Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden Snapshot | 4.22.2013

It's been warm & sunny here in Pasadena, CA now for months. I started gardening the first week of January. It's the first time that I've had my own garden and I've already learned a ton.

I've been documenting my progress since February and it's is so fun to see the progression & changes in the garden over the past few months.

My first garden snapshot was bleak compared to what the space looks like now but all I can see is the huge amount work still left to do.

Standing here, under one of the huge trees that shades the lawn, I can see my entire "little garden." It's in the space behind our garage and I've been cultivating it as a place to grow all of the flowers and vegetables that need lots of glorious sunshine (it's the sunniest spot on our property).

A lovely image...yes? But I see war. I'm currently battling gophers (or moles) that have been creating dirt mounds and holes. That have been eating and killing the vines along the fence that I've been trying to grow for privacy. I love critters...but geez guys, give me a break! Don't you know I'm new at this.

I see lots of questions. Should I be trimming off all of the runners on my strawberry plants? or do I want to keep some so that I can have new baby plants? Will they ever flower or just keep shooting off new runners? Why did the snap peas not sprout? Where should I plant all of these tomatoes?

I see worry. Will the gophers ruin everything? Am I pruning these tomatoes correctly? Am I watering enough?

 The nasturtiums are still my beloved. They've started blooming and are getting big! I can't believe how easy they were to plant and how well they're growing despite my ignorance. And the colors. Gorgeous reds, corals, oranges and yellows. 

My other claim to gardening success so far has been my cut & come again lettuce. It looks a bit shabby here...but it was just harvested last Friday (the second harvest). With any luck, we'll get another harvest very soon. 

Speaking of harvests...I look forward to harvesting these bad boys soon. I know that I should have pinched off the blooms to encourage growth but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Oh well. I plan on thoroughly enjoying my 5 homegrown blueberries.

This past weekend, we made a trip to the local ikea, and to OSH to transform our patio into a lounge. Ever since moving our outdoor dining table to the garden, this space has been sad & bare. 

No more! We spent all weekend hanging out, reading, chatting & having these cocktails around the fire pit. Pure weekend bliss.

And finally, my herb garden (rosemary, pineapple mint, spearmint, lavender, peppermint, thyme) is filling out nicely...although I think it may need some basil. You can never have too much...right?

This post was written in response to the prompt "Describe your garden right now", part of the Grow Write Guild onYou Grow Girl. It is the third prompt in the series.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

In My Dreams

Besides lacking time due to travel these past few weeks (sorry to be absent), the topic of fantasy gardening was something of a challenge just to think about much less write about. After careful reflection, it has actually helped to reveal certain characteristics about myself.

I've always loved being in gardens. I've always loved flowers. I've always loved the idea and the romance of gardening. Of cultivating gorgeous flowers & delicious edibles. I've always loved seeds packets and nurseries.

All of these things are the visual components of gardens & gardening. What each plants looks like, how the space looks and feels. How I will look tending the garden (in a gorgeous straw hat, wearing Birkenstocks and an apron made of vintage ticking).

Of course, in reality, you need so much more than the desire for an end result. I've learned that it's a process. That it's trial and error. That things will die (they already have). The difference now is that I'm taking the time to garden, to learn from my mistakes and from what nature throws my way. To not give up.

The big realization that I had is that the garden in my dreams is actually my garden. The one that is in my back yard. I go to sleep thinking of what to add next or how to solve my gopher problem (which has just struck while I was away). What pots & furniture to add to make the patio look more livable and how to add come character to the front rose beds that we inherited with the house. I really don't dream much beyond the space that I have. 

Part of me wishes that the whole backyard wasn't in full shade due to 2 huge trees smack dab in the middle of the lawn. But those trees also provide a place to hang our hammock and a large refuge from the sun during even the hottest of summer days. I'd love more space for vegetables or flowers but I'm coping with what I have and am not dreaming beyond it. 

One day, I'd love to have more land, a glass house and a detached studio to work from. I'd love to create an outdoor paradise that is calming and beautiful. I love the way that vines look so I'm certain that they will cover everything that they can. They will be trellised on walls, wrapping up poles and covering arbors. There will be beds full of fragrant plants and edibles galore. I hope to have children and teach them about the earth so that they will always respect all that it gives us.

For now, that is the life and garden of my hopes for the future, for myself and my family but without a physical space to associate it with I can only grasps to concepts. It's still very abstract.

The garden in my my fantasies is what I've been given. It's the first place that I've lived in my adult life that has had any dirt. It's what I can visualize in my mind. It's concrete. I strive to make it as beautiful as possible and to learn from it so that I can grow as a gardener.

This post was written in response to the prompt "Describe your fantasy garden", part of the Grow Write Guild on You Grow Girl. It is the second prompt in the series.