Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow

I've always enjoyed gardening. Growing up, my mother had flowers growing at every house we lived in. When we made the move from Florida to Kentucky she had a vegetable garden, and the fresh produce made the difficulty of planting and weeding and keeping pests away well worth it. 

I always had a little garden patch of my own during that time. I grew pumpkins one year, enormous things that needed a wheelbarrow to be moved. Flowers were my main love, though, and I grew Johnny Jump-Ups and Siberian Irises and any other flowering plant I could convince my mother to get for me. 

When my husband and I bought our first house together, it came with two very plain "builder's special" type beds in the front. Holly bushes and Liriope and a scraggly Juniper grew in them, and I was already planning on removing those plants and replacing them with something prettier.

It's been five years since we bought our house. Over the years I dug out the holly bushes (a massive undertaking that took hours every time I removed one bush), cut down the wasp-attracting Juniper, and laid waste to the Liriope. I replaced them with Rose bushes and Clematis and Phlox and as many different varieties of Columbine that I could find. 

Now I also have a vegetable garden in the back, and I have advanced to starting seedlings indoors with grow lights to make sure that the longer season plants actually have a chance to produce something before the frost sets in again. 

My Luffa squash experiment.

This year I have been particularly ambitious. I started far more seedlings than I usually do. I'm growing more herbs than I really have use for. It's a comfort thing, though. Gardening was a thing I did a lot with Mom. The past year or so both of our gardens suffered due to her failing health. I was too busy caring for her to really take care of my plants or hers. My routine became going to work, going to her house after work to look after her, going home with just enough time to maybe make dinner and then go to bed, and then getting up the next day to repeat it over again. Not having her to occupy my time has led to an unusual number of empty hours for me. I have to find ways to fill those hours, and focusing on an activity we loved and shared has helped with that. So I started a legion of peppers and tomatoes and squash. I bought pounds of Zinnia seeds for a cutting garden. Every pot in my yard is occupied by seedlings or by plants I dug from Mom's garden. We will have to sell her house and I wanted to preserve some of it for myself, so the flowers that she loved so much have been divided and relocated.

It will be hard, this first year without her. I'm hoping the seedlings will help. A little bit of life to help offset the grief of Mom not being here. Something I can tend in place of tending to her. 

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