|The mullein plant that Uncle Loren gave me; it's growing tall and starting to form a flower head|
Grandpa was one of the biggest gardening influences in my life. The thing is, he didn't influence me the most until he was already gone. Though I have many memories of his huge gardens, the bees, the chickens, fruit trees, and the strong sense of self-sufficiency and simple frugality that he and Grandma possessed, I didn't take much interest in those things as a child. I was too busy being, well, a kid. Like many other aspects of my life, I bloomed late--my gardening passion did not rise from the seed Grandpa planted until I was nearing my mid-30s. Now I can't even imagine life without my gardens. Uncle Loren has preserved an enormous amount of the wealth of knowledge that his parents collected, and I visit his garden often. Every time I visit uncle Loren, I leave knowing something new, and in this way Grandpa is speaking to me, urging me to keep growing, trying new things, and expanding my garden however I can.
|Kale, cabbage, pots of lettuces|
What about my own father, Grandpa's middle son? My dad has not had a garden for years, but he grew much of our food when I was little. I'm so thrilled to announce; he revealed something to me just a couple of weeks ago that filled me with giddy joy. He is bringing back his garden! This may sound like a minor thing, but to me, it's huge, and I feel like it will bring me back full circle. He stopped growing a garden years ago because his job has monopolized so much of his time. The winds of change are blowing, however; he is retiring in September. There's a stack of cool personal projects he can't wait to get to, and the garden is one of them. He is always good-naturedly teasing me about my various garden ventures, probably because he remembers my complaining when I was kid at having to help out with his. Who would have thought that his whiny little girl would be so interested in her gardens now, and so excited to hear that his garden would be making a reappearance? I can't wait until he begins to grow his tomatoes and pumpkins and peppers again, to share garden stories and advice, compare notes, and to walk with my own kids through his rows of veggies. The fact that my dad is planning to reestablish a garden, even if it's not the giant paradise his brother (my Uncle Loren) maintains, gives me an inner satisfaction that I can't really quite describe.
|Waiting to fill out: green onions on the left (newly planted tiny onions below the bigger ones), kohlrabi.|
Spinach and radishes used to live here. They are done for the summer, and shall reappear in the fall. :)
|Chaotic bliss: sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, chives, a pepper and a rogue onion.|
Flowers in the pots: nasturtium, four o-clocks, cosmos, and ageratum.
|South bed along the house. Our property ends at the sidewalk.|
This bed has 8 Amish Paste tomatoes, 2 cherry tomatoes (hybrids), garlic, and lots of marigolds.
|Simon walks along with me, and checks the compost. |
The kids just love to see if they'll be overpowered by the smell of our rotting veggie scraps. ;)
|The green peppers are greening and bushing out fantastically|
in the self-watering buckets!
|Here is where the heat resides; in pots are ghost, habanero and jalepeno peppers.|
|The mystery volunteer has been given the fence to grow up.|
My facebook friends have all guessed a bean of some sort.
Can't wait to see!
|In the backyard, green beans are bursting through in the straw bale, next to the potato towers.|
|Compost and straw have been added to the potatoes. They are growing like mad!|
|First planting of green beans...|
|And the second planting, which has not sprouted yet. This bale has yellow wax beans, which I've never tried.|
|Petunias that we started from seed are doing fantastically!|
|Sunflowers in toilet paper tubes, awaiting homes.|
|Mulberries beginning to ripen on the tree...|
|...and we'll be happily harvesting them every day for the next couple of weeks, hopefully!|
|The blackberry bush has mysteriously died|
|volunteer sunflowers surround the dead blackberries.|
|West end of the house. It doesn't FULL day sun, but enough that things seem to|
do okay back here. Right now the pallet holds peas, marigolds, and cilantro.
The bales to the left will be planted with melons this week. Hoping they get enough sun!
|Another view of the expanding west garden. Morning glories in the barrel,|
lovage in the container at the bottom of the pic.
|Our row of straw bale cucumbers; muncher, pickling, and Mexican sour gherkins|
|Can't wait until these babies are sprawling all over the fence!|
|This week we will plant the pole beans for our teepee. Guess who couldn't figure out how to build it?|
And guess who took over and figured it out?
|I struggled to get the branches right, and the kids jumped right in and had it|
situated within minutes. :)
|Inside on the windowsill--a big collection of plants that still want homes.|
I'll be thinking of ways to get them out there. :)
Although I'm doing this gardening gig in my own way--and decidedly differently than the garden gurus I watched as a child--I am always feeling the spirit of the amazing gardeners who helped raise me. I am incorporating the old with the new, and all the while enjoying the link that my gardens have to my past. Did you have a father, grandfather, or uncle who influenced you in your garden? Please wish them Happy Father's Day for me, and tell me about them in the comments!