I regularly hear from friends who only see my garden through my highly curated social media photos who think I have this wonderland yard.
Okay, so it’s kinda glorious, but there is a lot you don’t see.
Like the spots the dog has dug up. Or worn her path through. Or the spots where invasive plants have moved in and made themselves at home (I’m looking at you garlic chives).
There are the battles with insects, deer, squirrels and even birds. We completely lost the battle for the cherry tree this year, yielding not even one cherry. It’s just too big to net.
The blueberry bushes however, are an entirely different story and I’m happy to brag I’ve picked quarts of homegrown berries that my girl has taken to eating by the handful when she walks by the basket. There really is nothing better than a slightly warm from the sun, fresh picked blueberry. Even Betsy beagle has discovered she likes them.
I fully admit that even though I write professionally about gardening, I’m a rather lazy gardener. I really only know the names of the plants I like and I prefer to only grow plants I like, except for the ones I can’t get enough sun for, like roses. When I’m asked to write about particular plants that I don’t already know and love, that’s when I get to know new things.
The truth is, even though I write about gardening, I mostly document mine through photos for I find it’s an easier way to tell the story. Like the progression of the azeleas blooming.
Or the capturing the pink blooming trees on the front of our lot that signify spring to the neighborhood. From the fireworks of the Tulip Magnolia at the very beginning hint of the coming spring to the pink dogwood to the red buckeye horse chestnut, our corner has a large tree blooming pink from late March through mid-May.
I’m in a lovely local plant swap group on facebook, which is helpful for both re-homing plants as well as acquiring new ones. I’ve managed to give away some of those cutleaf rudbeckias I have all over the back yard while receiving a mum plant and a slew of new hellebores this year. My dear friend Leni made me come out and take some hostas from her garden, which I plopped into a front bed (making probably the umpteenth iteration of that bed) and they immediately made themselves at home. Because of the proximity of both the house and Betsy’s beloved oakleaf hydrandea that she sleeps under most days, the deer have left them alone.
We added two more raised beds to the hill this year, doubling the size of the vegetable garden.
The former vegetable bed by the side of the road has become part annual bed for flowers pollinators prefer (sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos), part peony bed and part battle zone in my war on the previously mentioned invasive garlic chives.
Spending a winter covered in cardboard, newspaper and leaves wasn’t enough to rid the bed of them, so it is currently covered in an herb container garden on top of the newspaper, cardboard and leaves that hopefully will send the message. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to burn it. Okay, maybe not that drastic, but something because those buggers are everywhere.
Long term, all the herbs will find permanent homes in the ground once we see through the master plan of building more raised beds and creating pathways between. I’ve come to the realization I need to have my own asparagus, rhubarb and raspberry patches, so that’s now part of the plan as well. We’re taking this one baby step at a time to keep it manageable both from a work standpoint as well as a financial standpoint. It’s not that expensive to build a raised bed, but it is a few hundred bucks for two at a time, which can add up quickly.
This year’s vegetable garden has tomatoes, peppers (mostly chiles, but a few sweet cherry peppers), bush beans, purple hull peas, summer squash, winter squash,
a pickle plant pickling cucumbers, tomatillos, carrots, three types of basil (holy, lettuce leaf and sweet genovese), two types of parsley (curly and flat leaf), nasturtiums and marigolds. My container herb garden has more basil, two thymes (I finally lost my twenty year old started from seed plant that struggled the last few years), three lavenders (I also lost my twenty year old started from seed lavender this winter – too wet for it I think), pineapple sage and patchouli for reasons even I do not understand, except that it seems to keep the deer away better than anything else, so I may just become a patchouli farmer. I assure you, the plant smells better than your average hippy. Really.
And that friends, with photos, is the garden tour. Not as pretty as my instagram feed, but at least you know how highly curated it is now.