with large roots prohibiting the growth of grass, we spread cedar mulch. It transitions the backyard nicely and gives a soft play area for the kids and their collection of toys and play equipment.

With the help and expertise of my mother (my children call her Omama), I have learned how to care for the pond. I proudly tend to it twice a day for most of the summer, clearing it of debris (leaves, etc.), feeding the fish, and caring for the plants. I once had several Koi but a 4.5' blue heron snatched them up (and forced me to buy/make decoys). I now have about 20, very happy, goldfish and hope to get more Koi soon.

I picked up where the garden left off using an old rabbit cage from the garage as a composter. My first three seasons weren't fabulous but I had a huge learning curve this year and so I've built an additional raised bed to nurse this winter in preparation for next year's growth.

My big project this year has been my butterfly and hummingbird garden. In a small corner (Northwest to be exact), a few weeds and plant remains from the previous owners did their own thing. I've just let it be. Until this year. My husband (maybe I'll give him a name later) and I had talked about a wildlife garden. "Yeah, maybe next spring..." I would reply. I started to do some research to see what this might entail and planned to take my time. That is, until I found a clearance rack at Lowes (yes, not just Target and Kohls clearance get my attention). All these plants--50% dead, 75% off. Bee balm, Salvia, Butterfly Weed, on and on. I just bought. Impulsively. oops. I get home, time to get the weeds outta there and these plants in there. I worked until there were holes in my garden gloves, I broke a trowel, and my back was throbbing. But, I had my start. That night I figured it was time to do some serious research (after all, money was already invested). I learned that butterflies need rocks, and like puddles, and names I learned of plants they drink from as well as those they lay their eggs. I learned a little about hummingbirds too. A week later, my Oma (Grandma) sent me home with a trunk full (I drive a mini-van) of plants from her  garden. Hibiscus and butterfly bushes and Amaryllis, Coreopsis, Cosmos, and more. More planting more research. And so has begun my growing passion (no pun intended).


  1. Great first post. I look forward to reading more (and maybe seeing a picture our two of your work in progress).

  2. Fabulous! You're such a good writer! (of course, I'm partial) And funny too! Looking forward to reading about more gardening adventures! Love you!