Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Own Green Thoughts

Daffodils in my front garden a few years ago....

This morning I read Melissa Wiley's lovely blog Here in the Bonny Glen in which she wrote about her gardening adventures in a post called "Green Thoughts." Since she, a well-known author of children's books (and now a Brave Writer instructor!), also lives in San Diego, I felt a true affinity for her post and all of the lovely green things--even "weeds"--that her family has grown. I meant to write just a short reply to her post, but it soon took on a life of its own. Yep, I ended up writing a blog post in reply to her blog post! (Sorry, Melissa!)

So here it is...which some additional "green thoughts":

I've found that San Diego is a pretty forgiving place for gardening. I loved gardening when we lived in North Park; our century-old Craftsman had enough Victorian to it that it was a stand-out on the block naturally, and the family who had own the home before us (from 1945-1991 when we bought it) had planted calla lilies beneath the porch railing. Oh, when they bloomed, honey, they BLOOMED.

And, as I said, I found that I could pretty much ignore all of the gardening "rules," and everything turned out beautifully...most of the time, anyway. I could never get Canterbury Bells to grow...which I loved for the name even more than the flowers themselves. (Does anyone else do that? Choose seed packets or even six-packs of blooms based more on the name of the plant than the plant itself? No? I must the the weird one, then....)

I sowed wildflower seeds on either side of the front walk and ended up with a host of pincushions, cornflowers, Queen Anne's lace, and other English garden-y things. As much as I wanted to try foxgloves, I had little ones back then and wasn't going to chance it. Along the east-facing long side of the house I had hollyhocks (which my husband has always called "hockeypucks") growing so high that they were curling under the eaves--and that's with a significant stone foundation and then the house itself! They were close to fifteen feet! Amongst the "hockeypucks" I had six different kinds of lavender, plus rosemary and other herbs galore (and sunflowers that grew almost as high as the "hockeypucks"!). My husband put in a brick-lined rose garden for me along the backside of the fence separating the back and front yards, and roses of all colors held riots there. Gardening was definitely my "thing."

Our old house, repainted by new owners. We left it gray with white and burgundy trim....

And the kids reveled in the spring clover's "sour grass"; we'd let the lawn keep growing until we were losing toddlers in the vast greenness, and then the kids gathered up armloads of the beautiful bright yellow flowers on their long, juicy stems--the very definition of "cheerfulness." Unfortunately, they never kept long, of course, but I had bouquets of them, overflowing the jam jars as they lined my kitchen counter before the lawn mower heartlessly took 'em down. We had to watch Monty Python & the Holy Grail to calm our nerves and get us laughing again.

But up here in Pine Valley, I must choose what to plant carefully, with an eagle eye for frost-hardiness. We've had frosts as late as June 12th (our middle son's birthday--which also killed our Pippin crop that year!) and as early as the end of September, so the delicate blooms I adored in the city either need more time than I can afford them between frosts or will wilt in our summer heat (sometimes above 110!). Fortunately, two of my favorite old-fashioned flowers, pansies and stocks, are quite frost-hardy, and rosemary abounds. Lavender is a bit touchy--no Spanish lavender here--but the French and English varieties do fairly well. But with the arrival of my autoimmune challenges, I haven't had the strength to garden much, plus, we now have half an acre vs. our little city plot, so the sheer size of it is daunting.

Our mountain home since 2001

This spring I do want to plant more. The daffodils (still blooming after the 15 years we've been here and who knows how much longer before that!) are sprouting, and the purple irises will follow. I've done tulips in the past, too. Now that middle son has worked landscaping, we're going to sit down and plan out our spring plantings and see what we can rescue and what we'll need to replace and what we can add. ;)

And yes, there are a few "hockeypucks" lurking along the back fence, a true homecoming for me when we first moved in and still stubbornly self-sowing. And a few old rose bushes, half-wild now, that need some TLC. But I really want to get out there and make something beautiful in our garden this year.

As I pondered my garden today, I remembered a lovely quotation from L.M. Montgomery's sixth book in the Anne series, Anne of Ingleside:

One gold-grey smoky afternoon [Anne] and Jem planted all the tulip bulbs....
"Isn't it nice to be preparing for spring when you know you've got to face winter, Jem?"
"And it's nice to be making the garden beautiful," said Jem. "Susan says it is God who makes everything beautiful but we can help Him out a bit, can't we, Mums?"
"Always . . . always, Jem. He shares that privilege with us."

So, thanks be to God for the privilege of sharing a bit in His Creation as we plot and plant the bounty of His Beauty!!

Counting on the daffodils,

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin