Tag Archives: gardening

Gardening

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We have descended into the garden and caught three hundred slugs. How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening. It makes it so lifelike. ~ Evelyn Underhill, Letters

Growing up on a farm, I suspect, predisposes one either to love or to hate playing in the dirt. I am a lover of dirt. Playing in the dirt was a childhood regularity, and I’m grateful for parents who encouraged and supported getting mud-luscious. My mother, although not fond of them, never squealed when I brought home the stray garter snake or crawdaddy. My father, the farmer, probably had a permanent layer of dirt on him.

But the smell of it, especially newly turned or just after a rainstorm. And the feel of it, moist not wet, crumbly but not dry. Black sand beaches of a different sort.

Every now and again that urge to play in the dirt takes hold and I attempt to garden. In most recent years, that has been confined to pots on a patio, such as my efforts from last year in the picture above. This year, for the first time in probably 15 years, I will be planting a real garden.

No big expanse of land, mind you, but a little square of earth in which I may grow what I please and be pleased with what I grow. My employer offers staff space in their community garden, and I managed to score half a plot to myself. I’m already late to the game, thanks to my fun weekend, and I’m still plotting what to grow and when to plant in our new climate. Last time I gardened was in the Midwest, so learning what will work here in Virginia is a process.

But I’m excited, looking forward to dirt under my nails and the tender talking to leaves and shoots as they punch through the dirt and reach for the blue sky above.

So, how does your garden grow?

[This post is #7 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please click on the button on the right side of the page for more information about the challenge or to locate others participating — there are more than 1600!]

Previous A-to-Z posts:
2012: Good Gravy
2011: Gladly Beyond

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Zinneas

zinnias in the garden

Another gorgeous photograph by Sonny Carter

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him. ~ Auguste Rodin

To me, there is hardly anything more beautiful on this planet than the wide variety of flowers which give it beauty. I try, spring after spring, to grow marvelous crops of flowers across my patio, some years with more success than others.

But even in the cold of winter or the heat of summer, I know where I can turn to find the beauty of the flower gardens at my fingertips — in the gorgeous photography of Sonny Carter. While I am enthralled by his cats, and luxuriate in the rich landscape photographs he takes, it is his flowers that warm my heart. Every Friday, my morning email is blessed his newest Friday Flowers photograph. Each on is breathtaking and so real you’d swear you smell it through the screen.

Please take a moment (or an hour) to walk through Sonny’s flower garden of photographs at his website: http://www.sonc.com/friday/index.html. You will find a virtual greenhouse of flowers through which to wander.

If you visit, and I highly recommend it simply for the peace it brings to the heart and soul, let me know which one was your favorite. I have too many to list…..

[Note: This post is #26 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button at the right of the page for more information.]

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Roses in a Vase

Roses in a vase, photograph by Jane Reece

Yellow Roses in a Vase, by Jane Reece. Courtesy of Wright State University's Special Collections and Archives.

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~ Emma Goldman

Since I recently did a post on photographer Jane Reece, I thought I’d share another of her photographs with you, since the beauty of that picture always takes my breath away. It’s an original, hand-tinted photograph Reece made around 1941. I love the simple coloring, the detail of the vase, the flowers, the wood behind them. It’s beautiful in its complex simplicity.

Roses are certainly beautiful, and I adore their scent. But I will admit to being partial to carnations as my favorite flower.

What’s your favorite?

[Note: This post is #18 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button on the right of the page for more information.
Last year’s “R” post: Rain, Rain.]

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Summer Gardens

“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?”
– Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening

Growing up on a farm, our garden was an everyday part of summer life. The plot was on the back corner of the land around our house, next to the oldest shed and the only free-standing water pump. We learned how to tell weeds from crops early on, and Mom and Dad put us to work watering and weeding long before we learned to appreciate the results of our hard work.

Behind the shed, red raspberry and blackberry bushes haunted our nightmares with their brambly, scratchy vines reaching out for us as their fruit grew and ripened. As the youngest child, I was spared most of that fun until my older siblings were no longer there to brave those gatherings. The back rows of the garden were reserved for the tall sweet corn stalks. Plant varieties grew progressively shorter as they got closer to the front – we were nothing if not organized in our creation. Mounded piles of dirt along the southern edge signaled the coming of snakelike vines from the zucchini, summer squash, and various melon plants. The asparagus patch and rhubarb bed marked the edge of the front corner. Poles for beans and tomato plants stood like sentinels in the night.

The front rows were planted with peas and lettuce, carrots and beets, onions, potato plants and any other items we chose to put in that year. As we grew older, Mom and Dad would let us help select what to plant outside of the basic staples. One year, Mom tried Jerusalem artichokes, another brussel sprouts. There were not, shall I say, raging successes. Oh, they grew, like the dickens, but they didn’t find quite the same welcome on the summertime table as some of the other produce.

“You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook’s year. I get more excited by that than anything else.”
– Mario Batali

As I wander the produce section in the grocery store and even some of the many farmer’s markets that we are blessed with in the area, I still can’t find a truly ruby-red, drippingly succulent slice of watermelon the way it used to taste.

I long for the taste of produce in the garden. Standing dirt-dusted, hot, and sweaty, with a fresh tomato or a purloined green bean in my hand, tasting the summer sunshine, the good Midwestern dirt, and the love in every bite.

That, to me, is the epitome of summertime at its finest….. and worth a little hot weather now and then.

What did you grow in your garden?

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Monday Moments: Summertime

summer grass

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

With temperatures this week expected to be ninety degrees or above each day, there’s no doubt that the heart and heat of summer are here. While I may be an autumn person, there are some magical things about summer that bring enjoyment like no other season.

Hot, hot days followed by the long and cooling dusk of the evening.

Summer sunset

The smells of dry dirt, summer rain, mud and poolside chlorine.

Sticky melting ice cream, the snap of homegrown garden produce, juicy summer fruits, and the tart twang of freshly made lemonade.

Mown grass, campfires, and fair food.

So sit back and enjoy a bit of classic Gershwin “Summertime” by the fantastic Ella Fitzgerald while you share some summertime moments here on the blog this week.

What are some of your favorite summertime memories?

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