Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Look "Who" showed up in my garden

I would be surprised if quilters are not also writers, good cooks, gardeners, or artists  in glass and beads and paper, ink, brush and paint...the list could go on and on.  I dabble in lots of them.  Most recently, I have donned a hat to protect me from too much sun, pulled on gloves and headed for my little gardens.  The house I live in has lots of shrubs, a few flowers, and no vegetable garden...but lots of potential.  I started with flowers.  A shaded bed got my first focus.  I divided and replanted hostas...about four different varieties over growing themselves in the corner by the spigot.  I divided the peonies, and with the help of my nephew Everett, dug bushels of  crab grass out of a corner bed so I could plant herbs.  I still fight crab grass but the rosemary, parsley, oregano, chives and thyme are doing quite well.  That's where my lettuces, arugula and spinach grow as well.

About a year ago, I trudged through the trails and trees at my sister's bed and breakfast, Swiss Woods (Lititz, PA) and with Travis's (son-in-law) help dug up some Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants.  I have seen Lady Slippers in Virginia, but have not found the elusive preacher in the woods here.  I wanted some in my shade garden.  What a treat it was this year to see the three tell-tale leaves poking up next to the Johnny-Jump-Ups and violets..  There he was, tucked under his little canopy, just about perfect.
 These guys are hard to find.  I look for them when I begin to see May Apples grow in the woods.  As a little girl, I remember going into the woods in search for Jack.  They seemed hard to find because I was looking for the pulpit; later I learned to spot the three distinct leaves that pop up above the bloom.  This year I have two blooming, one bedraggled by cold weather. Spring was too warm too early and then too cold.  There are lots of leaves, so maybe next year there will be more pulpits. 

With this victory cautiously  in my pocket, I have moved on to turning the space next to the property fence into garden.  I tell Travis the more grass I turn into gardens means  less grass for him to mow.  I a strip against the fence tilled in April, and finally on Monday borrowed a truck and picked up two scoops of mushroom soil to amend my garden.  The first part of the garden along my driveway is planted with lavender and lilies.  A yellow rose bush breaks the garden space in half.  The rest of the space will (hopefully) yield tomatoes, green and wax beans, cucumbers climbing the fence and red beets and cantaloupe.  And there is still room to plant more, maybe a pepper and some egg plant.  Check back to see how I progress.

My goal is to be able to keep up without being overwhelmed.  Like so many projects, I take off and almost become overwhelmed with a good idea.  I am enamored with stripes and the easy table runners I can make with them, and suddenly I have a stack of too many....and none of them are finished.  Or I start a huge quilt that seemed like a great idea at the time, and then lots of other projects got in the way; now it lives in a nice plastic box on my shelf...waiting.  I know myself.  My creativity takes over, and I can get easily take on more than I have time or energy to accomplish.  

I am planting knowing what I should be able to keep up with. My  garden is long and skinny, not more than two rows deep. One of those rows I plant with a climbing plant like cucumbers that I will train up the fence, or sunflowers that grow tall.  I am trying to use my space efficiently and creatively. I want to grow enough to have fresh vegetables through the summer, and maybe a few tomatoes for canning.
My long and skinny garden should be just enough.    Enough is good.               ~~~Rachel
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