Getting into the dirt required a waiting game, and I tried to remain patient as we experienced, to-date, in excess of four inches of rain vs. normal. But who can complain? When we moved here, to a sleepy town outside of Chattanooga, a drought had plagued the area and, along with it, devastating wildfires.
So last week, when I finally got to plant my new beds, and during the weeks prior, when shopping for flowers, I was reminded of the many people who helped foster my love of gardening and taught me valuable lessons along the way.
Jackson Vine, culled from her own, that after transplanted in my yard, grew along my fence and provided waxy green boughs that graced my table and mantle during the holidays. I can still hear her southern drawl telling me "you cain't kill it" whenever I hesitated to thin out my plants.
From Betty I learned to divide and conquer
From Kim I learned to thin from within
Upon picking up my boys later that afternoon, she gave me a tour of her back yard. Kim impressed me with the brick path she was laying by hand, and she gave me a quick lesson on pruning. She reached into a shrub and clipped the branches growing inward to allow sunlight to reach the plant and to give the bush a more lacy appearance. The result was immediate. To this day, I can be found with my pruning sheers, trimming branches from within my plants to make them appear less dense and more natural looking.
From Dale I learned to deadheadTo this day, it's a tedious task I rather dread, but my neighbor in Illinois was diligent in deadheading her flowers. This weekend, I scavenged my hanging basket of petunias and clipped off the star-shaped green stems so new blooms will take their places. Today they look a little worse for wear, but I know, had I left them to their own devices, before long my petunias would look like spindly weeds with a single flower at each end.
As kids, my cousin and I would deadhead black-eyed Susans and zinnias in my grandparents' flowerbeds, but we typically would wait until the blooms had dried and the seed-heads crumbled between our fingers; seeds would rain down into the soil, guaranteeing more flowers next season. Now I rarely wait for my blooms to dry, instead clipping the flowers to bring indoors where I can enjoy them all day long.
From Martha I learned to move it
When my cousin and I were about nine or ten, we went on a fishing trip with our grandparents to
From my grandmother I learned to gather
I hated weeding the garden as a kid, especially our vegetable patch that seemed overrun with grass, but any good gardener knows you have to tackle the weeds to save the flowers and herbs. I still don't enjoy weeding, but in between plantings and harvests, time spent weeding the beds gets me outdoors and my hands dirty.
From my mom I learned to weed
My hope is my kids will share my passion for plantings and that the lessons so freely given to me will be passed down to them from their own mom, who always loved playing in the dirt.
|My newest flower bed with the dog claiming his place.|