I saw the most wondrous sight this morning as I was sipping my first cup of coffee...one of my newly planted roses, that had six fat buds on it had produced two beautiful blooms sometime during the wee hours of the morning! Two gorgeous ruffled bright pink blooms standing up tall and proud. Okay, so the plant is only a foot tall…but they stood proud nonetheless! And it was such a vivid bright pink! Wait a minute; I never planted a bright pink rose. Let me think a moment…okay I know I’m still half asleep and I’ve only had one sip of coffee but I know what I planted…and I didn’t plant no darned bright pink rose!
I’ve babied the new roses from the start. I’ve watered them daily…I’ve fed them regularly…I made them a pretty bed to grow in…and I’ve complemented them every time I went out to my garden…I’ve told them how pretty and big they were getting. I’ve told them how large and green their leaves had grown. And I’ve let them know that they are loved by me. I’ve talk very nice to them…heck, I’ve even sang to them
I’ve watched, very intently, this one rose. When it started forming buds I got so excited. That’s all I could talk about for a week! But the buds were red, so I thought it was the Chicago Peace rose…at least that’s what I was hoping for…you see…when I planted them I had taken them out of their bags and soaked them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours…so I had no idea which rose was which when I put them in the ground…I just love surprises, don’t you?
I planted a deep blood red Chicago Peace rose…a lilac-blue Blue Girl rose…a stark white Pascali rose…a deep yellow Texas Yellow rose…and a pale pastel lilac Sterling Silver rose…BUT not a vivid bright pink rose! How could this be I asked myself. Oh well, as William Shakespeare said so eloquently…What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But I know I didn’t plant no darned bright pink rose!
So now...without any further adieu...I'd like to introduce my newest bloom...drum roll please.....Christianna........ ......ta...da...!
I’ve asked a number of people why they garden and their answers are wide ranging. But the common thread among them is they love the feeling of satisfaction knowing that they grew their own produce and didn’t have to bend to the whims of their local grocery stores. I can get along with that logic…but I don’t feel satisfaction so to speak…no what I feel is quite frankly…smugness! I can proudly walk past the produce aisles and hold my head up high, knowing that my veggies have flavor and theirs don’t! I can look at their hot house tomatoes…looking all red and pretty…and smirk at their lack of taste…all the while thinking to myself…who wants to pay an ever increasing amount for veggies that they can “produce” themselves? Certainly not me!
I tend to feel a bit sorry for those that prefer to have a yard service company come to their home and do for them what they should be doing themselves. I’m sure they just don’t have the time to get out there and mow the grass and trim the shrubs…but honestly…aren’t they missing out on some “back to nature” fun? I’m sure they would say…if asked…that they don’t like the feel of soil…they don’t like to dig in the dirt and plant flowers…they can’t stand the sight or scent of fertilizing their gardens…and don’t get me started on insects and snakes!
Now since I’ve come to think of myself as an avid gardener, I’ve realized along the way that there are lots of things you should and should not do. These have been learned by me through trial and error…lots of error sometimes. Well the obvious “should” is…keep yourself well informed of the newest information available…new plant varieties…new propagation techniques…new soil supplements…and so on. Then there is another obvious “should”…you should water your garden regularly. That’s a no brainer there. Without water, seeds will not sprout…plants will not grow…you will not be smiling for long. The best method being touted is drip irrigation. That’s a wonderful way to do it but some of us “old school” gardeners prefer to do it the old fashioned way…you know what I’m saying…dragging out the hose and watering the entire garden area daily. Another “should”… You should make certain the soil is at its absolute best…built up and is able to drain well so the plant’s roots don’t rot. After all, you put out good money on those babies and you want them to do well. You want them to succeed. But I started thinking about the other things you should not do in order to be successful in your gardening endeavors and I’ve come up with a listing of what I lovingly call “The Ten Commandments of Gardening”. Snappy title isn’t it?
The Ten Commandments of Gardening:
Thou shalt not ignore the absolute joy of gardening…the feel of dirt under your fingernails…digging transplant holes…tilling rock hard soil for the first time…the smell of fresh cut grass.
Thou shalt not make light of the value of compost…what enriches your soil…enriches your life!
Thou shalt not take cow manure for granted…once you get past what it is…you’re good!
Thou shall keep thy planting day holy…don’t keep putting it off thinking you can do it tomorrow…tomorrow might not come…and if it does come…it might bring tornados and hail with it.
Thou shall honor your Master Gardener and County Extension Agent…they are a wealth of valuable information and they make a good shoulder to cry on during your times of error!
Thou shalt not kill beneficial insects…take out the snakes…but leave the bug eating insects to do their jobs in peace.
Thou shalt not ignore soil testing and amendment…you need to know the ph value so you can start off right.
Thou shalt not forego cleaning and maintaining your gardening tools due to lack of time…why replace something every year if you don’t have to…keep them clean and oiled when you put them up after the season.
Thou shalt not bear grudges against your neighbor’s greener lawn. If you do, at least show them a smile once in a while…they might come in handy one day…after all…you want them to call 911 if your house catches fire!
Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s lawnmower, tiller, gardening shears, or shovel…this goes back to Commandment 9…I know you want your yard and gardens to look the best on the block…but…
There are a couple more that I should add to the list…such as…Thou shalt not beat your dog when they run across your freshly planted garden…fore they know not what they do!
Thou shalt not spend your entire weekly paycheck in Lowe’s or Home Depot on potted plants and shrubs when you could grow your own from seeds.
Thou shalt not poo poo gardening advice from someone that doesn’t garden. That’s not nice and they just might read more than you do! Just because they don’t look like they know which end of a hoe to hold doesn’t mean they’ve never gardened…they may have been raised on a farm. So just thank them kindly and invite them in for a cup of tea and a good conversation. And after all is said and done…
Thou shalt not ignore your garden…get out and enjoy the sights and sounds that your garden will bring to you…enjoy the birds singing…enjoy the butterflies flitting around your flowers…enjoy the buzzing of the bees as they flower hop and spread their pollen…and most of all…enjoy the knowledge that you’ve garnered from it all…it’s always a work in progress and a learning experience.
Famous last words...I've made my last trip to Lowe's! As good as those words sound, I know all too well that I'll be back there...again...sometim e next week. And why not? I've got to make sure that there aren't any new plants I haven't seen or touched or lusted after! I made a promise to myself that I'd have everything planted in the garden by Sunday...so I had to get the last of my veggies...I just had to!
I ran off to Lowe's and left my hubby and a friend of his from North Carolina working on the truck...they're doing a heart transplant...so keep your fingers crossed that it works because my hubby is jonesing for his truck...he has a new car but it's just not the same...or so he says. To me it's...car...truck...four wheels...all the same...still drinks gas!
As soon as I pulled into the parking lot at Lowe's, I knew I was in for a treat...only because I found an up-front parking spot...right in front of the Garden Center. And low and behold...there were all the veggies you could wish for...all brand new...just delivered. I knew I was in heaven...you could almost hear an angelic choir singing "hal-lay-lu-yah". I know I checked out each and every plant in the Garden Center at Lowe's...and wouldn't you know it, while I was there they were off-loading their Friday shipment of new plants from a local nursery! Oh joy...new plants...pretty plants...calling my name and asking me to take them home. I stood firm...I only looked at them, all the while explaining to them that although they were really pretty...really...really pretty...and they would look absolutely lovely in my garden...I just couldn't bring them home...not this time...maybe later...once my hubby goes back out of town to work! How sneaky is that...I'm an undercover plant purchaser!
I headed straight for the veggies and I found all the colors of the rainbow in bell peppers...yellow ones...orange ones...red ones...and the old standby...green ones. So I thought...okay...I'll get one of each...the color will look really pretty in the garden of green! I couldn't resist the poblano pepper plants...only because I know how good they're going to taste filled with ground beef, spices, and cheese! And since I already have nine tomato plants, I couldn't say no to the Roma tomato that somehow found it's way into my shopping cart...I only work with even numbers..that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
On my garden spreadsheet, I have a mass of squash and zuchinni plants...well upon really checking out the available garden space...I've found that I can put in atleast double the number I originally planned on. This means I'll have plenty for cooking up fresh...and canning...and giving away...and of course...pickling. My sister-in-law Tish, gave me a jar of squash pickles and I've fallen in love with them...so much so that I wrestled the recipe from her so I can put them up myself...just another joy in my life! Since I now have a large number of both the squash and zuchinni plants, if I plant them close enough, the shade from their leaves should keep the weeds down in that area...atleast that's what I'm hoping for. I really hate weeding...
