Garden Inspiration for the Wilted
A little encouragement for those of us who aren’t making the cover of Better Homes & Gardens this year.
I have just passed the anger stage of grief. About my garden. Denial lasted through vacation, “I can’t plant until we get back from that trip” translated into lost opportunity, which, yes…frustrated (angered?) me. I’m officially bargaining now, looking to the CSA, farmer’s market, and co-op to be my solution to a semi-barren summer.
All is not lost, I do have some things growing. But to speed myself along, to skip past the Depression portion of grief, I’m self-medicating with inspiration. I can accept this, I can. Want to join me? We can have our own little wilty, spindly support group about the state of this year’s garden.
Let’s brainstorm some positive places to look for that inspiration.
Visit the local nursery
Some of my frustration this year came from starting seeds late. Some of it came from spindly starts. A lot of it comes from not having a clear understanding of my local climate and soil—like many of my seedlings, I myself am a transplant. The local nursery provides more than deep breaths of fragrant blooms; there is information to be had about what works locally.
Don’t just read about going to your local nursery. Go. What are you doing this afternoon? Are you driving past one tomorrow?
Whether you are looking for others to share your avid love for blooms or you are hoping to gain some handy “how-to,” the local club will have educational meetings, they often have or maintain public gardens for charity, and generally seek to encourage the next generation to garden by having a booth at the local festival where they will teach a child how to plant a seed. There are garden clubs nationwide and you can find one near you here. Please do not be intimidated, assuming that garden clubs are for rich women who sip tea or that they are only for people who dote on their roses. Just like the plants they represent, the people come in all varieties.
Volunteer to help in community gardens or to do a gardening project at an after school program or church children’s program http://www.realschoolgardens.org/. Go ahead, click the link. Call the number. I dare you. Be inspired.
Pots: Container Gardening & Indoor Gardens
I have my indoor garden growing nicely now, the herbs give me hope. I am doing a few things in pots that I generally overlook as flower garden plants, such as nasturtiums. Pots do marvelous things for extending your season since you can bring them in during unpredictable weather and you can control the soil quality. A good pot is an investment, and I’m finding more to add to the collection through yard sales this year, which is what I used for planting my eggplants.
Whether operated through your Parks & Recreation or privately owned, there are local places known for beauty and ingenuity, for botanical planning and hard work. Let’s live variously.
Ariana (from HereWeAre.net) found inspiration in this Walled Georgian-Era Kitchen Garden, and she inspires us with her photography of it.
Karen (from Lil’ Suburban Homestead) suggests making a day of it–visiting gardens and nurseries with good friends. She reminds us that a “garden is a work in progress; it’s never done.” Now, that is an inspiring thing to remember in light of the disparity between wintertime garden dreams and summer realities.
For me, this meant troubleshooting by learning a few things through our County Extension Agency Office and through beloved gardening blogs. Sometimes, seeing the pictures of what other people do in limited space, reading about what they prioritize can help motivate me. Take this one by Linda from The Organic Kitchen, for instance. Wow!
But to seize the day and extend my growing season, I will be refining my cold weather gardening with this book:
Everything is better when we share, so make a loaf of zucchini bread for the neighbor who shared from a zucchini surplus. We may not be as busy in prolific gardens ourselves this year, but we have much to give to others in any case. Debi (from Life Currents) gives us some great ideas on how we can be good neighbors through sharing produce with each other. After all, it was what Grandma would have done.
I don’t garden for anyone else. If the neighbors think my garden looks rough, well, making them feel better about their own abilities is just one service I offer. I garden to be healthy and strong. I garden because the sunshine on my skin and dirt under my nails revives me when I’m wilting from stress or fatigue. I do it because I know where my food comes from. So whether you and I are late with our planting, underplanted, or were victims of untimely weather–let’s press forward, like the volunteer seedling that did not wait for perfect circumstances and did not ask anyone for permission. Let’s point our faces toward the sun and soak in a long, cool drink of fresh air. We can worry about the short growing season or we can make something of it.
Several photos were shared with permission by the blogs they represent and are property of those blogs (AndHereWeAre, Lil’SuburbanHomestead, TheOrganicKitchen, and LifeCurrents). Please visit their blogs for more information regarding those photos. The other photos are as follows: