Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cultivating My Green Thumb

Growing up, my parents always had a garden. Our backyard was ringed with multiple beds that contained flowers and vegetables. Not only did they have a vast knowledge of plants and their care, but they both had great design sense. My parents spent a lot of time taking care of their gardens and always received compliments from the many neighbors who passed our house while out on walks. I sometimes helped with the garden and some years even planted and cared for a section of my own. My mom has created an equally beautiful garden at her new house, receiving rave reviews from passers-by.

When I became a home owner of my little condo, my parents brought over their gardening skills to create a small garden surrounding my patio. I did my part-assisting in the planting, and keeping the plants watered and the flowers dead-headed. After we were married, John and I lived in a house that already had a lot of landscaping done so I planted some flowers in planters and pots, did some watering and dead-heading, and put in a few new plants. Still, my gardening was minimal.

In the fall, we moved into our new house whose landscaping needed a lot of TLC. John has a degree in horticulture with a design minor, so he knows a lot about landscape design. However, he works more with shrubs and trees than flowers. This means that making the flower beds "pretty" is going to fall into my lap. You'd think growing up with parents with such amazing green thumbs, some of it would have rubbed off. On the contrary--the thought of creating my own garden is quite daunting. My mom rattles off names of flowers and perennials like I know exactly what she's talking about. I do know some, but my plant knowledge is limited. On top of that, having had a baby in May, I wasn't really able to do yard work this spring or the beginning of the summer. The landscaping left behind by the previous owners looked sad and very much ignored.

So...Mom to the rescue! My mom (bless her heart) spent weeks splitting and digging up plants at her house as well as visiting plant centers in her area. First, she planted some perennials and annuals around our lamppost when she visited in May. Then she set her sights on the bed along our front walk. She even had me measure the bed so she could draw up a plan! On her latest visit, she brought a vanload of plants (literally) and planted a beautiful perennial garden in front of our house.

Now my mom is back in Iowa, working in her own garden and my fledgling garden is left in my hands. Yikes! I'm starting with the basics-keeping it all alive and thriving by watering it daily and dead-heading it regularly. I'm working on learning the names of the plants I have by studying the plant tags we saved (nerdy, I know, but necessary I think). I'm realizing that just like learning any hobby, it will take time to develop my gardening skills. There will likely be some placement mistakes and dead plants along the way, but that's how I'll learn. As my plants grow, so will my skills and design sense and one day I'll have flower beds that will receive compliments from my neighbors.

1 comment:

  1. It looks good! Just remember if you buy anything on your own to save the tags. Speaking from experience, your mom will want to know exactly what variety it is...and you may not remember!