Flower Garden Withdrawal

While my container garden on my deck seems to be thriving, I miss my big ol’ flower garden at my parents’ house in Boston.  To make matters worse, my dad sent me pictures (which I requested) of my old garden.  … Continue reading

My Garden

These are some of my flowers in past years at my parents’ house.  I considered it my contribution to the household to plant and take care of the flowers.

I got really into gardening when I was in college and decided I needed a perennial flower garden a few years back.  I dug out a bunch of the rocks in the soil around the edge of my parents’ yard (New England has very rocky soil).  My dad and my sister helped.   I then used the rocks to build a low rock wall (pictured below), which I then backfilled with better dirt for my flower bed.   My sister helped with this as well.  It was the last time she participated in any gardening activities.  She discovered that she does not like manual labor involving dirt and rocks.

A year after I built the rock wall, I convinced my dad to help me put in a patio.  He did a lot of the heavy duty prep work, like using his John Deere to level the dirt and remove large rocks and dead tree roots.  I helped with spreading and leveling the sand and then I laid the stone pavers.

Thank you for helping me/doing the hard part, daddy!

And then the John Deere and I got to work planting new plants and transplanting plants from other places in the yard.

I did some transplanting from the front yard….

…and from the backyard….

…and then I bought some new plants and planted them.

And then I did some more planting and there was still a lot of empty space, but the plants needed room to grow and I would fill in new plants over time.

Apparently, I wore very strange attire one day when I did some planting.  I don’t know what to say about this ensemble except that it was very hot outside and I was trying to keep my feet (but evidently not the other 90% of my body) free of dirt. I must have been delirious from heat exhaustion at this point to strike such a pose, in such an outfit, in such a setting…with a shovel and without a tan.

Moving on…

This is what my garden looked like last summer, the third summer of the perennial garden/patio’s existence.  Two years ago, my dad and I transferred 4 cubic yards of good dirt one lawn tractor load at a time from the driveway, where the truck dumped it, to my garden at the edge of the yard.   This definitely improved the growing conditions for my plants.  It also improved my appreciation for every poor soul in the landscaping business.

But my plants were happy.

I’ve always loved to play in the dirt and I’ve spent every birthday for the last 5 years planting something in my parents’ yard.  This year for my birthday, perhaps I will plant something at my grandparents’ house or maybe I’ll see if the landscaping crew at my apartment complex will let me volunteer for a day.  I’m not sure how well that will go over, but it’s worth a shot.

I added this rock wall (behind the hammock) 2 years ago from even more rocks that we uncovered when mending the soil.

I was constantly moving things around, into the sun or into the shade.  I would sit in my hammock with a book, but after about 30 seconds I would be staring at my garden, thinking about my next move or project.  It was such a therapy for me.   I can’t wait to see how much the garden has grown this year when I go back to Boston to visit my parents.

So this year I’ll be gardening on a very different scale.  I will be confined to container gardening for my flowers, but I am determined to make the most of it.

Thankfully, my papa has agreed to let me help with his vegetable garden so I will at least have a decent amount of square footage to play in when I visit my grandparents in Kentucky.

More to come on the container gardening on my 50 square foot deck.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?


Butter Beans

Whenever I visit my grandparents in Kentucky, there is always a lot of food involved.  Delicious.  Country.  Food.

My favorite kind of food that my grandmothers prepare is homegrown beans.  I love love love them, especially topped with fresh diced onion and jalapeno pepper, which also come from my papa’s garden.   If there are beans and cornbread on the table, there’s really no point in preparing anything else for me because all I’m interested in are those two items.

This past weekend, my granny made me some butter beans, which are speckled lima beans.  And as my whole family knows, I love me some butter beans.

Last Christmas, we were all working our way around the kitchen to fill up our plates with food and when I got to the butter beans, I said “I love me some butter beans.”  I didn’t realize that my whole family had heard me trying on my country accent for size, but they all started to crack up, especially my Aunt Vickie.  We still laugh about it now every time we have beans.

My love for butter beans runs so deep that I even tried to grow them in Boston last summer.

This is what they look like dried (as seed):

And this is what they look like as they begin to grow as shown in a picture of my garden last summer:

Now, as I mentioned, these I tried to grow in Boston, in a yard that had about 10 square feet of full day sun, imported soil, and a growing season about a month too short.  They are pretty pitiful.  In Kentucky, however, my papa’s bean plants grow to be about 8 feet tall and are so dense that they form a canopy between rows.

My yield was about 47 beans last summer.

My papa’s yield was probably 2047 beans last summer.

My solution to my gardening challenges?

Move South.

I have since moved to Nashville, TN and am driving up to Kentucky every few weeks to help my papa with his garden.   No joke.  I’m very serious about butter beans.

I have high hopes for the butter bean crop this year.

I love me some butter beans.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?