grow

Grape hyacinth (Muscari)

Oh, the lessons I’ve learned! Roughly 16 years ago, I felt obligated to tuck the garden waaaay out back, about three connected hoses of distance. Before long, ‘I’m just going to rely on Mother Nature’ was my mantra and the jury-rigged fencing surrounded a new tree (huh?) and oh-so-many meadowy weeds. Much knowledge has been gained since then.

After the initial failed garden attempt, I tore out a gardenscape in Better Homes & Garden and my hubby built a new, closer-to-my-house, fenced garden for mother’s day. What I love most about the fencing is that I can see my flowers and edibles from my kitchen and dining area. Running the wood horizontally and the chicken wire between gives me a wide view of the bounty. The white fencing is now weathered and will be getting a new paint job this summer.

Flowers, herbs, fruits and veggies have always been companions in my garden. And though flowers are taking over, I still sow my favorite edibles of cucumbers, tomatoes and greens. Through the years, I shared flowers with friends and dreamt of a flower stand or another way to turn my passion into a small business that would make people happy.

The meadow landscape has evolved and more land is devoted to growing perennials beyond the fenced garden. Favorite annuals are sown each year and, just this spring, two new raised beds were built for cozy spacing of more cutting flowers. Next up may be the sunset-dappled hillside.

Through many hard-earned lessons of growing flowers and edibles, I created this list of essentials for garden success:

must-haves

  • journal to track plantings
  • shovel with sharper edging to dig out transplants and pesky weeds
  • good soil: all-natural for edibles, sustainable
  • easy water access with hoses or drip irrigation garden mats
  • gloves: softer pair for sowing seeds / tougher pair for trimming big bushes and prickly plantings (e.g., roses, Bells of Ireland)
  • garden tubs for weeding, carrying new plants, harvesting
  • wagon for pulling tools, dirt, landscape cloth, seeds, etc.
  • a sense of humor: appreciate the baby bunnies in the fenced-in garden
  • zinnias: easy to sow and grow, these beauties reliably sprout and provide much joy in bouquets

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