COHABITING

When I began to garden my mission was to grow flowers to cut and arrange and give away.

That is still a major goal.

But bit by bit I began to want to grow vegetables.

The layout of my garden does not lend itself to rows of lettuce and tomatoes.

It’s more of a winding, flowing kind of place.

Tomatoes and peppers were easy to figure out.

You just treat them like any other flower plant.

Find a sunny spot and make it their home.     

But after a few years of that I wanted more.

So…I had to improvise.

Luckily gardeners are pretty good at this.

My first thought was to edge portions of flower beds in lettuce.

Lettuce is a cool season crop which means we get an early crop and a late crop in our climate.

So early in February I rack the leaves away from the edge and sprinkle lettuce seeds.

Most of the time I used a seed mix called Encore from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Sprinkle some of the soil back over – give it a gentle pat and a little drink and wait.

Keep it evenly moist till it begins to sprout.

By April you’ll have a green garden edge.

What fun for you and the bunnies!

Just plan enough for everyone.

Then as it begins to warm I fill in the gaps with the summer resident – impatiens.

Peg "helped" me cut away the dead from the hydrangea bushes

 

Then we added Impatiens to the lettuce edge.

You see in the summer this space will be considerably shadier so it’s home to

a bed of Yew, Hydrangeas, Caladiums and Impatiens.

If I’m really industrious come fall after the first cold blast I’ll dig the Caladiums, pull the Impatiens and plant a fall and winter crop of lettuce. 

It will come up anytime between November and February – depending on when I get it done and what kind of winter weather we enjoy!

Next I decided that the cages that house those glorious late summer and fall Dahlias were just idle in the spring.

Can’t have that.

So…they also get an early leaf removal in February.

Sugar Snap Peas are the crop of choice for this location. 

Super Sugar Snap Peas growing up Dahlia cages.

It could also be used for Green Beans. 

Really anything that needs something to climb on that is an early cool season crop will work.

Then I decided that I was tired of weeding the area behind my bank of Hydrangeas in the front yard.

I don’t mind weeding – it’s part of the deal after all.

But…I am always working to reduce the time I spend weeding.

Now this is going to be confusing but here goes.

When I say Hydrangea you are likely thinking it’s a shady area.

It was when we planted the Hydrangea.

Then the pine tree shading it from far overhead fell victim to the blight that is unfortunately taking out so many pine trees.

I was left with a sunny Hydrangea bed.

Perfect for a ground cover of Strawberries.

My sister Ann gave me some starts from her plants and we were off.

Going into the front and picking a handful of strawberries for your morning cup of yogurt is a spectacular way to start the day.

Now…these are not those over sexed things you see in the grocery stores.

No, these are real strawberries – small – tart – juicy – yummy!

I’ve since added strawberries under the forsythia in the back and am always on the lookout for another sunny spot that needs groundcover.

Strawberries growing under Forsythia.

So look around your yard and see if you can find a home for vegetables and berries.

This weeks two friends helped me both with this blog and in my garden.

You’ll notice a new picture at the top of my blog.

It’s a wonderful shot of my gardenhouse taken by my dear friend Debra.

Her medically trained radiologist eye sees the world in sweeping landscapes and infinite details.

Her pictures record her story intertwined with those of us fortunate enough to be her friend.

Thanks, Debra.

And a new friend Alyssa visited for a day to help and learn.

She’s an intern with my sisters at their retreat center Turtle Rock Farms.

I loved having the help and companionship for the day.

Alyssa in a sea of Katy Road Pink Roses

And to close, a sincere thank you to everyone who has told me they enjoy reading my weekly ramblings.

Hope you’ll think outside the gardening box. 

It’s a great place to live.

Gail

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “COHABITING

  1. Hey Gail, Have you ever thought about growing Swiss Chard? Especially Rainbow Swiss Chard. The leaves are huge and very colorful. I would think they would be great in arrangements as well as looking good in your garden. I also saw okra growing both at Long Wood Gardens and the gardens in Denver just for the flowers. Questions. Are Gailardia perennials or do they just reseed. I have lots coming up in the flower bed. I’m excited!

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