I found a nine flat of cucumber plants...they're vining so I'll have to run a trellis through them. Not a problem, if I'm going to put in a trellis or two or three for my beans then while I'm at it, I'll run one for the cukes too. Thank goodness I'm crafty and like to build stuff! Like my watering station that I came up with. I sunk an eight foot piece of 4" PVC pipe in the middle of my garden. On top of it, I put a flange that fits nicely in the hole. On the flange, I'm going to attach my water sprinkler...and attach my garden hose to it. This way, I should be able to water the entire garden area and it'll be tall enough to reach the corn in the back. Fingers crossed that this will work out.
I put in my strawberry plants today before I headed off shopping. I planted twenty of them...unfortunately I didn't read the package first and planted them all wrong. So I had to dig them back up and plant them even with the ground. I definitely had a "duh" moment! I can't wait for them to start producing...I was given a great recipe for jam that I'm dying to make...I can almost taste it now...Mmmm!
So far it's all good with my herb/lettuce garden. A couple of weeks ago, I planted nine head-type lettuces and they are all doing really well. Along with those, I planted my loose-leaf lettuce and my mesclun. If all goes as planned, I'm going to be up to my eyeballs in lettuce. It's a good thing I love salads. They dodged a bullet with my dog Badger...she loves to run. Well she decided to take a run through the bed and all she did was leave giant footyprints in the soil...didn't touch not one plant. Her doggie angel was watching over her that time!
I love it when everything starts falling into place. After my run in with the rain dumping greenhouse roof this week...I started to wonder if life was just making fun of me...I learned the hard way that life has a mean sense of humor! Thank goodness I too have a sense of humor or I would have just thrown up my hands and said the heck with it all...but I laughed it off...well now I can laugh about it...since now it just makes it all seem wonderful again...the sun is shining...the birds are singing...the pollen is everywhere...and the garden beckons! Hey...who am I to argue with a beckoning garden? I must answer like all good little gardeners do.
I started out planting my herb/lettuce bed this morning. After working the soil a bit...adding some compost and cow manure...and picking out some rather nasty weeds that sprang up out of nowhere since our rains...I sat down and put in my basil, oregano, cilantro, and rosemary plants...placing them rather nicely so they'll all play well together without getting in each others hair! I should have loved the scent they were giving off every time I touched their leaves...but I didn't because I've had the worse sinus infection of my life since Monday...runny eyes...stuffy head, nose, and ears...sore throat and a horrible cough...this year the pollen finally got to me...it's never bothered me before but it nailed me good this time...I guess I'm paying for all the good years I missed getting it! I haven't had much of an appetite this week and I knew I should be hungry and since I realized that I started all of this without eating breakfast...okay...it's a good time to break for breakfast!
After eating some French toast, I again headed out to my garden. I planted nine iceberg head type lettuces in the other half of my herb bed. Gave them all a nice drink of water and then shot over to the greenhouse....it so needed a good cleaning and straightening up after it did its collapse. Nothing was destroyed thank goodness but nearly everything got wet. Well...me and Mr. Clean got at it and it took no time at all before the shelves were clean and the dirt was back on the ground where it belonged...the potting table got a good going over and I tidied up all my pots and tools too. Ahhh...the feeling of smugness had set in.......
While I was doing all the cleaning I found my blueberry bushes that I'd planned on planting last week but couldn't due to the rain. So I took two of my biggest planters...filled them with good potting soil and planted my bushes. I'm going to keep them just outside the greenhouse door...one on each side to kind of dress it up a bit there...plus they'll get the full sun they need. I've got to admit...it looks rather nice now............now............ if I can only get my son to mow the grass! But that's another story all together!
Tomorrow I have yet another trip to Lowe's planned...now I need mulch for my rose garden...these roses are new this year...and I've got five buds on one of the roses...I'm so excited...although I won't know which rose it is until I see the color of the bloom. Don't you just love surprises? After I do my errand, I also plan on putting in my first plantings of Silver Queen Corn and my pole and bush beans...and I'll probably have to plant whatever sneaky plant jumps into my cart at Lowe's! Then after all that fun...I've got to find places to plant a Dwarf Burning Bush...a Dragon's Blood Sedum, and four purple Lilacs...geez...the joy just never ends...that's not even all that I want to put in this year. I've got a Butterfly Garden and a Shade Garden soon to be delivered from Michigan Bulbs and numerous other seeds that I've bought on my many trips to Lowe's before Spring officially arrived!
Whew........I'm tired just thinking about it.........