Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why I garden

Why, at my age, did I decide to try gardening?

Seriously - it's (potentially) cheaper than therapy! :P

I was beginning to be interested in gardening some already. The house we live in now has a greenhouse out back. We liked that - if for nothing more than growing our own winter veggies. There was also a mostly separate, oddly shaped area of the back yard, just outside the sun room, that I thought would make a lovely sitting area. It already had a nice little garden with established plants, and a small patio. I immediately started dreaming of additions - even though I had never had any luck with anything before.

I planted some new things that first year, just a few, but I was pretty pleased with it. Then Katrina hit. The garden actually made it through, but the big pine tree in the middle broke in half. When it was removed, it was poorly done and had to be ground three different times. The result had my lovely butterfly garden looking like a war zone. :(

So between that and a little run-in with the neighbor on that side of the house, I focused on the front. When I had any energy...which was rare. But when I did get out there in the dirt, it was much needed therapy. We had lost several trees in front, and I replaced them with small gardens. Working out there when I was able got me through some rough times. I had a little setback when the roofers came and killed an entire flower bed with the tarp they put on to "protect" it...but I jumped back in.

My grandparents were avid gardeners. Camellias were their specialty, and they won many prizes in shows. Their garden was spectacular. I remember Easter egg hunts and just hanging out back there...irises and daffodils, rows of roses, and of course camellias! People would come from far away to drive past and see the garden. They were famous in the state Garden Club. I went to school one Monday in 6th grade and my teacher asked if I was related to them! She had met them at a Club thing and noticed the name.

I never expect to be able to do as well as my grandparents. I wish I could have gotten tips from them. I want to learn how to grow the things they did - especially camellias and irises. I want to learn to use the greenhouse. I want to learn to grow things from seed - I've never been able to do that!

It's an enjoyable hobby, doesn't cost too much (if I can resist the urge to get too fancy), gets me outside and keeps me busy. The kids are, theoretically at least (I have six!), old enough to do for themselves while I work and to keep out of the plants. It's quiet and peaceful out there. That works for me. :)


Welcome to my garden journal. I've written about my gardens before; I will probably move those entries over here at some point. I decided I want a separate garden journal so I can learn from both my successes and failures, and that I didn't want it to be private so that maybe someone will happen along with something to add!

I live right smack on the line between Zones 8 and 9. We have fire ants, mosquitoes, brutal heat and high humidity. Our summer days are unpredictable - alternating between yard flooding and long periods of drought. It's been an experience trying to pick stuff that will do well here. Every time I think I find a keeper, something gets it.

Well, I am new at this, I can't expect to be an expert overnight - right?